The PlayStation Vita is a niche device. Dedicated gaming handhelds have largely given way to smartphones and tablets, and while the Nintendo 3DS is still relatively popular, Sony's portable has been on life support for some time. It's a great system if you love indie games and old PS One titles, but the audience for that isn't exactly huge. PlayStation Mobile, then, is a niche within a niche, a tucked away section of the digital store where any developer can publish basically any game they want. PS Mobile is filled with junk, but it's also home to some of my favorite games of the past few years, games that many people missed largely because they didn't even know they existed. Starting tomorrow, they won't exist; Sony is discontinuing the service for good.
If you own a Vita, you should download these games while you still can.
First launched in 2012, Mobile was Sony's attempt to create an open market for indie developers to release games not only on Vita, but also on select Sony phones and tablets as well. But, much like Xbox Live Indie Games on the 360, the service never took off. It turns out that when you don't curate an online store, it quickly fills with junk. PSM is home to plenty of bad attempts at retro-style games, barely functioning action games, and, of course, a few Minecraft clones. It didn't help that the Mobile section was buried in the PlayStation Store, not even included in the "game" section, and that the titles that were actually worth playing received little in the way of promotion.
The death of PlayStation Mobile was announced in March, but it was in no way surprising; Sony cut Android support for the service in 2014, and the company rarely ever even acknowledged Mobile's existence outside of the odd software update. Support was later added for PlayStation TV owners, but that didn't help much.
But there are some really great games on the service. Some, like the wonderful sci-fi strategy game Rymdkapsel, have since been ported to iOS or other platforms, but a number of these games are only available to download on your Vita. That includes Tokyo Jungle Mobile, a strange turn-based strategy game set in a world where humans are gone and animals rule Japan's biggest city. It's a spinoff of cult PS3 hit Tokyo Jungle, and it's bizarrely addictive. There's nothing quite like surviving the wilderness as a bloodthirsty Pomeranian.
There's also Passing Time, sort of a pixelated NBA Jam for soccer, made by the same team behind the PS4 and Vita music game Hohokum. It chops soccer up into pieces, turning things like corner kicks into their own puzzles, and it also features a passing mini-game that turns a round of keep away into an addictive arcade game. Other highlights include the clever puzzler 10x8, and Gunhouse, a game where you literally build a house out of guns to defend against incoming enemies.
Admittedly, it's not a huge library of games, but there's some excellence to be found which will soon be gone for good. And we don't even know what time the service will be shutting down. Thankfully, if you already bought these games, you can continue to redownload them until September 10th. The final game to hit the service is Oh Deer, an OutRun-style driving game where the goal is to smash deer with a wood-paneled station wagon. It's ridiculous and fun, weird and rough around the edges in a way most modern games aren't. It only costs $0.49, and it has a soundtrack from the composer behind Streets of Rage 3.
It might just be the perfect game to showcase what PlayStation Mobile was all about — get it before it's gone forever.