LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Gameplay
LittleBigPlanet PSVita has Nintendo’s trick of introducing new game mechanics in one level and exploring them in others, and later on in the game you’ll find some surprisingly tricky examples. In fact, our only serious complaint about the game is that – at times – the need to combine analogue pad, face buttons and touch controls can leave your fingers tied in knots, and to complete some sections we had to adopt some quite unusual hand positions.
Needless to say, it all gets a bit surreal. The storyline, pitting Sackboy against a villainous puppeteer, is rudimentary, but it’s used as an excuse to hurl together a selection of bizarre characters and settings, ranging from a nutty circus ringmaster to a morose Northern clown. It’s all very silly, but in the most wonderful way.
Meanwhile, unlockable side levels reveal just how versatile the engine is, with sub-games covering everything from whack-a-mole to Tetris to a vintage eighties driving game, many working with the Vita held in a vertical position. And if you want more, you’ve got more, with a whole Arcade sub-section devoted to things like a clone of the BBC classic Thrust or an oddball touch-based puzzle game.
Of course, the appeal of LittleBigPlanet has always extended far beyond the pre-made stuff. Create mode returns, and with touch it’s easier than ever. Now objects can literally be dragged across the screen, resized or rotated with standard two-finger gestures and tapped into place, while the controls for placing objects on specific planes or increasing and decreasing their depth are more intuitive than on the PS3. You can even carve out your own shapes from materials just by drawing on the screen.
What's more the PlayStation Vita’s screen provides ample room to design and manufacturer your own levels, and the biggest limitation will be having enough objects and materials to work with. This is where Create mode and Play mode have their own feedback loop. You can burn through LittleBigPlanet’s built-in levels within a day, but are you going to collect everything on your first pass? Not a chance.
Not all of us are born creators, and some of us will still struggle even with this forgiving toolset. However, early signs suggest that LittleBigPlanet PS Vita will be just as fertile a ground for talent as LittleBigPlanet 2. Before launch the Community section is full of test levels and oddball experiments, but we’re already seeing some sophisticated levels, including lengthy platform extravaganzas as good as anything in the main game, and a fiendishly clever puzzle epic with shades of Portal.
LittleBigPlanet has always been a game you can have a craze on, leave for a few weeks, then come back to see what new stuff has emerged while you’ve gone. It has a lifespan that can extend into years. We’ll have to see whether LittleBigPlanet PS Vita can repeat that trick, but the tools are certainly here for the community to create some amazing stuff. We just can’t wait to see what they come up with.
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Verdict
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita isn’t just a decent Vita version, but the best LittleBigPlanet yet. It’s an excellent 2D platformer with ingenious levels and too many smart ideas to mention, and it’s one that has been revolutionised by the use of touch and tilt controls. More than that, it shows that the create, play, share stuff that worked on the Sony PS3 can be just as effective on a handheld – if not more so. It’s time to quit moaning about Vita’s lack of quality games: LittleBigPlanet is a corker.