Reviews// LittleBigPlanet (PS Vita)

Guess who's back?

Posted 12 Sep 2012 16:01 by
Little Big Planet (LBP) on the PS3 (reviewed here) was a breath of fresh air when it was released in 2008 and we at SPOnG love it. Similarly with LBP2 (here) which we love almost as much.


However, we love LBP on the PSP (here) slightly less, due to fiddly creation controls and a lack of multiplayer. Two out of three isn't bad for a gaming series, but how will LBP on Sony's shiny new PlayStation Vita fare?

You see, the two games we loved were developed by Media Molecule, but the PSP version wasn't, it was developed by Sony's Studio Cambridge. Little Big Planet PSVita (LBP:PSV) has been developed by a collection of companies, primarily Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven, with only a bit of oversight by Media Molecule. Has the magic been lost in the same way as with the PSP incarnation of the game?

I'm happy to say that, no, it hasn't. LBP:PSV has not fallen into the bad habits of the PSP game, multiplayer is intact and the controls are much less fiddly, even if they aren't as fluid as the PS3 games.

I'm assuming you've already been introduced to the world of Little Big Planet and have some experience with the way the game and its creation tools work. If not, where have you been for the last four years? Anyway, I'll skip the basics and focus on the differences between this game and its big cousins on the PS3 and step-brother on the PSP.

First of all, as I noted in my review of the PSP version, the screen size can be a bit of an issue. The camera is usually quite close in to your Sackperson giving you a bit of a limited field of view. Because of this, navigation can be a bit hit and miss sometimes when you can't see very far in front of you.

Generally though, the main gameplay is as good as you would expect. This version of the game is very close in mechanics to LBP2. The same sort of in-game cut scenes are used to link the levels and tell the story of Sackboy's adventure.

There are, of course, additions to the basic gameplay that take advantage of the Vita's front and back touch panels some of which work better than others. Features that work well are the pushable blocks that can be slid into or out of the screen by tapping the touch panels in the right place. The addition of a cursor when moving your finger across the back panel is a very welcome feature.

What don't work so well are the blocks that can be slid sideways around the level. It's too easy to get them stuck on scenery, flipping them over and covering up things like bounce pads that are on the "top" of the block. However, the worst are the touch-powered catapult devices that require you to slide your finger down the track, dragging the plunger before releasing them to fire. It's way too easy to slide your finger off the screen or away from the block and fire too early.
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Comments

irritant 12 Sep 2012 21:12
1/2
I helped make this game.

Funnily enough, there were a few of us in the office saying that the over-use of touch wouldn't work, and I personally hated those "pull down then release" springy things, particularly on the level designed for high scores through keeping the multiplier going. The number of times I got a premature ejectulation of Sackboy who then didn't spring high enough....
Tim Smith 19 Sep 2012 14:34
2/2
@irritant Blimey, what was your part in the game??
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