33 Underrated & Overlooked PSP Games To PlayThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
When I first started digging up some of the more underrated PSP games for you guys, I was at a loss.
After all, I love the PSP with a passion – and I think the entire PSP library can be considered “underrated”.
Hell, the console itself is underrated!
You need to consider this came out just a year after its main competition, the Nintendo DS. I mean sure, the two screens were a nice touch – but the PSP is a much more powerful machine able to run PS2-quality games, and play most common video formats, replace your iPod, and lots more.
So if you love the PSP like me, you’ve played through all the big-name hits like MGS: Peace Walker and Burnout: Legends.
But maybe you’ll find something you missed among these criminally underrated PSP games.
33. Pursuit Force (2006)
Everyone who’s played Pursuit Force loves Pursuit Force, and that’s an indisputable fact – but you ever hardly hear anyone talk about it!
This hyper-violent game has you doing something you’ve probably fantasized about on many long road trips – jumping around on moving cars and trucks.
Pursuit Force is a game about high-speed police chases.
Its simple controls make it easy to pick up, but as the game progresses, it becomes more of a puzzle and less of a skill-based challenge.
With fantastic graphics and plenty of replayability, Pursuit Force is a no-brainer for your game library.
32. Exit (2006)
Exit is a divisive game.
Some love its minimal art style and slow-paced platforming, while others can’t stand the player character’s slow leisurely way of walking (even in disaster zones).
It’s hit or miss. But it’s worth trying.
In this game, you’re tasked with leading Mr. ESC to the exit of each level, ranging from collapsing buildings to devastating fires.
The levels are challenging but short, making this perfect for episodic on-the-go fun.
31. WTF: Work Time Fun (2006)
Working isn’t meant to be fun.
But you’re not forbidden to have fun while working.
WTF is basically WarioWare on the PSP.
It has similar off-beat humor, unusual mini-games (like putting caps on plastic pens as fast as possible), and it tends to make you feel a little dirty after playing.
In a good way.
The game mocks our consumerist lifestyle by making us “work” through its mini-games so we can earn some in-game cash.
You can then spend it at the in-game store on more mini-games and plenty of dubiously valuable gadgets like a world clock, a flashlight, and a ramen timer.
Get this if you love dark humor and care about originality in games.
30. Hexyz Force (2010)
If you’re looking for a classic turn-based RPG that’ll capture you until your arms start tingling and you get that distinct “I’ve been holding my PSP for too long” feeling, Hexyz Force is the one to try.
This game features two extensive stories taking place in a world hanging between creation and destruction.
Each has a different protagonist and is fundamentally different, though they happen in parallel, and often overlap.
You won’t find anything new in Hexyz Force. But its polished game mechanics and solid story are more than enough reason to play it.
29. Gunpey (2006)
Q-Entertainment brings us a new and improved version of their addictive puzzler Gunpey – named after Gunpei Yokoi, the designer of Bandai’s WonderSwan, where Gunpey saw its first release.
Regardless of whether you’re a long-time fan or never heard of Gunpey before, this deceptively simple but tricky-to-master puzzler is a must-try on the PSP.
Especially for puzzle game fans.
28. Echochrome (2008)
Echochrome is a creative puzzler where your perspective matters and everything is relative.
It presents puzzles involving optical illusions and non-traditional geometry. Some puzzles are solved by moving things around, while others require changing the camera’s perspective.
It’s yet another perfect title for puzzle-lovers – especially those who’ve played a little bit too much Lumines already.
27. Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure (2007)
Gurumin is a charming platformer-RPG that puts more focus on drilling holes in the skulls of your opponents with your staff-mounted drill, rather than solving puzzles or collecting gadgets.
So you know it’s gonna be fun.
It follows Parin, a drill-wielding girl who goes around protecting children from the “Phantoms” that have been plaguing them since their parents started making headway into the local mine.
The visuals are solid, and the game has an excellent cast of voice actors that bring the heartwarming story to life.
26. Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy (2011)
Pretentious name aside, Dissidia 012 is a game that opens up the Final Fantasy franchise for newcomers who aren’t sure about classic RPGs.
But it also gives long-time fans something to chew on.
Dissidia features intense, over-the-top battles starring an all-star cast of characters from throughout the Final Fantasy series, including Lightning, Firion, Kefka, and Golbez.
