Of all of these "five games you should have played, but probably didn't" posts I've written and published over the last few months (here's one about DS games and here's one about Wii games), this one is the least ... informed, for lack of a better word.
After all, although my PSP game collection has grown by leaps and bounds since Christmas (more on that in an upcoming post or two), it's still a bit meager. As such, I've yet to play a number of titles that are included on lists similar to this one--titles like Half-Minute Hero, Jeanne D'Arc and Valkyria Chronicles II.
Still, I've played--and thoroughly enjoyed--enough of the system's retail and digital releases, especially niche-y ones, that I think the list below should be helpful to those of you who, like me, are looking to bolster your game collection in the PSP's waning years.
1. Cladun/Cladun x2--I'm including both Cladun games here because I'm the kind of guy who thinks it's always best to start a series with the title that got the ball rolling, so to speak. (What a concept, right?) That said, most folks--especially those who have been visiting this blog for a while--likely have heard that the second Cladun bests its dungeon-crawling predecessor in pretty much every area and, as such, many probably will want to begin with Cladun x2. If that describes you, and if you're a roguelike novice, I say "go ahead." If you're a roguelike nut, though, and a bit more ... adventurous, I'd suggest giving the original Cladun a go first and then moving on to its follow-up if you enjoy the experience.
2. Corpse Party--I've only just started playing through this PSN-based horror adventure title, but I've already experienced enough of it to know it was well worth the $19.99 I spent on it. Of course, I'm both a horror buff and an aficionado of pixel-based graphics that look like they were pulled from an unreleased SNES or Super Famicom game (always a good thing in my book). If you're not exactly a fan of either of those things you may not like Corpse Party as much as I (and others) have, but I have a feeling some of you still may enjoy it quite a bit anyway.
3. Everybody's Stress Buster--Does the name of this game not ring a bell? That may be because that title only appears on the Asian and European versions of this mini-game-filled release. (The Japanese iteration is called Minna no Sukkiri, or Everybody's Refreshment.) When it was brought to North America, though, it was renamed Hot Shots Shorties (after being divided into four different "game packs" and plopped onto PSN). Anyway, why should you buy and try this title, whatever it's called? Well, it features 12 mini-games, for starters. Also, a number of them are really fun. My favorites: The Dynasty Warriors-esque "Counter Crusader" and the Katamari Damacy-ish (kinda sorta) "Vacuum Dash."
4. Mighty Flip Champs DX--If you like portable puzzlers that bring something new to the table, WayForward Technologies' Mighty Flip Champs DX is the title for you. I have to admit that this one--and its stage-flipping gameplay--has proven to be a little too taxing for my poor ol' brain, but I've still enjoyed it quite a bit, thanks in large part to its adorably crafted graphics. (I'm especially fond of the in-game versions of the main character and her fishy friend.) Its music is nice enough, too, but both aspects (graphics and music) pale in comparison to the aforementioned gameplay, which tasks players with traversing from one side of a stage to the other by literally flipping said stage back and forth in order to access previously unaccessible areas.
5. Patchwork Heroes--Of all of the games included in this post, this is by far my favorite. In fact, I like it so much that I'm on the brink of spending a lot more than I should on a complete-in-box copy of the Japanese version (called Hyakumanton no Bara Bara). Why am I so enthusiastic about this particular title? It uses a great, colorful art style that brings to mind paper or fabric cutouts, for starters. Also, it features an appealingly jaunty soundtrack that fits the game's frantic, fast-paced action like a glove. Finally, its gameplay recalls that Taito arcade classic of my childhood, Qix. (For more about that last point, check out this recent-ish post.)
Honorable mentions: Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom and Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip