The best PSP games gave Sony a shot at the handheld market and reimagined some of Sony’s best first-party series for a portable console.
The times of the PlayStation Portable are unfortunately over, and Sony gave up on handhelds entirely after the Vita (for which we also have a list of best PS Vita games). But while Sony could never reach the success of a Nintendo Switch with its handheld consoles, it released to much acclaim and excitement. The idea of portable versions of games such as God of War and Uncharted was enticing, and the PSP’s graphical capabilities were far beyond what Nintendo could accomplish, too – the idea of the PSP was akin to what we have in the Steam Deck today.
Ultimately, the PSP went out of fashion, the way all consoles eventually do, but maybe you have gotten yourself a PSP out of interest for retro consoles or decided to get your old childhood console out again to fill some holes in your collection. Whatever the reason is, this list will help you find the best PSP games out of the handheld’s library.
Best PSP games
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Birth by Sleep is an essential play for big fans of the Kingdom Hearts series, adding plenty of lore as a prequel to the original Kingdom Hearts. As a prequel, it’s also a great title for those who haven’t played the series. If afterward, you decide to play the series, here’s a guide on how to play the Kingdom Hearts games in order.
Birth by Sleep stands a little different to previous Kingdom Hearts entries thanks to its new battle system and the fact that it centers on heroes Terra, Aqua and Ventus rather than Sora. However, this battle system is excellent for PSP and the ability to move between the unique abilities of the different heroes adds another enjoyable layer to gameplay. You can enjoy the remastered version as part of the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX collection on PS4 or PS5.
It’s pretty thrilling seeing a proper Grand Theft Auto in handheld form and it helps that this one is a spin-off from the fantastic Vice City. Vice City Stories isn’t quite as enjoyable as a console-based Grand Theft Auto adventure, but it is better and more expansive than Liberty City Stories, which came before it.
It also brings a new story, set two years before the mainline Vice City title, so it’s nice to see something that is more than just a straight port. There’s nothing innovative or game-changing in Vice City Stories’ gameplay – it really is just Grand Theft Auto on the go – but if you want nothing more than that, we suggest you give this a try, especially as we likely won’t get our hands on GTA 6 for a while.
It’s kind of hard to believe that the PSP could contain Kratos and still allow him to be his formidable self, but Ghost of Sparta manages it. Anyone invested in God of War will enjoy this, and it’s only available on PlayStation handhelds.
Not only does it look great, but it also manages to play extremely well on the more limited PSP controls. The combat is satisfying, and since you spend most of God of War locked in a battle that’s pretty essential. Ghost of Sparta is a great addition to the series and truly one of the best PSP games you could play.
All fans of the latest iteration of God of War can enjoy this game if they are interested in the version of Kratos that’s alluded to in God of War Ragnarok.
Little Big Planet has long been one of Sony’s most distinctive franchises and it translated incredibly well from the main console to the handheld.
Pretty much everything from the PS3 version of the game was translated to the PSP version and although it’s a little harder to create your levels, it’s the same fun. You can also play through the levels created by others. Little Big Planet is on this list of best PSP games on the merit of being one of PlayStation’s best series – you don’t absolutely have to play it on a handheld and it is available in other forms. However, we suspect that Sackboy for Sony was what the famous plumber is for Nintendo, so it’s really only right and fair that you give Little Big Planet on PSP a go.
It’s hard not to smile when you play LocoRoco. This a series that’s filled to the brim with dazzling colors, catchy melodies, and fun platforming that coalesces into an uplifting experience that was entirely exclusive to the PSP (now you can play it on PS4 and PS5, too)
While the second game is the better of the two, the original deserves a spot on this list for being the one where it all began. It introduces us to the game’s dead-simple control scheme and the eponymous, delightful LocoRoco. If you need a break after and just want to play something relaxing.
If you’re looking for a similar experience on PlayStation or PC, give Hohokum a try.
A good handheld would be nothing without a good racing game. You can’t really go wrong with a Wipeout title, and Wipeout has been a Sony staple for a long time. Pure is an excellent addition to the franchise. It’s a futuristic racing game that puts players behind the wheel of anti-gravity ships. Each ship is tied to a different team and has different characteristics.
You have to try and win the race, of course, but you have to keep your ship intact by avoiding crashes and weapons. Failure to do so will mean the destruction of your ship and removal from the race. WipeOut Pure has a look and feel all of its own, and it’s not only one of the best PSP games, but one of the series we dearly miss in the current PlayStation lineup.
There is no shortage of top-tier fighting games on the PlayStation Portable – the handheld has solid entries in Street Fighter, SoulCalibur, Guilty Gear, Dark Stalker, and, our personal favorite, the Tekken series with Tekken: Dark Resurrection. While on other platforms, Tekken may have lost its standing as one of the best fighters, Dark Resurrection is undoubtedly one of the best PSP games available.
What elevates Tekken above the rest is its depth of single-player content that keeps you entertained without ever having a player two to fight and the addition of great new characters to the series like Dragunov and Lili that have become staples in the competitive scene. It also comes with Tekken Bowling, which might just be the best mini-game in any fighting game.
If you’re more of a Street Fighter fan, check out everything we know about Street Fighter 6 so far.
There are not that many puzzlers out there that offer the balance of difficulty and near-endless appeal of Tetris, but Lumines 2 does. Unsurprisingly, Lumines designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi went on to create Tetris Effect, another unmissable mix of music, visuals, and gameplay you can’t get enough of.
Great music and an innovative color and shape grouping system come together to make Lumines 2 difficult to put down once you understand how it works. It’s a perfect handheld game for a quick game and should be a staple in any PSP library.
While Lumines 2 is a PSP exclusive and one of the best PSP games, the Lumines legacy goes on in Lumines Remastered on all current-gen platforms.
Patapon is a unique game that combines elements of music rhythm gameplay with real-time strategy. In it, you take control of a cartoonish and two-dimensional tribe of Patapons who you command by inputting specific button sequences in the rhythm of a drum. Different sequences give different orders, whether that’s forward, retreat, attack or defend.
Patapon is a fantastic example of a rhythm game, forging combat gameplay that requires thought and use of your memory rather than mindless button-pressing. Deservedly lauded as one of the best PSP games, it was later also ported to PS4, together with Patapon 2.
If you’re looking for a game to lose hundreds of hours of your life to, this is it. Like most tactical roleplaying games, Final Fantasy Tactics takes some time to get to grips with and it can feel somewhat slow, but once you understand what you’re doing you won’t want to put it down. The story, visuals, and gameplay of Final Fantasy Tactics come together to create a game that’s rich, complex, rewarding, and not for the faint of heart.
Strategy games like it have become woefully rare, and the Final Fantasy Tactics series has not been revived since this release. If you’re looking for one of the best PSP games that is also exclusive to the console, you can’t go wrong with this one.
How we chose the best PSP games
Here at TechRadar Gaming, we are the biggest video game and console fans going so you won’t find anyone who is more passionate about PSP games – among basically everything else. We’ve got years of experience of playing PSP games, testing the handheld, and have got memories galore of using it and knowing what it’s all about. As a result, we know what we’re talking about and you can trust our selections of the best PSP games, as they are based on actual human perspectives – not a list of the most expensive, or best-selling PSP games that we’ve just regurgitated.
Best PSP games: FAQs
What PSP is best for gaming?
This may seem like an odd question in 2023 particularly but if you’re on the hunt for a PSP to play the best PSP games on then we have some advice: given cost and availability, aim for the PSP-3000 model. The earlier ones are harder to get hold of and are, well, older, so the later line-up models are your best bet.
Are PSP games still being made?
Unfortunately no games are being made specifically for the PSP anymore. But you can still buy the best PPS games pretty freely on popular reseller websites, but also digitally via the PS3.