If you were going by Sony's E3 keynote alone, you'd think that the PS Vita was dead. The nifty little handheld was barely shown at all, outside of sizzle reels and off-hand mentions.
But we know different. We know that there are at least 50 games coming to the platform. And some will make you glad you've still got the console and didn't trade it in for a tablet or a tub of magic beans.
Sure, the system might be little more than a portable indie machine at this point. But with upcoming titles like the nine standouts below, that's no bad thing.
Yet another entry in the turn-based action platformer genre (so oversaturated, right?), Ronin's most exciting aspect is the variety of its gameplay.
It's possible to stealthily traverse each level without alerting the guards - but the second you stray into sight, the turn-based system activates. Planning leaps and stabs in advance looks tremendously fun, and you'll be able to do so before the year is out.
Heart Forth, Alicia
If the stunning pixel art isn't enough to sell you on Heart Forth, Alicia by itself, then maybe the fact that it's billed as a Metroidvania RPG might. Still unconvinced? Well, the game's developers cite the Zelda series, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Xenogears as inspiration.
With such a fantastic set of influences, Heart Forth, Alicia may be to the Metroidvania genre what Shovel Knight was to platformers: namely, the best thing in years.
It took a little digging to find out that Broforce was coming to Vita - but it certainly is, and soon you'll be able to enjoy its zany run-and-gun platforming on the go.
Apart from the entirely destructible environment, Broforce's main draw is in its characters, whose attacks and names reference action heroes from movies and more. Let's go, Ram-bro!
Vlambeer's one of our favorite developers on Vita, and not without good reason: Luftrausers and Super Crate Box play fantastically on Sony's portable.
Roguelike shooter Nuclear Throne seems to expand upon areas where Vlambeer has already found success - coupling randomly-generated action with a large selection of weapons has paid off in the past, so we've got high hopes for this one.
Hyper Light Drifter
The majority of games on this list feature pixel art, probably because it's both relatively simple and visually appealing. But the art in Hyper Light Drifter outclasses that of its contemporaries by around a factor of 300, and that's not even an opinion.
Before I go drool over more screenshots, I should probably mention the gameplay, which is fashioned after The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Ha! As if you needed another reason to buy this game.
Some may think it rather early to get excited for Kickstarter record-breaker Bloodstained, especially given the fact that its existing footage doesn't show much in the way of gameplay.
But for those in the know, any game developed by Koji Igarashi is one to watch out for. He's responsible for many of the best Castlevania games: namely Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow, and Dawn of Sorrow. And with Iga now given free reign, Bloodstained could be even better.
Risk of Rain
Although it sounds similar to many of the Vita's recent successes, Risk of Rain's brand of "procedurally generated roguelike gameplay" is a little different from what you'd expect from the genre.
Each level gets increasingly difficult as more time is spent within it, forcing the player to decide between grinding for experience or dashing to the stage's end (and thereby becoming under-leveled). Risk of Rain's at high risk of being dangerously fun.
PC and PS4 users are already able to delve into Axiom Verge's depths, but Vita owners haven't yet had the chance to experience this Metroid-inspired adventure.
Perhaps the most significant endorsement of Axiom Verge is Nintendo's desire to see it on the Wii U eShop - that's high praise from a company known to be fiercely protective of its IPs. Moreover, the entire game - soundtrack, programming and art - was created by one man as a labor of love. Is that enough yet?
These days, Vita exclusives are rarer than happy Metroid fans, and there certainly aren't very many of the latter. That's why Severed is so exciting: it's a Vita game first and foremost, built specifically for Sony's portable by the same talented people who made Guacamelee.
Touch-based combat forms the foundation of Severed, with abilities and exploration to boot - and have a gander at that bold, colorful art style.