30 Best Sony PlayStation Network Games

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 92
While a Final Fantasy VII remake on the PlayStation 3 may happen at some point in the future, Final Fantasy fans can at least relive the adventure that they love most at the fraction of what it would cost for a new copy of FFVII.

For the people who didn't get a chance to play the original, Final Fantasy VII is about nature-versus-evil-corporations, as the planet Gaia is slowly dying, no thanks to the shadowy Shinra Company, an evil government that's draining the world of all its energy. Cloud, a soldier formerly in the employ of Shinra, goes on a vast and memorable adventure to save the planet, spanning hours of classic RPG combat and tons of unforgettable characters. Along the way, Cloud meets up with various people who all have a stake in the planet's survival, and things come to a head when a fellow ex-Shinra elite named Sephiroth becomes invested in the destruction of the world.

For many gamers, Final Fantasy VII is a crash course in RPG 101, and if you haven't played it, the PSN download is like a treasure chest begging to be opened.

  • Flow
  • PSN Exclusive

Cost: $7.99
Metacritic Rating: 71
Flow can be considered the inspiration for PSN's Flower, and that's no surprise, as both games are the brainchild of "thatgamecompany," which is headed by famed designer Jenova Chen. Without life bars, points, or any kind of heads-up display, Flow's entire experience consists of you controlling an aquatic microorganism through various levels of the game. As you ingest small organisms, your own avatar will grow and evolve based on the type of creatures you eat and when you eat them.

As a game, Flow is very low-key on sensory overload, and comes across as a relaxing way to let the hours melt by after a busy afternoon. There are quite a few different creatures that can be unlocked throughout the game, and with such a simple mode of play -- you move your own organism by steering with the Sixaxis's motion control in a way that anyone can play without so much as a tutorial. Flow may look like the world's most graphically impressive screen saver, but it's one of the most original titles PSN has to offer.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 87
As one of the most unique titles a gamer can find, Flower is something that defies classification. It's more of an experience than a clear-cut video game, and you "feel" it more than actually "play" it. In Flower, you control nature itself, while your motions with the Sixaxis conduct the ebb and flow of the wind. Through this action, you guide a single flower petal around a lifeless, grayscale world, bringing color and light to everything you touch. As you take that single petal and send it throughout a level, a path of bright, colorful greenery will sprout wherever you go, adding more petals to your strong, but small, wisp of wind.

More than anything else, Flower feels surprisingly natural. There isn't any tutorial or explanation needed, and you can pretty much just pick up the controller and explore levels at your leisure.

Flower should be recognized for breaking a lot of video games boundaries; in fact, it might seem odd that there isn't any way to "lose" or "die" in this game. Even if you happen to get stuck trying to find a path between sterile buildings and lonely stretches of abandoned scenery, a few shakes and turns of the controller is all it takes to renew motion and find new directions to grow. Everything from the graphics to the musical score is extremely well crafted, and despite being more artwork than a traditional video game, Flower more than warrants the distinction as one of the best PSN games available on the PlayStation 3.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 77
If video games have taught us anything, it's that mankind's chances for survival in a monster-apocalypse are slim to none. Hilariously, The Last Guy lives and breathes on this idea, as you play the titular character, whose sole responsibility is to guide hundreds of survivors safety across large urban cities. As you collect more survivors, your group will invariably be harder to guide, and therein lies half the fun of the game.

None of this is a serious as it sounds, though. The Last Guy gives you the ultimate version of a "top-down" view, as the game looks like you're directing ants through Google Map versions of famous cities. This is how you'll eventually start to manage survival groups numbering in the hundreds, represented by a frantic, screaming mob that steadfastly follows your "Last Guy" in line formation. It's quirky, a great mix of "Snake" and "Lemmings," and even when you lose, it's downright hilarious to see your helpless mob of dependents get eaten by roaming 5-mile-long centipedes.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 80
Lumines has always been one of the best musical experiences on the PSP, so it was good to see the series make its way to the PS3. Just like the original Lumines games, Supernova features a huge collection of musical "skins" that shift from level to level as you eliminate colored blocks from the play field. And there's dozens to work through, so arranging your favorite mixes is a nice perk.

Although there's sadly no online multiplayer, Lumines Supernova compensates nicely with the $10 tag (a drop from the original $15 launch price) and the new DigDown mode, a feature exclusive to PSN. If you didn't bite at first, Q Entertainment's sweetened the deal enough that you should check it out.

Cost: $14.99
Metacritic Rating: 85
It's a testament to how good Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is that the PSN version is largely unchanged from past ports, at least from a gameplay perspective. Drafting dozens of combatants from both camps, it's still the only fighting game that lets you pit the likes of Iron Man and Dr. Doom against Captain Commando and Strider Hiryu. What's even better about the PSN and XBLA ports is that -- for the first time -- every fighter in the lineup is unlocked at the start, so there's no need to grind through the game's arcade mode hundreds of times for enough points to access your favorite character.

