Battle of the Handhelds – PS Vita vs Nintendo Switch Lite

Retro Gaming

Regardless of the system I own, I’m usually found looking for retro games to play on it. Whether they’re remastered versions, retro compilations or new updates to old games, they play a big part of my time.

The Switch has a great selection of retro compilations from Sega, Namco and Konami. Modern remastered titles like Turrican Flashback bringing the 90s shooter to a modern audience and my personal favourites – two emulators packed with over 100 NES and SNES games available freely for Nintendo Online subscribers.

Sega have contributed their Sega Ages range bringing arcade perfect ports of some of their classics to Nintendo including Space Harrier and Out Run. The final icing on the cake is over 200 arcade releases courtesy of Hamster in their Arcade Archives range.

But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what the Vita offers. Despite being skipped over by Hamster, the Vita has been blessed with its own remastered collections. Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, God Of War, Jak and Daxter, Metal Gear Solid to name but a few. But if you want the original titles you need look no further than the PlayStation store where hundreds of PS1 and PSP games await including Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, Spyro The Dragon, Resident Evil… It doesn’t end there though. There are retro compilations both natively and via the PSP covering console and arcade classics from Atari, Capcom, SNK and Sega.

Then there’s the Vita’s hidden secret weapon in the retro gaming battle. An increasing number of people are hacking the Vita to allow it to run homebrew titles and emulators. Right now the Vita is regarded as being one of the best platforms for emulation, capable of handling most if not all retro computers and consoles.

PS Vita – 5
Switch – 3

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Multiplayer Gaming

In theory both platforms should be on a relatively even footing when it comes to multiplayer gaming. Both can connect online, and both have wi-fi functionality for local multiplayer. But this isn’t about the hardware capabilities. Sadly it’s been an underused feature of the Vita from the start. While there have been standout multiplayer titles like Killzone Mercenary and the Sword Art Online series, the Vita is a solitary device.

In stark contrast, the Switch has multiplayer gaming at its heart. While the Switch Lite may only be a single player device, it’s software library is well stocked with both online and local multiplayer games. Almost every genre is catered for, whether you’re after family games, action, sports, casual or competitive. And it’s that functionality that’s made it a genuine system seller.

PS Vita – 2
Switch – 5

Media Playback

Ever since the release of the original PlayStation, the brand has been associated with media playback on their consoles. CD audio, photos, movies – they’ve been able to do them all. In its early days the Vita had the same potential. Built-in camera with photo viewer and the ability to take panoramic photos, music player, video player, movies and TV shows to buy from the PlayStation Store… And then there were apps like Crunchyroll, TuneIn Radio, Netflix (for US gamers) and an official YouTube app.

Sadly most of these were either discontinued or shut down leaving just a couple, the Vita’s own integrated players and somewhat dated web browser. While the Switch doesn’t have a music or movie player, its own range of services is slowly growing with YouTube, Funimation, a couple of comic apps. The lack of a browser does limit what can be done though.

Truthfully, neither system offers a great deal despite showing great potential. The Vita’s ability to handle a range of media is balanced against the Switch’s access to comics and YouTube so there’s no clear winner on this one.

PS Vita – 3
Switch – 3

Next up – the results…

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About Simon Plumbe 939 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: