Okay, so hear me out. I have a soft spot for the PlayStation Vita. It’s a complete disappointment in terms of sales, even Sony near abandoned the platform not long after launch. Despite all this, the system has thrived in some very specific areas – smaller scale independent and Japanese developed games. Even with this niche carved out, it’s hard to imagine the Vita is long for this world. I believe the Nintendo Switch will inherit its torch and become a haven for Vita fans.
The Vita is absolutely full of RPGs, and Japanese-specific games in general. The RPG genre works well with the platform thanks to its portable nature which allows pick up and play with instant suspension of gameplay while being just as comfortable to lay down in bed with to play for hours on end. It’s region free as well, so if a game doesn’t get an official release in your region (which can be a particularly annoying issue in Australia and Europe), you can import a copy and play it just as easily as a game bought down the road. So many games that probably wouldn’t have warranted a full console release outside of Japan end up coming westward thanks to the Vita’s smaller development costs and the knowledge that Vita fans are very likely to enjoy Japanese games.
Independent games are prevalent on Vita as well. Many indie games with their smaller scale environments or simpler visual styles are absolutely at home on the small screen. The Vita offered something no other machine could match at the time. A high resolution screen with enough power to push the calibre of game only possible on home consoles a generation earlier, a touch screen, along with traditional controls that held it in a different class to smartphones. These factors led to the wonderful ability to play games like Spelunk and Rogue Legacy (among *many* others) with the same control method, quality of graphics and often the same save file on both your TV and away from the TV. This comes with some problems though. Needing to buy some titles twice (once on each platform) is a bother and cloud save transfer isn’t exactly foolproof, relying on manual uploads and downloads that could easily lead to data loss if you’re not careful.