Best games for the handheld gamer this Christmas

Handheld gamers, rejoice! Here's our pick of the best games you will want in your Christmas stocking

With kit like the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS XL delivering the full games console experience on the go, there's no excuse for letting your gaming skills lapse just because you're not glued to the big screen. Here's our pick of the best portable console games you should ask Santa for – and don't forget to check out our best mobile gaming gadgets for Christmas 2012, too.

Rayman Origins

£18 (PS Vita), £15 (Nintendo 3DS) GAME

The limbless hero is back and more portable than ever. Available on the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS, Rayman Origins is a mighty fine platformer that plays as well as it looks. If you like your gaming old-school, look no further.

Mortal Kombat

£16 (PS Vita) Amazon UK

Its ridiculously over-the-top gore means that Mortal Kombat definitely isn't for the younger gamer – but there's plenty for the more mature among us to enjoy, including classic 2D beat-em-up action, ludicrously powerful X-Ray moves, and a hidden Augmented Reality mode that lets your fighters do battle in your own surroundings.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

£30 (PS Vita) Zavvi

Nintendo has Smash Bros, now Sony has its own take on the video game all-star beat-'em-up genre. The ingredients are the same: pick from one famous Sony character from 20 including Bioshock's Big Daddy and LittleBigPlanet's SackBoy, and then proceed to pummel the living daylights out of your opponent. What's not to like?

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

£30 (PS Vita) GAME

Once a PS3 exclusive, the addictive LittleBigPlanet has found a home on the PlayStation Vita. Sackboy is once again the star of the show and it's up to you to create, play or share adventures. It's a sandbox of beautiful visuals and 2D platform action.

Assassin's Creed III Liberation

£35, PS Vita, Amazon UK

If Assassin's Creed III hasn't sated your appetite for leaping around historically-significant locations, this mobile-only entry in the franchise takes place in pre-Revolutionary New Orleans. It also features the series' first female protagonist, Aveline (fun fact: her name means "hazelnut"). Gameplay-wise, you get the same sneaky backstabby gameplay of its big brother, with a couple of Vita-specific additions to take advantage of the console's touchscreen and other features. Worth a look if you want to immerse yourself further in the 18th-century world of Assassin's Creed III.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

£30, Nintendo 3DS, GAME

Professor Layton is back, with yet more mysteries to unravel. Only this time, the latest outing gives you a new puzzle a day for a year, meaning 365 puzzles to wrack your brains. If you enjoy a cerebral workout married to an engaging storyline and cartoon visuals, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is for you.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

£33, Nintendo 3DS, GAME

It's lucky video game characters don't age in real time because Mario would find his arthritis inhibits jumping nine feet in the area onto enemy Koopa Troopers. Fortunately, that's not the case, freeing Nintendo's favourite plumber up to explore the sticker-mad town of Decalburg, solving puzzles and engaging in turn-based battles on the way. Not your usual Mario recipe, then, but Paper Mario: Sticker Star's cutesy papercraft visuals and RPG-lite approach make for an entertaining combo.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

£25, Nintendo 3DS,

Gone are the days of either being a FIFA or Pro Evolution man – now it makes more sense to indulge in the strengths of both in the name of the beautiful game. This is especially true when the 3DS isn't so spoiled for choice when it comes to football games. Knowing Konami's most recent outing was rather good, we have high hopes the 3DS 2013 edition will kick your Christmas holiday nicely.

Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed

£25, PS Vita,

While we pray to the video game gods for a re-release of Sonic R (and Sonic Fighters, while we're at it), sticking the spikey blue hedgehog and friends in racing cars will have to do. More Mario Kart than Forza, expect fast-paced racing and arcade visuals. Just the ticket after gorging yourself on mince pies and turkey.

Pokemon Black/White Version 2

£28, Nintendo DS, GAME

Pokemon takes us back to the days of playing against and trading with friends using the old Gameboy and a link cable. Ah, those were the days. Even all these years later, Version 2 of both Pokemon Black and White seem mighty tempting, knowing just how addictive training your team of cutesy warriors can be.

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