The 10 Best PSN Games For PS3 You Have To Play Before Sony Shuts Down The PlayStation Store

March 26, 2021
FEATURES

If rumours are to be believed, we may soon be saying goodbye to the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3. In a report published earlier this month, it seems Sony may be sunsetting its digital storefronts for the ‘legacy’ system during the summer with the PSP and PlayStation Vita stores suffering the same fates (don’t worry, I have lists for those too!)

At the time of writing there has been no official announcement from PlayStation — and, should this go further than just the store, there’s certainly a wider discussion surrounding digital rights management to be had — but, with time running out, you need to act fast if you want to secure yourself some brilliant hidden gems and digital-only games exclusively available via the PlayStation store. 

With that being said, here are 10 games that you have to buy* before PlayStation pulls the plug on the PS3 store forever.

*Ahem, might want to consider.


10. Ratchet & Clank: A Quest For Booty | Developer: Insomniac Games | Released: 2008

A spin-off as part of the Ratchet and Clank Future series — that, frankly, I had forgotten about — Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty picks up where the pair’s PlayStation 3 debut (Tools of Destruction, 2007) left off and leads directly into the next full game (A Crack in Time, 2009). 

This pirate-themed adventure sees the titular heroes chasing Captain Angstrom Darkwater, an infamous space pirate who is the only person in the galaxy with the knowledge of how to contact the Zoni — a race of mystical beings who can manipulate time and space to their will.

Although short-lived, with only a three to four hour runtime, Quest For Booty has everything you would expect from a Ratchet & Clank adventure. And whilst its story is not essential to understanding the tale of the lone Lombax and his mechanical friend, you don’t want to have a piece missing should you want to play through the series in its entirety.

Note: The only reason this is at number 10 is because there was a physical version of the game released in Europe and Asia. However, expect prices to climb when the digital version is no longer available.


9. Tokyo Jungle | Developer: Crispy’s / Japan Studio | Released: 2012

The first of many weird and wonderful digital-only titles developed by Japan Studio (RIP), Tokyo Jungle is set in a world where humans are extinct and animals must do what they can to survive. 

The game’s story mode tasks the player with playing a series of missions as different animals, eventually revealing what has happened to make human life seemingly extinct. Pomeranians, deer, beagles and lions all play a part in the story as you literally fight for your life and each core animal has a story that plays out differently. A second mode, “Survival Mode”, is exactly that. Start as a particular animal and see how long you can last.

Pack mentality is important, so building up your stable of animals becomes key to your success in Tokyo Jungle. The game features 50 breeds and 80 types of animal, with more available as DLC. You can even download a human office worker. I know. I told you it was weird.

Note: Tokyo Jungle is also available on disc via the Best of the PlayStation Network Vol. 1 compilation and had a physical release in Japan. However, as with Quest for Booty, this may be very hard to get your hands on at a reasonable price.


8. Calling All Cars! | Developer: Incognito Entertainment | Released: 2007

The brainchild of David Jaffe, he of God of War (the original) and Twisted Metal fame, Calling All Cars! is a top-down, car combat game. Players battle against one another to capture as many escaped convicts as possible whilst stopping your opponents from wrestling them from you. 

The game is fun and frantic, albeit a little shallow and will likely feel very dated in 2021. Still, I bet there are still a fun few hours in multiplayer to be had. It’s also one of the earliest examples of people getting excited over “downloadable games” on PlayStation that I can remember. And it’s a David Jaffe game that not many will remember so you should play it for that reason alone.


7. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars | Developer: Psyonix | Released: 2008

Did you know that before Rocket League there was a car-based football game with the most ridiculous title ever? Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars is that game. The predecessor to the juggernaut that is Rocket League seems quaint in comparison now but, for those that fancy a history lesson, you shouldn’t miss picking this game up.

Although incredibly fun in offline multiplayer, it’s only really nostalgia or a desire to see where it all began that would likely take you back to SARPBC (I’m not writing the full title again!). Still, for that alone I felt it had to have a place on this list.

For more on this game, check out the excellent Rocket League documentary by NoClip.


6. House of the Dead 4 | Wow Entertainment | Released: 2012

Following an arcade release in 2005, House of the Dead 4 dragged itself onto consoles relatively late in the PS3’s life cycle and is a surprising console exclusive. 

A series that takes me back to either overcrowded shopping centres or sweaty Manchester rock clubs, it’s only in writing this list that I realised that a fourth House of the Dead game was released and that House of the Dead games actually have a story that continues between games. 

Now that I’ve annoyed all the House of the Dead fans here, I’ll also say that the game doesn’t deviate too much from the series’ tried and tested formula. It switches up the weaponry a little, but the basic on-rails zombie shooting gameplay seems as satisfying as ever. 

As a bonus, you can play the game with PlayStation Move if you like!