It mixes some RPG mechanics into the fighting to stay true to its origins.
But still, for the most part, Dissidia is a 3D arena fighter similar to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series.
25. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (2012)
Most straight men wouldn’t touch Hakuoki with a 3m stick – after all, it’s a Samurai Romance showcasing a wealth of dashing Japanese warriors who’ll trip over themselves to be with you.
But that’s not even half of the story.
Besides the romantic elements, Hakuoki is a story about war and the bonds formed and lost in battle.
It also features genuinely moving voice acting.
I understand anyone who’s reticent to come out of their comfort zone and play a romantic Visual Novel, but Hakuoki is definitely worth it.
24. Ys Seven (2010)
Ys Seven shines for modernizing the series, introducing 3D models and a very fast-paced combat system that contrasts with the old-school RPG adventure narrative.
It follows adventurers Adol and Dogi as they arrive in Altago City and immediately get involved in a skirmish against the Kingdom’s military police force.
This classic RPG series has some tricks up its sleeve.
Maybe not the best Ys game, but worth a try if you do love these titles.
23. Tokobot (2005)
Have you played Tokobot? No?
Well, we’ve been missing out big time.
The game is the PSP’s take on Pikmin, with a few changes.
Mainly, the Pikmin are no longer vegetables. They’re Karakuri-type robots – Tokobots, to be exact.
Most of the combat and puzzle-solving is mediated by your team of Tokobots, who can come together to form complex structures and perform dynamic actions.
22. Every Extend Extra (2006)
EEE is an innovative “shoot-em-up”, er rather, a blow-em-up.
Pilot your spaceship and avoid getting damaged as you position yourself strategically among your enemies and self-destruct, taking as many of them with you as possible.
The dynamic music and appealing visuals are highlights.
They give the action on screen a sort of psychedelic appeal.
21. Neverland Card Battles (2008)
Neverland Card Battles is anything but promising, at first glance.
It’s not a big name like Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic: The Gathering. And that cover art is just amateurish.
But boot up the game, and you’ll remember why we don’t judge books based on their cover.
It brings together collectible cards with classic SRPG gameplay to provide a deep and enjoyable experience with an unrelenting difficulty fit for those who like a challenge.
20. Wild ARMs XF (2008)
If you’re looking for a unique tactical RPG to sink your teeth into and don’t care much about the story, Wild ARMs XF is the way to go.
The Wild ARMs franchise brings a unique Weird West aesthetic that injects technology and sci-fi elements to an otherwise Wild West setting.
The classes, weapons, and enemies keep the charm of classic outlaws, sheriffs, and canteens.
One of the best parts about this TRPG is the fantastic skill and class system, which rivals even that of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions.
If the story was any good, this game might have even surpassed FFT.
19. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (2007)
Originally a PC exclusive, The Dracula X Chronicles re-tells Rondo of Blood’s events with updated 2.5D graphics but the same challenging castle-exploring gameplay.
It was the first time Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was released outside of Japan.
But this time it came with an extended script and an entirely new boss: the Hydra.
What makes this game so underrated is that it also includes Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and the original Rondo of Blood translated into English as unlockable features.
It’s almost three games for the price of one, and it’s on-the-go.
18. Yggdra Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone (2008)
Upon first inspection, Yggdra Union seems like a pretty standard SRPG – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The main difference is the number of unusual variables that determine the outcome of a fight, such as the unit’s gender, past experiences with the enemy general, whether they have a specific diet, etc.
It took me a couple of years and many re-attempts to finally understand the game’s combat system.
And then a bit more practice just to make it past the first couple of levels.
Still, once I did, I found a fantastic experience waiting beyond the skill barrier.
17. Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (2007)
I’ve loved the Tales franchise ever since I first played Tales of Symphonia on my GameCube.
The series’ fast-paced flashy combat and inspiring fantasy storylines kept me coming back for more.
Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology on the PSP is one of the series’ weirdest entries.
You get to design your player character – including their voice, hairstyle, skin color, and class.
Then you’ll go around recruiting heroes from other games in the franchise, like Lloyd from ToS, Stahn from ToD, and Luke from ToA.
The unusual storyline turned off many series veterans (which is fair).
But they’re missing out on over 300 missions and deep customization that make this a fantastic entry.
