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PSP Game Explosion!: Top Shelf PSP Launch Titles

March marked the U.S. release of the slick Sony PlayStation Portable, AKA the PSP. Any new gaming platform comes with the usual flood of game releases. The problem with the PSP, at least initially, was that there weren’t all that many games that were made specifically for it—instead we got a lot of games that were poorly executed PS2 ports.

Regardless, there were some very good launch titles for the PSP to coincide with its release. Here’s some that should all be in your PSP library.

Lumines. One of the most popular and critically acclaimed PSP titles, Ubisoft’s Lumines (pronounced "luminous") is really the ideal PSP puzzle game. Developed by Q Entertainment, it’s yet another grid-based block falling game, but the presentation and execution are nearly flawless. In fact the entire hook in Lumines is the music, visuals, and the way in which they fit snuggly into the gameplay. The goal is to make the falling blocks form a 2x2 square of the same color. If they pile up too high, you lose.

Ridge Racer. Namco’s Ridge Racer has been around since 1993. The new edition is available on multiple handheld platforms; however, it’s the PSP version that stands out. (Avoid the Nintendo DS version like the plague.) Ridge Racer has arguably the best graphics of any PSP game, so this is the PSP game to get to impress your friends.

The meat of the game is the World Tour Mode in which you enter a series of races using progressively better cars that you unlock along the way. The courses are taken from previous Ridge Racer games, which is something fans of the series are sure to appreciate.

WipEout Pure. Another old racing series, Sony’s WipEout has been around since 1995. It’s also another gorgeous PSP game but the frame rate suffers a bit; it’s not nearly as butter smooth as Ridge Racer. It does pack a very slick Wi-Fi multiplayer mode and it’s also the first PSP game to support downloadable content such as tracks, vehicles, and artwork at no charge.

Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix. This is basically the same as the other main console versions Activision has released over the years. The only real difference is the addition of four exclusive levels: Kyoto, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Santa Cruz, each of which has been worked into the game’s story mode. Still, it’s a slick game with great controls and wild tricks.

Twisted Metal: Head-On. Yet another PSP game from Sony that’s based on an old series, Head-On is really a sequel to Twisted Metal 2. This is also the first game in the TM series to ship with full multiplayer support. Basically this is the same gameplay that made the original a classic car combat game. It’s one of the few PSP launch games to support both ad hoc Wi-Fi (direct connect) and infrastructure Wi-Fi (wireless).

Developer Q Entertainment is building quite a rep as a great puzzle developer with both Lumines and Meteos to its credit. The company is currently working on an as of yet unannounced game for the Xbox 360.

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