Also, the PSN and XBLA revivals added the desperately longed-for online multiplayer feature, which is just as speedy as playing next to a buddy in the arcade. It's a small addition that Capcom fans had been wanting for almost a decade, making this version of MVC2 the one for both hardcore and new players. With HD settings and online play, it's a fighting game revival that's undoubtedly one of the best downloadable PSN games.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 94
Metal Gear Solid is one of most critically acclaimed games ever, and for good reason. Back in the original PlayStation era, Solid Snake's first mission on Sony's console was considered the entertainment equivalent of a blockbuster Hollywood film. Ninjas, nuclear warheads, giant robots -- Metal Gear Solid had everything.

Looking at the story, Solid Snake's mission seems nigh impossible: infiltrate a nuclear weapons base deep in the Alaskan wilderness, which has been taken over by a terrorist group whose leaders possess a laundry list of crazy superpowers. It's Snake, all alone, against a literal army -- so he must use every stealthy maneuver in his arsenal to avoid detection and silently take out the opposition. Sure, you could just go "Rambo" and try shooting your way though the game, but you'd be outgunned and shot down like a dog.

In fact, just about every modern stealth game owes something to Metal Gear Solid. Everything from decoy distractions to hiding unconscious bodies comes into play here, and it's as ingrained into the genre as bullets are to first-person shooters. Even though the Metal Gear series continues to break new ground with each installment, it's good to be able to go back to where it all started for about the cost of a movie ticket.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 80

It seems that PixelJunk games all follow a simple trinity: memorable artwork, entrancing music, and simple gameplay. PixelJunk Eden is a case study of this development strategy, as it excels in every aspect.

PixelJunk Eden is all about growth and gravity. Each level in this game is a literal garden, with stalks, leaves, and stems sprouting from odd angles all over the screen. All you control in these gardens is the "Grimp," a little avatar that can use a single line of webbing to swing, grip, and jump through each level. While you may be tempted to just mess with the physics, there is a task at hand. Within a time limit, you must collect a "Spectra" by influencing the growth of the garden, which can be done by gathering and releasing clumps of pollen into the air. Do this enough and plenty of seeds will sprout into plants that will allow your Grimp to reach its targets.

PixelJunk Eden's surprisingly challenging, and offers a lot for $10. You'll want to go back though gardens, trying to beat your best score and compete with the best of the leaderboards. Like its other PixelJunk brethren, there's also an "Encore" package of Eden available if you manage to blast through this masterpiece in record time.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 83
PixelJunk Monsters - another quirky offering from developer Q-Games - is tower defense at its best. As the title indicates, the main goal involves protecting your home base from every type of monster the game can throw at you: bats, giants, spiders and whatnot. Thankfully, every level in the game is a fortress in the making, as you can turn the natural scenery itself into a weapon. Provided you have the resources, it's a simple matter of turning an ordinary tree into a cannon ball-launching defense tower with the press of a button

Most of the meat in PixelJunk Monsters is found around the different types of defenses you can unlock, and there are quite a lot of them -- arrow turrets, fire-spewing towers, and even Tesla coil-style armaments. Customizing your ideal defensive formation is a satisfying experience to say the least, and it's got that trademark PixelJunk atmosphere to tie everything together. It may borrow from several other games just like it, but this one's got enough charm to stand above the best PSN games around.

And even if you've already played the original PixelJunk Monsters to death, there's the Encore expansion, which adds another 15 levels, as well as the "Deluxe" PSP version, which includes every single feature from the previous game, plus a little extra content exclusive to the handheld system.

Cost: $9.99
Metacritic Rating: 87
A lot of shooters are content to just throw wave after wave of enemies at you until you die, so it's no surprise that the genre is overloaded with too many titles that look and play alike. It's an understatement to say that PixelJunk Shooter is not one of those games. In fact, it's so wildly inventive, it's more puzzle game than shooter.

Set in the far future where mankind has taken to the stars to collect living resources, PixelJunk Shooter kicks off with one heck of a crisis. On planet Apoxus Prime, a crew of scientists face imminent death from a combination of dangerous environments and pissed off natives. Luckily, the crew of the Ers PiƱita Colada and their tiny scout ships are here to save the day. It's not just about shooting holes through the planet and rescuing the hapless scientists, either -- the real star of PixelJunk Shooter is the level design. Numerous areas can be uncovered with the right mix of elements: lava can melt a path through ice, water rushes everywhere to fill empty gaps, and black ooze can be magnetized out of harm's way.

Aside from deducing the best ways to save the scientists and protect your ship, PixelJunk Shooter also achieves the right mix of catchy music, animation, and addictive gameplay -- and the overall package is worth the price of admission.

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