16. Mega Man Powered Up (2006)
Mega Man Maverick Hunter X on the PSP is a fantastic title.
But in my opinion, it’s not the best Mega Man remake on the platform.
Mega Man Powered Up is a colorful and charming remake of the first game in the series.
It features iconic bosses like Cut Man and Bomb Man, and the levels remain pretty challenging.
I love the new chibi character designs, but what I love the most about this game is the optional content and the replayability.
The Challenge mode provided 100 short levels worth of puzzle-like gameplay, and being free to play through the game as any of the bosses was priceless.
15. Crimson Gem Saga (2009)
Many people think classic turn-based combat should be a thing of the past.
But I couldn’t disagree more.
If you love taking your time navigating through menus to choose skills and cast spells, you have to try Crimson Gem Saga.
This relatively overlooked game is simple and fun. There’s no innovation whatsoever, but its turn-based gameplay is polished.
It looks beautiful thanks to some incredibly detailed sprites, lovely character portraits, and lush overworld environments that almost look hand-drawn.
14. Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley (2010)
You’d be forgiven for disliking Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland on the PS2. It was a very different game, and it lacked many features from the original titles that made StH feel a little dull.
Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley can help you enjoy this classic farming simulator with a visual upgrade and many new features.
The main improvement is the addition of marriage and the charming girls that come with it.
You can even marry the Harvest Goddess here – a massive improvement from the life of celibacy you had in the original PS2 version.
13. Riviera: The Promised Land (2007)
Riviera is one of the first JRPGs I played on the PSP.
And to this day it remains one of my favorite role-playing games in the history of gaming as a whole.
This unique take on the genre features surprisingly out-of-the-box thinking. Which isn’t surprising when you consider it’s part of the Dept. Heaven series along with Yggdra Union.
There isn’t much exploration to speak of.
But you’ll have a lot of fun on your linear adventure getting to know your cute party members and choosing which one to get closer with (which directly affects the ending you get).
Even if you played this game in its original WonderSwan Color release, it’s worth playing again due to the remastered graphics and re-drawn CG art.
12. ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman (2010)
The title of this eccentric turn-based RPG isn’t the only thing that’s a bit crazy about ZHP.
As expected from a Nippon Ichi Software game, ZHP is full of charming characters who are all missing a screw or two.
From the story to the items to some of the gameplay mechanics, everything is infused with wonderful and slightly dark humor.
Besides having the best name out of any game on the PSP, Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman shines for the deep customization that plays a vital role in your performance in the game.
It’s pretty challenging, and a great introduction to the roguelike genre.
11. What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! 2 (2010)
I played this game the whole way on my last 8-hour flight to Argentina, and still didn’t manage to make it past the halfway point.
It’s hard, but also addictive.
The game is a bit like Minecraft in that you must dig tunnels beneath the ground to get resources – except you’re digging for monster nutrients and magic particles that have seeped into the soil throughout the years.
Do it correctly, and terrible monsters will spring out and form an ecosystem.
Managing your dungeon’s ecosystem is what the game is about. A stable environment for your monsters will help them drive back invading heroes.
It’s certainly lesser-known and pretty underrated. But it is a great game.
10. Rengoku II: The Stairway to HEAVEN (2006)
Rengoku II is one of the most unique action RPGs on Sony’s first portable console thanks to its unique setting, innovative character customization, and fast-paced combat.
You play as an android trying to get his memories from when he was a human back.
On your way, you’ll have to find and equip new body parts (like a helmet with a horn-like revolver built-in) to gain new skills and better stats.
If you like the Evangelion anime and always wanted to pilot an EVA (unlike Shinji), this is the next best thing.
These androids share that slim & odd anatomic shape that makes EVAs so appealing.
9. Black Rock Shooter (2013)
For something that’ll stimulate your senses like chewing 5 gum, consider playing this shooter/action RPG based on a famous Supercell song featuring Vocaloid Hatsune Miku.
If you think that’s weird, wait until you experience the game’s epic dystopian storyline with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.
While the gameplay is satisfactory, this game is all about aesthetics.
The graphics are solid, and the character design for characters like Dead Master, Black Gold Saw, and Black Rock Shooter herself is just perfect.
8. Half-Minute Hero (2009)
Every morning, I challenge myself to get as much done around the kitchen in the 60 seconds it takes my tea water to warm up.
