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Little Deviants – PS Vita

Little Deviants – PS Vita

Little Deviants - PS VitaPlatform:  PS Vita

Release Date (NA):  February 15th, 2012

Developer:  Bigbig Studios

Publisher:  Sony Computer Entertainment

Genre:  Puzzle, Arcade-Style

Nerd Rating:  6.5 out of 10

 

 

Little Deviants is one of a handful of games that I’ve had hanging out in my PS Vita case for quite some time but hadn’t yet paid much attention to until recently.  I’ve been consciously trying to dig into my PS Vita a little more lately, and realized I have a number of games that probably deserve some of my time before I commence griping about the lack of releases for the handheld.  In some ways I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Little Deviants, especially with how well it makes use of the PSV’s multitude of impressive hardware features, but I’m also a bit disappointed; it never really seems to come together as a full game, and it takes a considerable level of skill (or trial and error) in order to make real progress.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

Augmented reality in Little Deviants

Little Deviants is a difficult game to classify.  “Puzzle” doesn’t really fit since there’s nothing much to figure out, though it does require a similar mastery of simple tasks that aren’t exactly action-related.  In fact mazes, tests of reflexes, and other games that draw from the mobile/tablet sphere are included.  These also fall under old-school arcade-style games, albeit in updated form.  Let me back up a little: Little Deviants isn’t a singular game that one moves through, but rather a collection of small games, most of which utilize some aspect of the Vita’s unique hardware (touchscreen, back touchpad, gyrometers, camera/augmented reality, and more).

Usually I would start with the story, but there’s not much of a story here.  The “Deviants” are cute(-ish) little blobs and seem to be at odds with both an army of robots and various undead creatures.  I suppose that a collection of this sort doesn’t really need a story, though one of the game’s major shortcomings is its inability to tie itself together.  It’s a nice little lineup of minigames; unfortunately, that’s all it ends up being.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

Here’s an interesting game; the player must “activate” the different lines at different times by humming or singing at different pitches. A very clever use of the microphone!

Ideally, a digital copy of Little Deviants would be packaged with every PS Vita.  While the pre-loaded “Welcome Pack” offers up a good demonstration of the Vita’s potential, Little Deviants applies the technology in less abstract ways.  The game is divided into regions, and each region houses a few different stages.  Each of these stages is composed of games of varying complexity, usually relying on a single function of the handheld.  There are 30 different games in all, covering each and every feature of the Vita.  Many games make use of the motion controls, using tilting motions to roll a ball around a maze or steer through a course similar to a race.  The camera is used during augmented reality games, and even the microphone comes into play when one must hum or sing at a certain pitch.  The most novel feature of the PSV, the back touch pad, is featured amply.  In one instance, the player touches the back in order to create a bulge in the landscape of the game’s environment (like an instantaneous, moving hill), thus moving the character around.  The front touchscreen is used in ways familiar to mobile games, but there’s a particularly interesting game where the back and front are used in tandem, with the player doing a sort of pinching motion to affect gameplay.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

As one’s finger moves along the back touch pad, it forces the “deviant” to roll around.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

By “pinching” the PSV, or grabbing both the back touch pad and front touchscreen, it pulls the “deviant” back against the ropes, ready to launch like a slingshot.

I feel like I’m going to explode if I mention “the various features of the PS Vita” one more time, but that’s really what Little Deviants is about.  Overall, it does a great job of showing what the Vita is capable of and it does so in more than just a demonstrative capacity – you can actually use these features to play a game.  The sort of “slingshot” effect when pinching the front and back is one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in a while.  My only issue is that, while well designed and executed flawlessly, it feels like little more than a step up from touchscreen-based games back when touchscreens where novel – poke this, drag that, etc.  The variety is great, but depth is lacking.  It’s immediately enjoyable, but the games will quickly begin to fluctuate between “too damn hard” and “way too easy.”

To compensate somewhat for the simplistic nature, Little Deviants features a few secrets and unlockables to look for.  This, combined with achieving a high score, is the main source of replay value; depending on what you look for in a game, this may or may not be appealing.  In a way, it’s a pretty solid reconciliation of the simplistic objectives of old school arcade games and the latest and greatest technology.  (But then again, so are scores of mobile and tablet games.)  I would’nt say there’s anything really wrong with Little Deviants, it just needs a little more of a push when it comes to concept.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

All faults aside, Little Deviants is a great looking game.

At least the graphics are becoming with the PSV’s 8th generation capabilities, at least in a cartoon-ish Mario sort of way.  Loads of vivid colors fill the screen at every turn, and these little games take place in a fairly large assortment of locales: graveyards, the sky, mazes, and snow-covered mountains to name a few.  It’s a great game to look at, and the quality graphics keep it marginally more engaging.

Little Deviants - PS Vita

Roughly half the games are highly reminiscent of reflex-oriented titles built for mobile platforms.

When it comes right down to it, I would casually recommend this title to any owner of the PS Vita, at least for the right price.  Like I’ve mentioned about 12 times now, it’s all about showing off the Vita’s technology, but at least it does so in a refined manner.  Everything is wonderfully responsive and natural and it’s an awesome piece of software showing off the Vita’s powerful functions.  Beyond that though, there isn’t a whole lot of “game” to dig into.  The games are more like “exercises,” but fun exercises nonetheless.  If you dig mobile games or just want a clearer picture of what other developers aren’t utilizing when it comes to the PSV, Little Deviants is definitely worth a used purchase price.  Just be sure to keep your expectations in check.

Reviewed by The Cubist

 

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist


Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything: thecubist@nerdbacon.com

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