Summer is a time when families set out on long trips. But either on the road or on the move at airports, there's plenty of dead time to fill. Be thankful there's a new batch of engaging hand-held games for the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS to keep gamers busy. Here are the new titles you should be on the lookout for:
'RHYTHM THIEF & THE EMPEROR'S TREASURE'
Although rhythm games have fallen out of favor, developers still find ways to reinvigorate the genre. In this case, Sega takes musical gameplay and melds it to a point-and-click adventure similar to "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney." The result is an engrossing release that follows a master thief named Raphael who has to uncover the mystery behind his father's disappearance and a strange symbol.
Set in Paris, "Rhythm Thief" has a great sense of place as Raphael follows the clues across the City of Lights. He evades police and fights bad guys through simple rhythm mini-games. Some of them can be difficult, but it's the desire to see what happens next to Raphael that will keep players persevering. (Nintendo 3DS, $29.99)
'HEROES OF RUIN'
At its heart, this action-RPG is a "Diablo" clone. Players pick one of four distinct characters, and they'll have to delve through dungeons to reawaken a mighty lord named Ataraxis, who has been put under a sleeping spell.
The journey toward that goal is divided into simple quests that usually require the heroes to kill a monster or collect special items. That's par for the course, but the real reason to play "Heroes of Ruin" is to slay monsters and find that one ber-item. Along with that, there's that constant urge to level-up a character and watch him get more powerful with time. With a lengthy quest, this game will keep most players busy for weeks. (Nintendo 3DS, $39.99)
'RESISTANCE: BURNING SKIES'
First-person shooters have been hard to deliver on handhelds. But with the PS Vita, gamers finally get a legit FPS experience on the small screen.
Players take on the role of Tom Riley, a New York firefighter who helps other soldiers hold off a Chimeran Invasion. "Burning Skies" captures the essence of the "Resistance" series with its weapons and set-piece battles. The one misstep is the reliance on touch-screen controls, which can get awkward and inconvenient, especially in a tense firefight. Still, it's comforting and a blast to play a full-fledged FPS on the road. (PS Vita, $35.99)
This little-known gem will be a huge surprise for those who haven't followed its development. Sony's Japan Studio puts a clever twist on the adventure game by letting players take on the role of Kat, a mysterious girl who can control gravity. She can fly and walk on walls or the ceiling. She'll need these powers to fight monsters called Nevi and to protect her town.
The game is gorgeous, and the gameplay is inventive. It's the combat that gets tricky, as Kat has to find weak points that are increasingly harder to hit, but the whimsical world and story is so intriguing that it will be hard to put this game down. (PS Vita, $35.99)