3 of the best portable game consoles you can buy right now
Recently there has been a welcome revival of portable gaming systems. While phones and tablets do a good job of playing great portable games, dedicated devices can offer unique features, exclusive games, or extra power to do things your phone can’t.
The Nintendo Switch has been the best and cheapest portable gaming system for years and continues to be CNET’s #1 choice. But new handheld consoles from Valve and Analogue are bridging the gap between PC games and retro game cartridges, respectively.
Here’s a look at three of CNET’s 2022 picks for handheld gaming consoles.
Best Handheld Console
nintendo switch, from $200
The Nintendo Switch is now 5 years old, but Nintendo has indicated that no real successor is coming at the moment. A Pro model has been rumored for a while, but in the meantime the existing Switch remains extremely powerful, packed with great games, and fairly affordable considering its handheld/TV-connected dual function.
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But which one to choose? The $350 Switch with an OLED screen is our recommended pick. The more vibrant and larger display looks amazing, the rear stand is better suited for tabletop gaming, and both upgrades are well worth the extra $50 over the original Switch (or V2 version) price.
At $300, the original Switch works similarly and is still okay.
The smaller, handheld-only Switch Lite, at $200, is a solid choice for those who just want a basic portable gaming system but don’t have a way to connect to a TV and its controllers don’t detach.
valve steam deck, from $400
Valve’s large and powerful Steam Deck is a marvel: it’s surprisingly good at playing a variety of PC games, and it’s the portable dream machine for any hardcore Steam fan or anyone with a large library of PC games. The Steam Deck can get pricey for the larger storage tiers, but for what it’s capable of, it’s not a bad deal. Pre-order wait times are still being pushed back a few months, but more people seem to be getting theirs. The ability to play PC games or stream cloud-based games and connect to a monitor, keyboard, or other accessory puts the Steam Deck in a class of its own.
Best for old games
The Analogue Pocket looks like a completely redesigned Game Boy, and in a way it is. Analogue’s beautiful handheld can play original Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance cartridges perfectly, and can even play Sega Game Gear games with an adapter (Atari Lynx, Neo Geo Pocket and Turbografx-16 adapters will be available shortly). It has a high-resolution color screen and USB-C charging, and there’s a dock, sold separately, for TV playback. But the Pocket doesn’t play emulations or ROMs, and there’s no game store to buy games. It’s purely a system for enjoying real physical cartridges in amazing quality, although there is a growing library of Pocket-compatible software that can be sideloaded onto a MicroSD.
Summer Games Fest 2022: The biggest games announced and our top picks
street fighter 6
The classic arcade fighting game returns.
Resident Evil 4
Remakes are all the rage and the Resident Evil series works its way through its catalogue. They have finally reached one of their most popular and top rated games. Does it live up to the original?
Planet of Lana
You and your pet are on a mission to rescue your sister who is kidnapped by an invading robot army. Puzzle and stealth elements mixed with beautiful design make for an immersive gameplay.
This anticipated sequel will be available as a free-to-play this October. Grab your friends, form a team and join the battle.
The Last of Us Part 1
A remake of the first Last of Us game with significantly improved graphics. You know, if you haven’t played the PlayStation 3 or PS4 versions yet.
Goat Simulator 3
You are a goat. They can do very goat and non-goat things. Seriously if it’s like the first game it won’t be baaaad.
The Callisto Protocol
If you are a fan of space horror games then this Summer Games Fest is for you. Several titles dedicated to the genre have been announced, led by The Callisto Protocol.
Ereban: Shadow Legacy
A stealth game where players cross a dystopian world to learn about their past and change the future.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
A remake of the 2009 game of the same name. The trailer includes new gameplay footage.
A unique 2D narrative role-playing game set in 16th-century Bavaria. A unique visual style makes this game even more fascinating.
cult of the lambs
Have you played Animal Crossing and thought, “This is great, but it would be more fun if I could be really evil?” Then Cult of the Lambs is for you. Build and win followers to become the top cult.
From a studio made up of ex-Blizzard employees, a game that looks like Diablo and plays like StarCraft comes as no surprise.
Our top 10 most anticipated games:
10. Time flies
You are a fly with a very short lifespan. What are you going to do with it?
From the gameplay designers at Limbo and Inside, Cocoon calls itself a world-spanning puzzle game. Explore worlds within worlds to solve a cosmic mystery.
8. Final Fantasy XVI
The popular Japanese role-playing game returns with a new adventure, and this time you can become a kaiju. Summon!
7. Quiet farm
You are a cow trying to save your farm from alien invasion. You might discover something about yourself in the process. Or maybe you just smash things.
Bethesda’s long-awaited space game has received an expanded trailer showcasing gameplay, character creation, base building, ship building, and space combat.
You are a cat exploring a futuristic cyberpunk city. can you find your way home
4. System shock
In this remake of the 1994 classic, you are a hacker trying to survive a rogue AI on a space station. Can you find a way to mine it?
3. A plague story: Requiem
oh rats Like hundreds of them. A Plague Tale: Requiem is looking fantastic and will be out later this year.
2. Gotham Knight
With the Suicide Squad game being delayed until next year, Gotham Knights is taking center stage. How fans will react to a Batman game without Batman has yet to be determined.
1. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
A Souls game meets the original God of War. The Old Gods face their toughest challenge, you. Use a combination of gunpowder and magic to take back the mortal world.
Which games are you looking forward to the most? Post yours in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter at @The_Dean.