Ah, the holidays. When December rolls around, our lives are packed with festive outings with family and friends. Though being able to spend time with the ones we love is in no way, shape or form a bad thing, it does make playing video games on our favorite home consoles a bit tough. While some are able to use the time off to indulge, others are too busy being tugged from place to place, or are on vacation far away from home.
As someone who often finds herself in the same boat as the busy crowd, I thought I’d take a moment to round up some of my favorite handheld games of the year that are sure to keep you entertained while you are on the go. The selections are in no particular order, so enjoy.
I know, you’re still waiting on Persona 5, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Since I’m not big on rhythm games, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to like the game. But after playing quite a bit of it, I have to say that I absolutely loved it. While the story isn’t as in depth as it was in Persona 4, Dancing All Night (which is a spinoff of P4) was a fun way to catch up with my favorite P4 characters and see what they’ve been up to a month after Golden‘s conclusion. It was definitely a nostalgic reunion. On top of that, the rhythm aspect of the game itself was fun. With the ability to unlock new outfits, additional scene, and the free dance mode is extra fun that will be a joy to trek through post game.
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Back in 2000, Nintendo released a bizarre entry in the Legend of Zelda series called Majora’s Mask. 15 years later, the beloved title was updated and remade specifically for the Nintendo 3DS. Much like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, developers integrated stereoscopic 3D graphics and touch controls for the new Majora’s Mask. Additionally, the time mechanic was tweaked to allow players to explore their surroundings in greater depth, and both easter eggs and fishing were added. So, although you may have already played the game when it launched on the Nintendo 64, the changes feel fresh enough to pick back up and play again.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
If top-down shooters are your jam, you should definitely think about picking up Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, which launched on the Vita back in March. For the most part, the gameplay is the same as it was in the game’s predecessor, Hotline Miami, except that it includes a harder mode, which unlocks after beating the game on normal. There are 13 characters in total to choose from, which is an improvement from the two that were available in the last game.The gameplay is challenging yet fun, and with the level creator that’s on the way in the near future, it’s a great time to jump on board and use your free time this holiday to play through the game.
Platform: PlayStation Vita, PS4, PS3, Windows, OSX, Linux
It seems Hotline Miami 2 wasn’t the only great game publisher Devolver Digital had in their stable this year. Acid Nerve’s Titan Souls was another title that pleasantly took me by surprise. Just to give you a little perspective, the strategic, open-world, top down gameplay takes inspiration from games like Dark Souls, The Legend of Zelda, and Shadow of the Colossus. The trick with the game is that you only have one arrow to take out foes with, and the only way to get another hit in is by retrieving it. On top of that, the player can only be hit once, which makes getting through the levels an entertaining challenge.
Platform: PlayStation Vita, PS4, Windows, OSX
Although we didn’t get much in the way of pocket monsters this year–aside from Pokémon Shuffle, which was amazing–we finally got a U.S. localization of Level 5’s wacky RPG, Yo Kai Watch, which was exciting in and of itself. If the title sounds familiar, that’s because the game actually released in Japan two years ago, and is already a well-known manga and anime series. Much like Pokémon and Level 5’s popular Ni no Kuni franchise, Yo Kai Watch is an RPG where players travel around befriending creatures that will later aid them in battle. Unlike the other two however, the monsters are arranged and switched out using a wheel during combat. Coupled with the unique gameplay, the hilarious dialogue, and sarcastic protagonist makes this a title you won’t want to miss.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Are you planning on playing through any of these games this holiday? Let us know in the comments below!