While these PSP games may be forgotten, their cover art leaves a lasting impression.
The PlayStation Portable was the only handheld to go toe-to-toe with the Nintendo DS, and that was due to the diverse library it had. The PSP offered console-style and portable gaming, such as Grand Theft Auto, Gran Turismo, Monster Hunter, and Tekken.
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But the handheld also had more than just the AAA experience on the go. The PSP has a sizable amount of niche and smaller games, and a good number of them are often forgotten or underappreciated. More often than enough, a few of them also had good cover art, whether to attract the eyes of potential buyers or if that was all they had to offer.
Cladun: This is an RPG is a throwback to the genre of yesteryears. It is a dungeon crawler game where you can either play by yourself or with others using ad-hoc. Players could also complete the game in less than 30-minutes if they desire. The game has a niche following, but it didn't garner the attention of many.
The Japanese cover art of the game is colorful and pleasing to the eye. The pixel art used is a mixture of old and contemporary, which is perfect because of the modern throwback setting the game is based on.
The PSP saw two Ace Combat titles released. Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat: Joint Assault. The latter is set in the Strangeworld universe, while the former is set in the real world. While the series today is popular due to the 7th installment, the PSP titles are often unfairly forgotten, mainly because they are on that handheld.
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Both cover arts evoke the Ace Combat spirit. A fast, high-flying fighter jet in the middle of battle. X shows a more classic cover, akin to the other Ace Combat games, while Joint Assault has an eye-catching red and yellow background.
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower is a fighting game for the PSP. Despite the popularity of Morrigan, the Darkstalker franchise is a forgotten series in general. Regardless of the console or handheld, it tends to get overshadowed by other fighting games. So The Chaos Tower saw little fanfare, even to this day.
But the cover art is very gorgeous. It shows some main characters in a dark yet pleasant way. The series is known for its gothic art style, but the games can be humorous, and it captures both perfectly.
Corpse Party is a survival horror game where a group of students gets dragged to another location after an earthquake. They are tasked to solve the mystery and attempt to escape. It has gained a cult following since, spanning a re-release for other platforms such as the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, but the original PSP game has been forgotten.
The PSP cover art is stereotypical with the tropes shown, such as the evil lurking behind the scared girls, but sometimes the most effective way to showcase the game is doing something like that. It gets the point across of what the game is and is very effective.
Gloria Union is a tactical RPG that saw a Japan-only release. The game blends in a card system with turn-based actions. Because of the card system, the game looks like a tabletop board game. The game was ported over to mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch in 2021. Due to the lack of a Western release, Gloria Union is often forgotten among RPG enthusiasts.
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While the cover art may look crowded with an abundance of characters, it is tastefully done with all of them in the center. The blue background also gives an overall softer feel and doesn't distract anyone from the rest of the cover art.
The Killzone series of very popular among gamers, but some of its non-console games aren't. One example is Killzone: Liberation. Not only was it on the PSP, but it was a departure from the first-person gameplay the series is known for. That alienated a lot of the traditional fans. The gameplay is presented from a top-down point of view and combines dungeon crawling with a run-and-gun combat system.
The cover art is very cheesy but in a good way. It is reminiscent of B-tier action movie posters of yesteryear, which is apt since a few gamers saw this as a "B-Tier" Killzone.
The Konbini Portable is a simulation game where you manage a convenience store. It was released in 2010, and the game did not see a localization outside of Japan. While simulation games are popular worldwide, there are just a lot of small nuances to Japanese convenience stores that the West does not understand. With the lack of localization and since it covers a very niche subject, the game is virtually unknown to many, even in its home market.
However, its cover art, be it simplistic, is really underrated. It gives off a warm nostalgic vibe with the use of warm colors. It just screams summer in Japan.
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