LittleBigPlanet is a franchise that Sony introduced this generation and has since taken off in many different ways. The original was highly praised for its originality in platforming and how it raised the stakes of the genre, creating a sub-category of ‘Play, Create, Share’ titles. The last time that LittleBigPlanet was portable was the PSP version, which was loved for its ability to take all the features from its bigger sibling and shrink them down to the palm of your han. Now with the PlayStaion Vita’s enhanced online capabilities and other features Sony hopes that this is truly the definitive portable experience for LittleBigPlanet fans. But has the franchise taken Sackboy one step further into iconic status, or will this be remembered as a loose string in the tightly-knit sack resume?
LittleBigPlanet Vita revolves around our beloved Sackboy or Sackgirl coming across the world of Carnivale. Throughout his adventure he comes across new areas that are currently under the evil rule of the ‘Puppet-Master’. You’re given a lot of new toys this time around which make for a very touchy-feely Vita friendly adventure that makes it even more engaging. While traversing levels you come across blue or green colored objects; blue objects can be interacted with via the front touchscreen, whereas green ones utilize the back touch-panel. They come in various forms that require you to either simply tap, pull or even drag objects to help your Sackperson maneuver his way around. After a few adventuring levels you’ll gain a new toy: a touch guided missile launcher helmet. This allows you to guide missiles from your knitted friend to anywhere on the screen with the front touch pad. It’s rather awesome and just one of the ways the Vita is fully utilized in this title.
Plenty of new elements also rear their head in LittleBigPlanet Vita and one of them being The Arcade. Here you’ll find a section of the single-player game where it’s essentially been turned into a game, within a game – with more and more arcade games unlocking as you progress through the story. These bitesize games act as more of an escape or option for you as you progress as each has their own goals and semi-story elements. The better you do, the higher the overall score, just like an arcade game really. Also new is the inclusion of stars in the bonus levels you unlock through the keys you collected in the story mode. These bonus levels aren’t anything new, but now they take full advantage of the Vita system and utilize various features like the touch screen and the tilt controls. A few examples are a stage that is essentially a giant whack-a-sackboy game, air hockey and a tower building game. These are very fun and addictive distractions that you can now earn stars on based on your score in the mini-games.
Presented in classic LittleBigPlanet format, you’re given a wide array of choices after the first few levels. Once you are able to go online and join the community you can download levels onto your cache for when you aren’t near an internet connection and want to play your friends favorite level or even a level you randomly came across while perusing the community. You can even create a queue in game or online by visiting LBP.ME. The Vita’s camera has also been utilized so you can incorprate everyday objects and images into levels like never before. Sure you could do things with the PS Eye in previous LittleBigPlanet titles but now you can take it with you and go take that picture of your car and put it up in LittleBigPlanet Vita for the world to see.
Creation has always been an undeniably major part for the franchise and this time it’s no different. You can decorate your moon and pod as usual, as well as view tutorials to help you through a few of the new features including the introduction of touch navigation. The touch controls allow for a more free-flowing environment while creating and there’s a handy little quick-menu that makes it quite easy to utilize the most important things in Sackboy’s arsenal. Newcomers, as well as the seasoned LBP veteran, will have an easy time picking apart the creation system to create levels on the Vita.
LittleBigPlanet Vita has succeeded in what it set out to do: be everything the console version was and more. It makes full use of the Vita’s functions, while staying true what fans have come to know and love about the series. The story may be quite short – ranging from five to seven hours in length – however, for a portable title and with all of the extras included this may not be a burden after all. It appears that even when LittleBigPlanet isn’t developed by Media Molecule it’s a must own title for fans of the franchise and anyone who has a Vita.
Audio/Visual - 5/5: Looks just as great as the console iterations, it is the same Sackboy and LittleBigPlanet universe we have come to love and the audio is just as happy-go-lucky as ever.
Gameplay – 5/5: Simple yet elegant platforming mechanics mixed with always evolving and unique ideas from the franchise, as well as great use of the Vita technology.
Value – 5/5: It is LittleBigPlanet, which means you get a lot of user created content and constantly added levels from an extremely dedicated community. This is one game that will get a revisit from many fans long after its release.
Innovation -4/5: Other than the physical hardware uses of the Vita which are all great and make the title a must have on the platform, there is no use yet of the NEAR feature, but hopefully that will change by release.
Final Score: 4.5/5