Little Deviants Review

By Darryl Kaye on March 3, 2012

Many of the PlayStation Vita's launch titles have been designed to show off some of the system's new capabilities. but this has often been done in superfluous ways. You're either lumbered with touch-screen mechanics where they weren't necessary, or the use of the gyroscope when it adds nothing. Enter Little Deviants, a game that's specifically designed to use these new capabilities, with almost no traditional means of control. It's a good idea in theory - what better to demonstrate a new system than a game dedicated to the task? It's just an idea that isn't very well executed in this sense, as Little Deviants showcases some negatives with the new controls far too often.

Since Little Deviants is nothing more than a collection of smaller games, the story isn't of any great consequence. In short, there are some evil robots who shoot down your space ship and you then need to try and collect all the deviants together, while repairing your ship, in order to defeat the evil and return home to safety.

While start off with only one "world" available, Grazy Meadows, many more become available once you progress through the game and you'll end up with six in total.

The key to progression is obtaining bronze spaceships in each of the levels, which is basically the game's way of saying you've attained a good enough score. You can also obtain silver and gold spaceships, but these just unlock extra goodies, such as artwork.

When it comes to the gameplay, Little Deviants attempts to show off each different aspect of the PlayStation Vita. This incorporates the front and rear touch panels, the gyroscopic features and even the built-in microphone. This is done through a mixture of traditional and more quirky game types, but the implementation doesn't feel that solid.

Rolling Pastures is perhaps the most recognisable of the game modes. In this, you're tasked with pushing a Deviant around a level by using the rear touch panel to raise the ground. This sets the tone for much of the experience, as it's a pretty neat concept, but after getting some proper time with it, you quickly realise that it's not all that fun, or easy to control.

The lack of decent controls becomes more apparent when the game types become more unconventional. For example, Hot Air Hero, where you have to use the gyroscopic controls to steer a hot air balloon, while at the same time having to poke the front touch screen in order to defeat flocking birds and/or repair the balloon and the rear touch panel (in a stroking fashion) to keep the balloon afloat. It all just turns into a bit of a mess.There are other game types that involve you to create a "pinch" sensation, by pressing on the front and rear touch screens at the same time. However, this again causes complications because they aren't the same size.

It feels as though the developers really wanted to showcase what the system could do, but had to force the issue somewhat as a result. Well, that would seem like the case if the more simple games didn't also suffer from poor controls. Games where it just relies on the gyroscopic controls can also be rather troublesome due to the overbearing sensitivity.

Despite there being thirty games in total, very few of them turn out to be very fun, and it's a real shame. With such a cute scenario, more could have been done to make sure the gameplay matched up with what they were trying to achieve. The singing game is perhaps the worst offender here - it's just not fun.

You can get through all of the different mini-games in a few hours, but attaining the silver and gold awards will take much more time and practice. There are also hidden "Mogs" on each of the levels, which give a little extra incentive to go back and play the various games.

There is also a pretty cool statistics menu available, where you can see tons of different information. You've got the basic high scores from the different games, but you can also see how many different games you've played, how many bots you've destroyed and how far you've rolled.

Final Thoughts

Little Deviants is a game that had good intentions behind its development, but fails to deliver a quality experience. It attempts to use almost all of the new technical capabilities of the PlayStation Vita through an array of mini-games, but the execution just isn't very good. Only a handful of the vast selection of games are any good and that's just not good enough.

The concept for some of the games is quite cool.
Statistics screen is nice.
The deviants are rather cute.
Hardly any of the games are fun.
The singing game is abysmal.
Doesn't demonstrate the Vita's capabilities very well.
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