If you also like to race against time, you’ll love Half-Minute hero.
Every level in this “RPG” can be completed within 30 seconds – and it’s not always the same thing.
There are puzzles, reflex-based events, shoot-em-up challenges, and plenty more.
The quick and addictive gameplay makes Half-Minute Hero the perfect game for those errand-running days with a lot of off-time on public transportation or waiting rooms.
The game also shines for its fantastic humor that parodies RPG stereotypes and games in general.
7. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! (2011)
Both the original Prinny and its sequel are among the hardest games ever released on the PSP.
If you’re a fan of challenging experiences that’ll test your reflexes and your patience, this is a must-try.
Disgaea’s comic relief mascot – the penguin-like Prinny – always gets the short end of the stick in the Netherworld.
Being a Prinny is hard – which is why you get a whopping 1000 lives at the beginning of the game.
While the levels are generally easy to handle, the bosses in this game are just ruthless.
A thousand lives might not be enough.
6. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (2006)
MGS: Peace Walker is the best Metal Gear on the PSP and one of the most amazing games in the franchise from a story perspective.
But the idea of a portable MGS was born with the lesser-known Portable Ops.
The gameplay is similar to Peace Walker’s, except the controls are less refined.
Still, the quality of level design and the sheer amount of things to do in this game more than make up for it. It’s Tactical Espionage Action on the go.
If you liked this then consider getting MGS: Portable Ops Plus, a standalone expansion with plenty of new content – including a new “Infinity Mission” you can play for… well, you get it.
5. Tekken: Dark Resurrection (2006)
Tekken: Dark Resurrection isn’t the most recent Tekken on the PSP.
But it’s the most fun.
Whereas Tekken 6 does present some character roster and gameplay improvements, it takes away more than it offers. For one, it removed Dark Resurrection’s Dojo Mode, which is a work of art that can keep you hooked for hours.
Dark Resurrection also features an incredibly robust cosmetic character customization system, and unlocking items for your favorite fighter was as addictive as hunting down weapon parts in Destiny.
The game is also just as aesthetically pleasing as its successor. It’s the better Tekken to have for on-the-go play.
4. Initial D Street Stage (2006) (JP)
If I started listing every single Japanese import that’s criminally overlooked in the English-speaking world, I’d be here forever – so I’ll keep it to a single exception.
Initial D Street Stage is the portable version of an incredible arcade racer inspired by the classic Initial D anime.
While most tie-in games in the West tend to be terrible, this racer turned out to be exhilarating thanks to the super-satisfactory drifting element – the same thing that makes watching clips from the Initial D anime at 3:00 am so entertaining.
3. Jeanne D’Arc (2007)
Most of us know the story of the Maid of Orleans who led her French comrades in many battles during the Hundred Years War, but you’ve never seen it re-told this way.
This strategy RPG was celebrated by users and critics alike for its vibrant graphics, fantastic gameplay, and surprisingly good fantasy story.
It’s inspired by the real events of Jeanne’s life, but with a healthy shot of magic.
The game is also beginner-friendly, so even the RPG illiterate can thoroughly get into it.
2. The Third Birthday (2011)
As a survival horror game, the Parasite Eve franchise has always paled when compared to other classics like Resident Evil or Silent Hill.
But as a shooter on the PSP, it was way ahead of the pack.
This third-person shooter follows Aya Brea as she shoots through horrible mass-murdering aliens known as the Twisted.
The fantastic 20-hour campaign is fresh and polished, with crisp graphics and gorgeous cut-scenes.
The controls are a bit cumbersome at first, but it becomes a mindful exercise of flexibility and strength after a while. You’ll get used to it!
1. Metal Gear Acid 2 (2006)
I love the Metal Gear franchise. And I’ve played almost every game in the series.
So I get why some people are dubious when it comes to spin-offs.
I mean, have you played Metal Gear Survive?
That said, the Metal Gear Acid duology stands on the shoulders of giants to deliver a deeply satisfying experience for any fan or curious newcomer.
The cards in your deck determine everything you do.
These cards depict items, groups, and individuals from the main games like Vamp or Olga, and some of them will even play a little cut-scene upon use.
It’s a love letter to Metal Gear, but also an incredibly addictive game on its own.
The cel-shaded visuals are also out of this world.