The PlayStation Vita has had, well, a bit of a rocky start. It’s going to take more than one game to make a case convincing people to invest in the system, but LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is a good start. The jump from console to portable is never easy, but every once in a while it turns out for the best. Let’s just say that this is one of those times.
I’ve never been a huge fan of LittleBigPlanet. The creation tools and customization have always made for an interesting experience, but the floaty controls and slippery platforming have always left me a bit underwhelmed. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita not only tightens up the platforming, but adds even more bells and whistles to make the game even more appealing.
The ready-made campaigns of the series have never been a major draw. In fact, they’ve always detracted from the game for me. The necessity of trudging through hours of content in order to unlock items to build with always seemed more than a little crazy to me. That last portion has remained the same (still crazy!), but at least the campaign is enjoyable to play this time around.
As I mentioned before, the controls have been tightened a bit, which definitely improves the game. It’s still not Super Meat Boy or Super Mario Bros. tight, but I spent significantly less time fumbling with controls than I have in any of the past games. That’s not the biggest improvement, though. The implementation of both front and rear touch have allowed for some innovative control schemes and puzzle elements that make the game a joy to play. Moving blocks by dragging them, poking things from the front and back to move them in and out of the playfield, and using the touchscreen to aim projectiles is generally a joy. It adds just the right amount of depth and variety to keep the campaign interesting.
That campaign won’t take very long to complete, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s not where most of the fun is located anyway. After all, the real meat behind LittleBigPlanet has always been the user-created levels and the creation tools themselves. Frankly, these have never been better. The touch screen allows for both precise and quick level-building, while also allowing for interesting uses in the levels themselves. Players can also make their own stickers to use for textures completely painlessly by using the Vita’s camera to take pictures.
I’ve waited a bit for the community to build levels and I have to say, I’m not disappointed. The early levels that have been built are every bit as impressive as what I’ve seen out of Little Big Planet 2. The most exciting creations are still the super stupid remakes of other games like Slender and Zelda, but there are some really fun original masterpieces, too.
I suppose I should mention that the game looks brilliant, but you probably already knew that. The game looks every bit as good as its PS3 brethren. The physics are still incredible, the world still looks vibrant and textured, and the visual style is still happy-making. The frame rate doesn’t always hold up, but it’s rarely intrusive. I’d actually argue that the frame rate is better than LBP2‘s to be honest.
Stephen Fry’s posh narration returns yet again, joining his vocal tones with a wonderful, whimsical soundtrack. As professional as I try to be, the only way I can describe it is “adorbz.” I don’t know why, but that’s all that comes out.
Most of the issues I can find with the game are actually problems on the system level itself. When I was playing on the go in natural lighting, some of the game’s darker levels became very hard to see. I can see this getting frustrating pretty easily when gaming in the car. The rear touch is used better here than anywhere else, but I still found myself touching it accidently, sometimes causing things I didn’t want to happen. Also, it’s quite a long reach to get from the controls of the Vita to the center of the screen, so that can be difficult to do at times, especially when required to during boss battles.
Simply put, Little Big Planet PS Vita is the best the series has ever been. If you’ve ever loved LittleBigPlanet, you’ll love what you find here. If you haven’t, you’ll still find a game that shows off what the Vita can do better than anything else on the market.
[+LBP Has Never Been Better] [+Great Looking and Sounding] [+Excellent Touch Control Use] [+User-Created Content is Fantastic] [-Still Have to Unlock Items Through Campaign] [-Sometimes Too Dark To Play In Transit]