|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Double Eleven, Tarsier Studios|
|Release: September 25, 2012|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 544p||Mild Cartoon Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
LittleBigPlanet has landed on the PlayStation Vita. That means you should just go buy it.
But if for some reason you aren't entirely convinced yet, let me explain what makes this particular entry in the cutest of franchises so great.
First of all, the LittleBigPlanet formula is so perfectly suited to the handheld format that picking up this game for the Vita should be a no-brainer. The story mode is split up into a series of levels that can be tackled on a bus, on a plane, in a coffee shop, or during your free period in school.
Yes, this is a brand spankin' new story that stars your loveable, dress-up-able Sackboy. And if you've fallen in love with the Sackboy you've created in LPB 1 and/or 2, we've been promised that you'll be able to import any costumes you've purchased in any other LBP game. Even LBP Karting will make use of this, so all you crazy cats who are getting the Kevin Butler costume for preordering LBP Karting will be able to use that costume in LBP Vita. Of course, at the time of this review, that functionality hadn't been implemented yet, and I was unable to take my favorite little Mexican Penguin Sackboy from LBP 1 and 2 through LBP Vita's crazy stages.
Oh yeah, "crazy" is a great word to describe these stages. You'll be running, jumping, avoiding obstacles, and collecting prize bubbles through a carnival world, a haunted mansion world, and a strange place called the Land of Odd.
But the traditional platforming levels aren't the only thing to do here. Like LBP 2, minigames are unlocked by collecting keys in the story levels. And these minigames are actually pretty awesome, utilizing the Vita's control gimmicks in interesting ways. For example, there's a whac-a-mole-style game that has you tap the screen whenever a Sackboy pops up. There's also a variation on Tetris that has you stack falling shapes as high as you can before the whole thing takes a tumble.
Additionally, there is a whole new world called the Arcade, where you can play even more minigames. In fact, the minigames in the arcade actually feel like entire standalone games, partly because they're so substantial, and partially because they each is its own major departure from the LBP aesthetic. For example (and I've already stated this in my hands-on preview from E3), there's one minigame called Tapling, which is reminiscent of the quaint little iOS title Contre Jour.
Of course, the real meat and potatoes of any LittleBigPlanet title is the creative mode. That's fully intact here, with enough creative options that you'll be completely overwhelmed with the possibilities. And yes, you'll most likely be completely overwhelmed with the millions of levels that end up being created and posted online. (Look for my own whacky creation, "Prison of Love," when you pick up the game for yourself.)
However, that brings me to one of my few complaints with LBP Vita. Remember how you could play any levels people had made for LBP 1 in LBP 2? Well, LBP Vita has its own pool of player-made levels. You won't be playing LBP 2 levels in LBP Vita, and you won't be playing LBP Vita levels in LBP 2. Which is a crying shame, because having all the tools to build a level on the go, then being able to go home and play that level in LBP 2 on your PS3 would be awesome. That also means that while I was reviewing the game, I had very few player-made levels to try out. There were a few made by my fellow game journalists, though, and some of those were pretty interesting. Still, that's nothing compared to the deluge that will most likely smack down once the community has had time to adjust to the creative tools.
The Vita's touchscreen makes the creative process easier than ever. You'll be able to use your Popit menu via touchscreen, and even paint objects into existence with a swipe of the finger. This is so incredibly convenient that you won't want to go back to the PS3's creative modes once you get to play around with the incredibly streamlined Vita controls.
In fact, the controls all around feel great. Sure, the platforming isn't as precise as a game like Super Meat Boy or New Super Mario Bros., but precision platforming was never really Sackboy's game. The Vita's touch controls are über-responsive, and there are even some cleaver uses of the back touch panel, like pushing objects from the background into the foreground.