5. Motorstorm RC | Evolution Studios | Released: 2012

A radio-controlled offshoot of the cult racing series, Motorstorm RC takes all of the high-octane, arcade racing, fun of the core Motorstorm games and hits it with a shrink ray. For someone who grew up loving the Micro Machines games of the 90s, this was a wonderful throwback. 

Developed by Evolution Studios the, now defunct, British developer behind other games in the series (as well as the ill-fated Driveclub), Motorstorm RC was one of those games that felt way better than it had any right to be. It packed 16 tracks at launch, all based on the world of Motorstorm, and was even added to with additional DLC down the line.

Often forgotten, this pocket-sized racer is well worth taking a look at if you haven’t already.


4. Echochrome | Developer: Game Yarouze / Japan Studio | Released: 2008

Echochrome broke my brain when it was released on PlayStation 3 in 2008. A unique monochrome puzzle game with a penchant for MC Escher, the game tasks the player with guiding a mannequin through a series of minimalist spaces. 

The human-like model cannot be controlled directly, but will follow the paths the player lays out with a goal of reaching the next shadowy objective. The character’s path is altered by viewing the 3D space from a different perspective, rotating the space to clear the way.

I’m not sure I ever finished Echochrome. I’m not cut out for puzzle games like this. However, for me, it’s a true hidden gem and one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had with a puzzle game. 


3. Shatter | Developer: Shide Interactive | Released: 2009

To call Shatter merely a clone of Breakout is to be incredibly reductive. Arguably the best game on this list, Shatter takes the simple fun of brick-breaking gameplay and adds a whole new level to it.

Breaking blocks with a traditional paddle and ball, the player must collect all the shards of the bricks as well, either manually or by sucking them in. These bricks aren’t going to stay still though, so watch for incoming projectiles and smash them if you can. The more blocks smashed, the more shards collected. Collecting shards builds the Shard Storm meter — this gives you the power to shield from incoming projectiles and, naturally, use the Shard Storm power to smash through blocks without the use of the ball.

There’s a lot going on in this otherwise simple package, and simply describing it doesn’t do it justice. The gameplay is smooth and feels wonderful to play, and the additional mechanics and the game’s use of physics, remix the Arkanoid-like gameplay to make this a standout experience. Plus, the soundtrack is incredible. How there was never a Shatter sequel or a re-release for modern consoles is beyond me. 


2. The Last Guy | Developer: Japan Studio | Released: 2008

Describing The Last Guy sounds like incoherent babble. Seriously, I’ve written this sentence five times: Imagine Snake but instead of gobbling up pixels you’re a superhero (maybe?) who is desperately trying to lead an evacuation of cities that are being destroyed by kaiju-style monsters. Oh, and all the cities are real and are mapped using high-resolution images from Google Earth. And the giant kaiju are referred to as “zombies” for some reason.

It’s another example of the primitive PlayStation Network games that endeared so many players who were early adopters of PS3 and its online services. And, of course, Japan Studio developed it. 

Across 12 playable locations the titular Last Guy must rescue as many civilians as possible, guiding them to the escape zone before the time runs out. The more civilians saved, the better you do with scores being tallied on leaderboards for each level.

Please go and download this bonkers cult classic.


1. Trash Panic | Developer: Japan Studio | Released: 2009

Speaking of bonkers (and Japan Studio) the final game on this list is Trash Panic. A game not unlike Tetris, but with 3D modelled trash instead of nice tessellating blocks. Once again, this is the kind of eccentricity we were getting out of PlayStation in the early PS3 era and why so many of us mourned the loss of Japan Studio when it was shut down earlier this year.

Nobody — and I mean nobody — makes games like this any more. Never mind exclusively for one of the big three home consoles. I long for PlayStation’s internal studios to get back to being this brilliantly bizarre again.

Incredibly fun and challenging, Trash Panic has players battling to break down seemingly endless piles of trash as quickly as possible by placing it next to other lookalike trash before the whole bin overflows. Items start small, but gradually get bigger until you’re trying to figure out how to deal with buildings, landmasses and even meteors. Again, I must reiterate, this game is wild.

Whether you’re going to play this in single player or multiplayer, you just have to play it. God, I miss this early PS3 era. Life was simpler, even if it was overflowing with trash.

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So there you have it, ten must buy, must download, must play games that you can only get if you download them from the PlayStation 3** 

Do you have any favourite PlayStation Network exclusive games, perhaps you’ve a fond Trash Panic, Tokyo Jungle, or The Last Guy memory you want to share? Post it in the comments below!

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**Ok, at least one of these games is available via Steam and iOS. Two of them you can get on disc if you want to brave eBay, and one more is in arcades. Surely downloading them on PS3 before the service shuts down is the easiest thing to do though?

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Ant Barlow

Started with the PlayStation, now I'm here... with a PlayStation. Once skipped school to play the Metal Gear Solid demo repeatedly. I love stories big and small. Trophy hunter. Recent VR convert. Probably a hipster.