It seems like a long time time since its announcement at E3 2011, but LittleBigPlanet has finally arrived on the PlayStation Vita and it's looking better than ever. Its transition from console to handheld is almost seamless although that doesn't necessarily mean it's perfect.
LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita explores a new world aptly named "Carnivalia" and unfortunately it has been overrun by fierce little creatures known as the "Hollows", joyless sack boys who are controlled by the evil "Puppeteer". Just like the other LittleBigPlanet titles, there are quite a few different places to visit within the world, such as The Land of Odd by Marianne Noisette or even the "tutorial" world La Marionetta which was created by Colonel Flounder. Each one has tried to deal with the growing problems that the Puppeteer and his minions have created, but to no avail, which is where our beloved Sackboy comes in.
With LBP we've seen this type of story a bunch of times before, but the different characters definitely give each game a nice sense of originality. Each character has a completely different style so it keeps everything open. Overall the story is just as adorable as ever, but as with the previous titles, it's not all that memorable.
With LittleBigPlanet, physics and momentum mean everything and with the Vita's touch pad capabilities, things have gotten even more interesting. There are levels which require you to move things in the environment by tilting and turning the Vita then there are others which require a lot of pulling and dragging objects across the screen using the touch screen. The touch controls, although they're fine for the slower paced levels, tend to not work so well when your moving fast paced which occurs in some boss battle sequences. The Vita's back touch screen was implemented pretty well, enabling the developers to bump the difficulty up a bit more.
Overall there's more that could be done with the Vita touchpad, but LBP's implementation is a good foundation.
Quite a few gadgets are introduced in this game which made the game seem like it was filled with a lot of tutorial sequences rather than just getting on and playing the title. Of the gadgets, one acts like a gun, allowing you to blast things, another allows you to pick up bombs, etc. and finally there's the grappling gun.
For those of you who love creating levels, this game is a real treat. It's so much easier with the touch screen to move things around and adjust your level to make it exactly what you want it to be. The PlayStation controller tended to be a bit restrictive, but the Vita's interface is so fluid. It'd be interesting if in future titles, the game could be cross-played with the PS3 and you could use the PS Vita Touch Screen to setup levels on your PS3 console. It'll also be interesting once the game's had more players to see what everyone comes up with.
Mini-games are also a huge thing this time around. If you're someone who travels a lot to work, having LittleBigPlanet on the Vita offers so much game time that you're sure to never get bored. Although, it's worth mentioning that this time around, having the Network Pass for the Vita is crucial which may be a bit of a nuisance to people coming from the PS3 (where the online play is free) to the PS Vita (where it isn't).
Presentation wise, LittleBigPlanet on the PS Vita is impressive. Comparing it to the other handhelds on the market, this game definitely shows that the PS Vita is top notch as far as quality goes. The level designs are fun and interesting and look just as good as if you were to play it on your HD screen at home. The music isn't terribly memorable, but it is catchy while you're playing and it's nice how different the themes are from each other. Something that is rather disappointing is the customization. There's just not enough this time around. It might just be because it's a handheld, but there weren't enough outfits to dress your adorable sackboy in.
LittleBigPlanet on the PS Vita is a great representation of both the franchise and the handheld system. It offers fun gameplay with an adorable story to match. It has very few low notes, which is great, but the fact that it requires a lot of online play is a bit of a nuisance, as it's not free on the PlayStation Vita. The level creator is really fantastic and the touch screen is a welcome addition. It's going to be hard to go back to the console version of LittleBigPlanet after this one.
|» Lots of creative content and adorable new characters.|
|» Hours worth of game time to enjoy.|
|» Graphics are nearly identical to the console version.|
|» The reliance on having a network pass in order to play with others.|
|» Not enough collectible content (i.e. the costumes and such).|
|» Vita-specific controls could have been a bit more polished.|
|9||GamingUnion.net Editor's Choice Award|