So, you've booked a nice holiday trip with the family or maybe just with your significant other and you suddenly realise that the flight is a good 12 hour (maybe even more) and you'll need something to occupy yourself during those hours of being cooped up next to that fat person who smells a bit weird and that guy who wouldn't understand the term "personal space" even if he looked it up. What better way to stay busy than play one of the millions of games that are out there? In this I'll be focusing on some games to play during those long flights or trips where playing "eye spy" just wont cut it. I'll give offerings for PSP in this post and DS in a later post (possibly expand to Android and iPhone too) giving a few different options to cater to all different class of gamers.
For the shooter heavy, bearded manly man
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Quick Hits- 15 hour story, coop/VS multiplayer, requires headphones, on the PS Store
My current PSP addiction and a great no-nonsense Kojima produced game, Peace Walker is tailor made for PSP greatness. Clocking in at around 15 hours for the main story, this 3rd person stealth/shooter is perfect for your long trips bearded manly man. once you've mopped up the main story you can get to work recruiting other members of your squad and sending them out on missions to collect more items and ammo for your army, tackle side missions (with friends if that's your style) and even attempt to kill some familiar faces from Monster Hunter.
Also worth your time - Killzone: Liberation, Resistance, Metal Gear Acid.
For the Shinku and Metsu fighting fans
Quick Hits- 10 hour story, VS multiplayer, no headphones required, on the PS Store
While many a fighting game fan scoff at Namco's Tekken series in favour of the ever popular Street Fighter games, Tekken is very much at home on the PSP. with a huge roster of characters, some nice 3d graphics and plenty of challenge, Tekken could keep you company for the full holiday, let alone the flight. Just to clarify, I feel Tekken is better suited to the PSP as it requires less D-pad/Analog movement than Capcom's Street Fighter games and anyone who has played the PSP for long periods of time will understand the pain of sore thumbs after an hour of Hadoukens on a PSP.
Also worthy of your button mashing style: Soul Calibur, Blazblue Portable, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max, Fate: Unlimited Code, Darkstalkers: The Chaos Tower.
For the blood lusting warrior
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Quick Hits- 6 hour story, no multiplayer, no headphones needed, on the PS Store
If you're anything like me, you're looking forward to the newly announced God of War game for PSP. Let us not forget the rather excellent Chains of Olympus. I'm not going to get into story details too much but its God of War, Kratos is pissed and someone needs to die while he shouts lots of names and grunts. What I am going to tell you is how well this runs on a PSP, any fan of the console versions will enjoy this portable outing a great deal. The only downside is it clocks in at about 4-6 hours for veterans, but you guys are going to want to tackle hard afterwards right? Yeah I thought so.
Also worthy of your stabby nature - Assassins Creed, Dantes Inferno, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
For the Japanese developer lover
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Quick Hits- 10 hour story, VS multiplayer, no headphones required. On the PS Store
While I could have quite easily filled the entire 'Japanese Lover' category with Square Enix titles, I feel Dissidia encapsulates many titles in to one game. Spanning all of the Final Fantasy universes, Dissidia tasks you with choosing light or dark and then fighting for said side. Its story is standard dramatic fluff you any Japanese lover would know, everyone is conflicted, twisted and misunderstood until close to the end when they all sort our their differences and have a scuffle, its the combat and equipment system that really gets Dissidia some high praise. It wont take a huge amount of time to finish the story portion Dissidia has to offer but you can keep playing and levelling your characters long after its done. My playtime has clocked in at just over 100 hours so if you're a fan of Final Fantasy, you'll enjoy this on a long trip.
Other games you would consider "kawaii!": Monster Hunter 2, Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, Half Minute Hero, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX (PSOne Classics on the PS Store)
For the petrol head
Gran Turismo, Burnout: Legends, Wipeout Pulse, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, Modnation Racers
Quick Hits- VS multiplayer in all, no headphones requires (but some of these games have great music!), All on the PS Store
I haven't selected a specific game here because there is a good variety of petrol heads out there. Some like smashing up cars, some like futuristic racers and others like racing simulators. Personally I'm a kart-racing kind of guy but all of these titles will keep you entertained on a long flight so pick whichever racing game is your style and play it!
For those who like to test their IQ
Quick hits- no multiplayer, no headphones required, Only on the PS Store
When I was 10 I loved a demo for a game called Kurushi. It was a puzzle game that had blocks falling off the end of a platform and the player, who was controlling a small on screen man, had to make sure none of the blocks fell off said platform by making them disintegrate. that was my memory of Kurushi until 2010 where Mike Kebby and his team of heroes decided to put this gem on the PS Store for me to download. Try it, love it, and then scream in frustration when you reach a level you cant complete (speaking from personal experience here).
Also challenging foes - Puzzle Quest, Lemmings, Exit.
For those who aren't afraid to play a game 'for babies'
Quick hits- 60 hour campaign story, coop and VS multiplayer, headphones required, On the PS Store
Patapon was my original reason for buying a PSP. its brightly colours landscapes and its monochrome characters enchanted me in a way no other way could. At one point the little drum beats of the Patapons were all I would hear and Patapon 2 improved in almost every single way. While this is a direct sequel its not necessary to have played the first Patapon to understand what's going on, With a huge amount of levels, some of which you'll need to replay several times, and its crazy style and substance, this game is recommended to those who don't mind looking a little odd but enjoy the most original titles out there.
Also brilliant fun - LocoRoco, Buzz, LittleBigPlanet.
For those who like a good beat
Quick Hits- 10+ hour 'story', multiplayer, headphones required, not on the PS Store
Luminies 2 is one the most addictive games I've ever played. Its made me miss bus stops, meetings and trains. A mix of columns and rock band, Lumines tasks you with putting 4 blocks of the same colour together, these blocks then get collected and removed by a line that goes across the screen in time with the beat and that's the entire premise. do it enough and you'll reach the end but if you fill up the screen you get a game over. The reason Lumines is brilliant is its collection of music from both in-studio 'composers' and well known main stream bands.
Also great for a music fan - Rock Band Unplugged, Gitaroo Man, Parappa the Rappa, Every Extended Extra.
Those who want to forget they are on Holiday and just game
Persona 3 Portable
Quick Hits- 100+ hour story, no multiplayer, no headphones required, not on the PS Store
If you're reading this and you live in Europe, I'm sorry, this game isn't released over here yet. If you live in the US, you've probably heard of the unstoppable cult awesomeness that is the Shin Megami Tensei games. Persona 3 Portable is the 3rd version of the ever popular Playstation 2 release Persona 3 which has been chopped up to make it easier to play on a portable machine. If you've played the original Persona 3 or its 'complete edition' FES, you'll know what to expect here, 100's of hours of gameplay, boss fights and social links and with these come some interesting additions such as full team control, new items and social links and the ability to pick a female protagonist. I'll put my hands up and say I haven't been able to play Persona 3 Portable yet but I loved Persona 3 FES that I can recommend P3P on name alone (Psst.. you can always import it)
Other great titles for those who live in Europe (sorry!): Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, Disgaea, Persona.