It seems like everyone had a clickbait listicle ready to go for the second Sony officially confirmed the PlayStation Store was shutting down. Sorry, I’m terrible at SEO. My list of personal picks got delayed because I was rounding up a bunch of PS3, Vita, and PSP resources while still adding games to the site and — shhhh! — putting together a giveaway that will be launching next week. So without delaying things any further, here are a bunch of weird, obscure, and oddball PlayStation exclusives that I like with a little blurb about each.
This one has appeared on a number of lists already. It’s a fantastically odd roguelike about a post-human Tokyo overrun by animals. Play as predator or prey and survive as many generations as possible to find out what happened to humanity. You can even watch me hop back into this one.
Yeah, seriously. I’m a sucker for physics and destruction and despite its infantile and (literal) Axe Body Spray-soaked trappings, I’ve always enjoyed PAIN. It was also an early digital exclusive that changed frequently with experimental “labs” and loads of DLC, not to mention guest stars like Elvira, David Hasselhoff, and Andy Dick. Truly a time capsule of the early years of the PlayStation Network.
The Last Guy
Back before you could look at satellite imagery of every inch of the planet on your phone, The Last Guy dazzled with its real-world visuals. It’s sort of a weird game of Pac-Man that has you leading chains of cowering civilians through kaiju-filled maps. There’s still nothing quite like it that I can think of and it’s a really devious puzzler later in the game (i.e. I still haven’t finished it).
Witness the legacy of PlayStation tech demos brought to life. This was one of the first downloadable PlayStation 3 titles and I’m honestly amazed it’s still available. I haven’t been back to it in nearly as long but I remember it being decent fun.
Another weird physics-based puzzler, Trash Panic is like a combination of Tetris and an early iteration of those element-mixing games you used to play on Flash portals. I’m totally terrible at whatever this game wants you to do but I love everything about it. Honestly, check out everything from PlayStation C.A.M.P!
Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
You should just play Rocket League but it’s still supremely weird to go back to the original and see how similar it is to its successor. And believe it or not, there are still people actively playing this version too. No surprise, they’re all quite good at it.
The Artsy/Demoscene Trilogy
They’re not directly related but Linger in Shadows, .detuned, and Datura (PS Move required) all offer some incredible imagery and indie style. It was an age in PlayStation history when Sony seemed to be embracing creativity and experimentation. A far cry from the current Sony in charge of things. BONUS POINTS for Rain, also from PlayStation C.A.M.P!, and a dazzling, atmospheric adventure.
The Wonderbook Series
Remember Wonderbook?! It was a book of QR codes big enough for the low-res PS Eye camera to pick up from across the room. J.K. Rowling’s Book of Spells was the flagship title but here in North America both Diggs Nightcrawler and Walking with Dinosaurs were digital exclusives. They’re still pricey and require a full PS Move setup as well as a Wonderbook to play. It’s truly a ridiculous rabbit hole to fall down! Join me, won’t you?
A Few Quick Picks:
- Malicious – I vaguely remember this is a daunting boss rush arena battler
- Tales from Space: About a Blob – This original release is still a PS3 exclusive
- PlayStation Eye diversions – Tori-Emaki, Mesmerize Trace & Distort, Aquatopia
PlayStation Vita + PSP
Pinball Heroes: Complete
Pinball Heroes was originally a PSP hub where you had to buy each new table as they were released between 2009 and 2010. That version was delisted and replaced by Pinball Heroes: Complete on the Vita with, you guessed it, everything included. Eight tables based on PlayStation franchises (some woefully forgotten) offer realistic pinball action based around somewhat repetitive gimmicks. They’re not the most addictive tables but they’re fun to pick up and play now and then.
Open Me! + Other AR Card Titles
Dig out your Vita’s AR cards and find a well-lit area! Open Me! is my favorite of the lot, a series of puzzle boxes that has you stepping around your room to unlock devious contraptions. While you’ve got the cards out you might as well grab some other AR exclusives: Table Soccer, Table Mini Golf, Table Ice Hockey, Table Top Tanks, Fireworks, and Cliff Diving. None of them are outstanding but they’re all relatively cheap and unique digital exclusives that will absolutely never get ported to another platform. Even emulating them will be tough given the hardware requirements.
Even if you don’t buy the two add-on packs, the free base game is still a fun WarioWare-alike for local multiplayer. It makes good use of the Vita’s hardware features too, making it a nice exclusive to hang onto that won’t eat up a ton of internal memory for posterity’s sake.
A Few Quick Picks + PSP:
- Crazy Market – It’s just one of those mobile games where you pretend to be a cashier. I dunno why, I just like it
- Treasures of Montezuma Blitz – Vita exclusive variation of the long running puzzle series.
- Don’t forget the free Trophies in Welcome Park, Paint Park Plus, and Wake-up Club!
- PSP: Patchwork Heroes – Digital exclusive outside of JP, it’s a weird spin on classic arcade Qix gameplay
- PSP: Beats – One of the early play-your-own-music games. It’s rudimentary now but still works with MP3s on Vita