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LittleBigPlanet PS Vita – PS Vita

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaPlatform:  PS Vita

Release Date (NA):  September 25th, 2012

Developer:  Double Eleven, Tarsier Studios

Genre:  Platformer, Puzzle

Rating:  7.5 out of 10

I’d like to go ahead and say that LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (yes, that is actually the official title) was my first ever experience with the LittleBigPlanet franchise, so if this article sounds like I’ve never played any LittleBigPlanet games before, it’s because it’s true.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaMuch like when I sniffed out Wipeout 2048I found this game while looking for PSV titles that really highlighted all of the handheld’s new features.  Admittedly I was somewhat put-off by the childish intros and painfully slow explanation of the game mechanics narrated by the British guy, but once I got going LBP PSV really blew me away.  This is clearly designed to be a game centered around enjoyable problem solving and it gets its point across consistently.  Even without all the fun PSV stuff this would be a delight to play.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaHere we follow “Sack Boy” around some bizarre oversized world reminiscent of a giant bookshelf, at least at first.  There is so much to explore and interact with in most of the levels that I’d be hard pressed to start listing out every detail here.  Pushing, pulling, swinging, spinning, and bouncing are just a few of the things that propel Sack Boy through these strange worlds but less emphasis is put on overcoming the standard platforming obstacles and instead the player must use the environment to solve increasingly involved problems in order to advance.  Like most platformers these days, there’s the option to go back through levels to collect all the available items and thus achieve 100% completion.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaAs the levels wear on, puzzles gain complexity, often requiring the player to use various objects scattered about this strange dimension.  There isn’t really any combat present here, at least not in the traditional sense of jumping around, staying mindful of the health meter, and that sort of thing.  Falling to one’s apparent “death” is sometimes possible, but more often the idea of “failure” is treated euphemistically as becoming “stuck,” usually due to some sort of environmental peril.  Via a simple button press, Sack Boy immediately goes back to the previous checkpoint with an endless number of opportunities to renegotiate any obstacles.  Checkpoints are spaced blessedly short from one another, roughly corresponding to each minor area of the level which Sack Boy must traverse.  Any “enemies” or “bosses” are handled with some quirk available in the environment and rarely is one forced to use those hard-earned Mario reflexes.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaLBP PSV makes full use of the PS Vita.  The front touch screen is frequently employed to move or activate or otherwise affect surrounding objects, while the back touch screen can be tapped to move background elements into the foreground in designated levels.  The PSV’s gyroscopic features are almost constantly accounted for but have little bearing on gameplay.  For the most part the tilting affects some aspect of Sack Boy’s physicality, such as looking up or smiling or moving his arms.  Pictures taken from the handheld’s camera (or from the internal memory) can be used to personalize the surroundings for a clever and stylish but ultimately useless effect.  There are also a slew of little mini-games to be unlocked along the way, most of which are almost addictively enjoyable, and they manage to use all facets of the PSV’s novel features in a number of innovative and interesting ways.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaThe control scheme could be a little simpler.  Jumping and walking comprise most of Sack Boy’s movements, but there’s also the “popit” to consider, a sort of goody bag for Sack Boy containing innumerable items from stickers to costume elements.  I forgot to mention, Sack Boy can be customized to seemingly no end.  It’s not a feature I delve into often, but my son loves it.  Back to the “popit,” I find accessing and navigating this sort of “inventory” less than intuitive and it takes me way too many button presses to get it to do what I want it to do.  A minor complaint, but it manages to bug me nonetheless.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaThe visual style of LBP PSV is what initially stands out the most.  I’m not sure how to describe it apart from the comparison to a giant bookshelf I used earlier (this changes drastically in later levels), but there’s definitely a toy-ish appearance to it all.  I don’t think the designers were going for realism, but it’s not quite a cartoon either.  It actually reminds me a lot of those old kid’s shows done with some kind of stop motion technique, be it clay or puppets or whatever.  And it makes me think of books with huge pop-ups.  There’s bound to be an exact word for this style, if you know what it is by all means let me know in a comment.  I personally am not wild over this style on an aesthetic level, but I do appreciate how well done and unique this series looks.

LittleBigPlanet PS VitaA lot of people will whine about how easy this game is but that’s kind of the point.  It’s supposed to be an easy game.  The best way to describe LBP PSV is as a series of puzzles structured as a platformer.  Instead of bouncing from one puzzle to another on a menu, a whole barrage of puzzles is presented in the form of a mostly linear platformer.  This is definitely one of only a handful of games that I’ve ever encountered that can be enjoyed by literally anyone.  There’s enough depth, length, and replay value to appeal to completists, and casual gamers will enjoy romping through puzzles at a leisurely pace.  LBP PSV is easy enough to advance through that even young children will have a hard time putting it down since it doesn’t often require tireless gathering, complicated button sequences, or precision maneuvering to complete a level.  It’s also a great title for the sort of stop-and-go play one is likely to encounter when out and about with the PSV.  If you have a PS Vita, you owe it to yourself to give LittleBigPlanet PS Vita at least a decent week’s worth of play time.

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

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