LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is puzzle platform game developed by Double Eleven Tarsier, Sony XDev and Europe Studios for the PlayStation Vita. I have always been a fan of the LittleBigPlanet series (developed by Media Molecule) but as this hasn't had the magic touch of Media Molecule on it I do wonder, Did Media Molecule leave their baby in good hands?
Despite this game not being developed by Media Molecule, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita still has that same charm throughout its campaign that I have known and loved. The story’s formula hasn’t changed that much. You (Sackboy) are tasked with defeating a bad guy (called The Puppeteer) in a world (called Carnivalia) and along the way you meet different people with interesting personalities. It is a shame that LittleBigPlanet PS Vita hasn’t tried to be ambitions with changing the formula of the story. Saying this, the story still retains its charm and the levels are expertly thought-out. The campaign slowly introduces you to certain PS Vita features (like the rear touch screen) that are used to proceed on in the level but they do not over use the PS Vita’s features. You never feel like LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is just glorified tech demo for the PS Vita. Overall there are five main, themed, levels each containing around six levels plus side games. There is also an Arcade level which just has some interesting mini games
Like I mentioned before, through out the game you use touch screen controls via the OLED screen and rear touch pad work. It is extremely intuitive to use and the touch screen controls are very responsive. You use them to turn gears, push out platform, operate springs and so on. The overall gameplay is very similar to previous LittleBigPlanet games. Sackboy floaty controls are back and the levels can be played by multiple people at the same time (across different PS Vita’s). You collect bubbles/prizes and use stickers to unlock more secrets. Overall the gameplay hasn’t changed a bit and that doesn’t really matter. LittleBigPlanet games have always been easy to pick up and play and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is no exception. You can hand this game to anyone and within 10 minutes they will have a grasp of the game (also there is a detailed tutorial for anyone who really doesn’t understand how to play).
Graphically this game isn’t as beautiful as LittleBigPlanet 2 but it is darn close. It is a good looking game for the PS Vita. The colours are rich and the lighting effects are fantastic. Each world has its own vibe which keeps things visually interesting. Sound has always been a big part of LittleBigPlanet and this is where LittleBigPlanet PS Vita lets itself down. The tracks are not a rememberable as The Go! Team's Get It Together from LBP or Passion Pit’s Sleepyhead and Ladytron’s Ghosts from LBP 2 but they are still interesting to listen to.
Again your moon is back. This is where you can create anything you want. LittleBigPlanet let you create levels, LittleBigPlanet 2 let you create games, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita lets you do pretty much anything. A new tool called the memorize lets you essentially save your progress on a user generated level. This means your level doesn’t have to be “go from A to B”. Your user generated level can be a very in depth game as some of the community has done so already (I will go onto this in a moment). Having the tools is one thing but being able to use them is another. Luckily LittleBigPlanet PS Vita has an extensive tutorial to help you and the touch screen controls means you can now drag objects to a location and also allow you to resize it with your fingertips. These touch screen controls are a perfect fit for LittleBigPlanet and has made creating level far more to achieve compared to its console counterparts. Your moon is fully customisable and has 30 spaces for levels.
It's online features is where this game really shines. As I mentioned before you can create your own levels. You can then publish these levels online for the community to play. The community really makes this game have an infinite amount of replay value. LittleBigPlanet is still the king when it comes to user generated content and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita really enforces this title. The user generated content is easily accessible. You can search for a specific level, look at the “cool level” list or look at what the developers have picked out as great in “staff picks”. “Dive in” chooses a random level with random people for those who just cannot decide what level to play. Playing with others is fun. I am usually a loner when it comes to online video games but the community is very friendly and it just adds to the experience. The fact you can now follow selected individuals around different levels is an interesting thing to include. You feel a bit like a stalker but it works very well when you are playing with friends. On a negative side, I have noticed some issues with including other players. It is rare but on two occasions the frame rate did drop and, because of this, I died in a level but it soon fixed itself.
Overall I would say this is the best LittleBigPlanet game. LittleBigPlanet is notorious for upping the ante with each game and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is no exception. The inclusion of the new tools (especially the memoriser) but it is really the natural fit of the touch screen controls that really make this the best LittleBigPlanet game. LittleBigPlanet games are not for everyone and some find the floaty controls annoying but for me that just adds to the charm of the game and I would say it is a must have for any Vita owner (even more so for pervious LittleBigPlanet owners as costumes/purchases can be transferred over)
I asked, at the beginning, the question “Did Media Molecule leave their baby in good hands”. The answer is they sure did. Well done Double Eleven Tarsier, Sony XDev and Europe Studios.