2011 Holiday Buyers Guide: PlayStation Network

Did you ravenously unwrap a gift this holiday season, only to discover a redeemable PSN card within? Don't despair -- that card can actually be turned into video games!

We've got a bunch of suggestions on which 2011 video games you should transmogrify your e-money into after the jump. Whether you're using a PS3 or PSP, we've got you covered.


PlayStation 3

Explodemon - $9.99

It's similar to Splosion Man in more ways than one, except you can play this one on the PS3, which is just perfect for gamers who own that and only that. It's also got a retro-Japanese vibe that's really, really going to work for you.

Plants vs. Zombies - $14.99

Would you just buy it already? It's one of the most accessible tower defense titles on the market, it's got oodles of charm, and like a billion people have already bought it. You don't want to be left behind, do you?

Stacking - $14.99

Double Fine Studios' lineage as a creator of clever games wasn't brought to a screeching halt by this charming puzzler. Just imagine the ability-borrowing ... abilities of Kirby, only with a delightful Matryoshka Doll finish.

Infamous 2: Festival of Blood - $9.99

It's got just as much open-world action as its subtitle-less counterpart, but costs a square $10. Sure, the campaign's not as long, but it's got vampires and those are still awfully hot right now.

Back to the Future: The Game - $19.99

It's your cousin! Your cousin, Joystiq? You know that solid, five-part adventure game based in the Back to the Future universe you've been looking for? Well, listen to this.

PixelJunk Shooter 2 - $9.99

The original Shooter was fairly well received, but the sheer number of new gameplay elements in this sequel makes its predecessor seem positively anemic. It's got puzzles, and co-op game modes and -- as its title suggests -- so much shooting.

Hard Corps: Uprising - $14.99

It's a prequel to Contra: Hard Corps and, as its franchise's lineage would imply, it's a pretty challenging side-scrolling shooter. Still, if you're a sucker for a good scattershot, Uprising's for you.

Slam Bolt Scrappers - $9.99

There's so much going on in this game: You have to stack Tetris-like bricks together to form squares, which then turn into weapons which shoot at your opponent's bricks -- and you can just fight with your opponent, impeding their stacking. It's as fun as it is overwhelming.

Might and Magic Clash of Heroes HD - $14.99

Capybara managed to add a heaping, eternally addictive helping of RPG customization mechanics to this puzzle title. It devoured our life wholesale on the DS, and with a new HD sheen, it's certain to do the same to you on the PSN.

Outland - $9.99

It's just your basic action-platformer. There's running, jumping, dashing, sword-attacking, and constantly shifting your attunement between dark and light so that you can injure and avoid being injured by enemies and projectiles of the opposing color. So simple, so straightforward.

Beyond Good & Evil HD - $9.99

If you haven't played the original, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. It's got all the polish and charm of a Zelda title, with characters that are so endearing that you'll join us in anguish as its sequel is dreadfully ignored.

Limbo - $14.99

If most of your purchasing decisions are based on the number of explosions included in a game, you might want to pass on Limbo. It's a quiet, dark little platformer that has some of the cleverest puzzles of any game released this year.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends - $9.99

It's just as preposterous as the last game in the series, only with refined fighting mechanics and a Risk-like mode -- which, sadly, doesn't support online multiplayer. It's one of few blemishes in an otherwise delightful gore-fest.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition - $14.99

Not only does it have online multiplayer, it's kind-of made that feature the whole draw. If you played the original 3rd Strike, you'll want to pick it up. We don't know if you heard, but this one has online multiplayer.

From Dust - $14.99

Eric Chahi made Heart of Darkness and Out of This World, so you should probably give him money for those reasons alone. Apart from that, From Dust's a neat, terraforming God game that is so interesting, it would be criminal to miss out on it.

Rochard - $9.99

If you haven't gotten your fill from this year's bumper crop of puzzle-platformers, Rochard won't fail to satisfy. It's got neat gravity distortion mechanics, complex physics-based puzzles and a gruff (but lovable!) miner protagonist.

Dungeon Defenders - $14.99

Tower defense meets RPG progression in this adaptation of an iOS game. Don't let the simple cartoon graphics deceive you -- Dungeon Defenders is one of the most rewarding co-op experiences of the entire year.

PixelJunk Sidescroller - $9.99

Another artsy, arcadey entry from Q-Games, and the spiritual successor to the Shooter series. Only, instead of letting you explore giant, subterranean maps, this one puts you on an old-school sidescrolling shooter path -- hence the name, we suppose.

Classics - $5.99 to $9.99

There's the new PS2 arrivals like God Hand, Odin Sphere and Stuntman: Ignition, not to mention the long overdue, PSP-compatible PSOne Classics, such as Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Tekken, Parasite Eve, Chrono Cross and Final Fantasy VI. Get them all.


PlayStation Portable

Auditorium - $9.99

It's a neat little audio-centric puzzle game about moving bits of sound around so they collide with circular goals, producing lovely symphonies with each of the player's successes. We're getting all misty just thinking about it.

Hoard - $9.99

Not only does it feature a number of dragons, it places players in the clawed shoes of a dragon. As such, you'll be required to hoard (get it?) gold, kidnap princesses and generally be disagreeable.

Gods Eater Burst - $39.99

It's a game about killing gigantic monsters using even more gigantic weapons. Two friends can join in the melee using ad-hoc wireless connections, bringing even more gigantism into the equation.

More Downloadable PSP Games

Did you know that almost all retail PSP titles are also available to download on PSN? We're assuming you knew that, because hey, you seem like a pretty sharp person. Why not look over our PSP suggestion list, and pick one that looks right for you?

Minis - Around $3.99

They're good, they're cheap, and most of them are compatible with the PS3! We suggest Angry Birds, Denki Blocks, The Impossible Game, Mighty Flip Champs DX, Hysteria Project 2 and Where Is My Heart, for starters.

PSOne Classics - $5.99 to $9.99

The PSOne Classics we listed above (as well as, you know, all the rest of them) are all compatible on the PSP. Just imagine: You could have a thing that fits in your pocket which also houses all the Square Enix games. What a beautiful, totally realizable dream.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.