LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Review for PS Vita

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Review for PS Vita

A Creative Nugget In The Palm Of Your Hand

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.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Screenshot

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.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Screenshot

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.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Screenshot

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.

My one control complaint is that, for me, the gyroscopic controls don’t seem to work very well. See, you control the direction of Sackboy’s head by tilting the Vita. Unfortunately, my Sackboy spent most of his time looking down at the ground like a Gloomy Gus on a particularly bad day. And don’t get me started on the gyroscope-based minigames.

Still, you won’t use the gyroscope very often, and the rest of the controls feel pretty much perfect.

And this is a brilliantly beautiful game. Sure, it’s not as polished as its PS3 predecessors, but this is still one of the best looking games I’ve seen on the Vita so far.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Screenshot

And the sound design? Fantastic. All of the sound effects you remember are here, from the familiar sound of collecting prize bubbles to the zany music selection. And seriously, is there anyone better suited to LBP’s offbeat narration than Stephen Fry? Don’t worry, he’s back in LittleBigPlanet Vita.

The bottom line is that LittleBigPlanet is exactly the type of game that the Vita needs right now. It’s equally playable in short bursts or marathon sessions, it uses the Vita’s unique controls in ways that feel intuitive, and its creative tools and level sharing provide the potential for almost unlimited replayability. Seriously, if you have a Vita, you need to get LittleBigPlanet PS Vita as soon as possible. There’s a world of creativity waiting for you, and you get to reign godlike over it with creative power in your fingertips. Pretty sweet, huh?

Not perfect, but this is still one of the best looking games on the Vita right now. 4.0 Control
Touch controls feel great. The gyroscope, not so much. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Familiar sounds and Steven Fry. Put on your headphones, and it’s pretty much impossible to hold back a smile. 4.8 Play Value
Like any LittleBigPlanet game, it’s the player-made content and creative tools that drive the replayability through the roof. 4.7 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Classic LittleBigPlanet Fun – The creative Platforming fun of the LittleBigPlanet franchise comes to the PlayStation Vita handheld gaming system.
  • Touch, Create, Share – Introducing new ways to play, including front and rear touch control and much more.
  • The More Sackboys, the Better – Multiplayer fun with pass ‘n’ play, multi-touch, and online play modes.
  • Endlessly Free Games Available online – Access literally thousands of games online, created by fans (like you), and enjoy new gaming experiences every day and for years to come.
  • Advanced Tools – Create with a blend of new touch tools and all the familiar pop-it’ tools and costumes from LBP2 (PS3) to develop simple or complex games for everyone to enjoy.

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