LittleBigPlanet is one of Sonys most loved franchises featuring one of their greatest characters – Sackboy. But after 2 releases on the Playstation 3 and a release on the PSP is the format beginning to get a little bit tired and what does this Vita version do that we haven’t already seen before?
Well, it’s a weird one because aside from see neat touch features LittleBigPlanet Vita is basically Little Big Planet 2 but on a handheld console. So why do I love it so much?
For anyone who has been living under a rock since 2008, when the first game came out. Little Big Planet is at its core a side scrolling platformer where you play as a being called Sackboy who is perhaps the cutest gaming character of all time as seen in this picture…
See, he’s adorable. Anyway, what LBP does differently to other platform games is that it’s biggest features are all to do with multiplayer and creation. In LBP you can make pretty much anything you want as long as you can imagine it and have enough talent to actually make it and then you can share it with other players and play together with up to 4 of your friends. The first game set this premise out and gave players an incredible set of tools to create with, number 2 added to everything number 1 did by giving us more tools, more features and the ability to make not only our own levels but entire games (if you’re clever enough).
LBP Vita picks up where 2 leaves off by giving you all the tools that were available in LBP2 and as I said adding in some cool touch related features, but more about that later…
When the PSP version of LBP came out obviously compromises had to made due to the PSP being restricted on its capabilities. Fortunately the Vita doesn’t have this problem and Little Big Planet on the Vita looks awesome. All the beauty of the console versions is crammed into this portable version and if anything on a smaller screen it looks even better and in multiplayer you actually tell who you are now which is usually not the case on LBP2. Even in creation mode, all the brilliant little nuances like the fantastic lighting effects have made it in and Sackboy looks just as cute as ever and comes complete with his lovely expressions and ability to convulse at your will. This is truly one of the more beautiful games on the Vita thus far.
At its heart this is a traditional Little Big Planet games. It has a campaign that can be played with up to 4 people that features a story that no one cares about or will pay attention to but does have some very enjoyable levels and one absolutely horrendous level which does a fantastic job of making the touch controls look completely useless. The level in question makes you and your friends fly on bees (yes I said bees) but you can only control them with the back touch pad of the Vita. Unfortunately it’s just not very much fun due to the lack of responsiveness and accuracy. You spend so much time flying into walls and enemies that it just feels like a relief when you finally reach the end. Other then that one awful level the touch screen controls in the levels are actually really fun and add an extra layer of depth into the gameplay. Usually they just involve the need touch blocks with the front or back touch screen to manipulate the environment and although that doesn’t sound like much it’s just enough for you to go “hey, good job on making the touch relevant”. Where touch really comes into its own though is in the creation suit.
If like me you suck at making stuff on LBP because of the controls being too clunky then you’ll really love what Vita does as it basically puts everything at your finger tips. You can make an entire level without ever touching the buttons and it means you can accurately draw and place things where you want them. For me it’s made the creation mode accessible and fun to the point where I’ve spent most of my time in this mode.
Now this is where LBP Vita really is at its best. I’ve been playing LBP Vita with some very good friends from across the pond in the good old US of A and it’s about the most fun I’ve had with my Vita since I got it. We’ve done it all in this game, played the campaign levels together, played my creations and played other community levels and the experience although a little lag filled at times holds up generally very well. I’m yet to find a more entertaining way of wasting time on my Vita then chilling with friends on this game. Communication is easy via text chat and by using Sackboy’s wonderfully animated expressions. There is voice chat but it doesn’t seem to work properly but I think that is the Vita’s failing rather then this games.
Community created levels are also of a great quality so far and it shows how far the community has come since LBP1 that there are already over 1000 levels and I’m yet to play one that is completely rubbish. The only big disappointment here is that the levels from LBP1 & 2 aren’t included which seems completely mad to me as the engine is the same. I’m sure there is a good reason though I just don’t understand it or like it.
Little Big Planet on the Vita is for me the very best way to experience Sackboy’s antics. The platform style suits portable gaming so well and it looks magnificent on this console. My only big gripes are with the lack of levels from the other LBP games and the fact that only some of my previously purchased costumes are not available (although all costumes from 1&2 will be available soon). It’s hard to recommend this game to seasoned LBPers as they have done it all before, but for people like me who didn’t quite get into the console versions and if you can get a few friends to play too you won’t have more fun on your Vita.