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Review: LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

09 Oct 2012

LittleBigPlanet became a surprising success for the PlayStation brand when it was first released for the PS3 back in 2008.

Because of the popularity of the first game, Sony knew it was onto a winning franchise as LittleBigPlanet invaded the PSP a year later. Once LittleBigPlanet 2 wowed critics and gamers alike in 2011, nobody knew what was next for the addictive puzzle-platforming series.

It wasn’t until Sony released its powerful new PlayStation Vita console did the series have a new piece of hardware to exploit. Thanks to the addition of the PS Vita’s gyroscope and touch screen controls, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita could arguably be called the best game in the franchise.

This is because some of the earlier PS Vita games I played added touch screen controls as a gimmick and they didn’t contribute anything meaningful to the overall gameplay. Little Deviants was a shallow game at best because its mini-games were nothing more than just a demonstration for players to use the PS Vita’s new controls.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is another example of this as gamers could easily play the game normally without even using any of the new PS Vita controls.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is a shining example of game design done right as most of the levels in the game have purpose for you to exploit all of the PS Vita’s controls properly. Both the rear and front touch screen panels on the PS Vita are used for different purposes throughout many of the levels in this game as well as in the mini-games featured here (more on them later).

For example, the front touch screen controls many things, but one of my favourite moments in the game is using your fingers to navigate the direction of a missile. Many old-school PlayStation fans will notice this was an iconic moment in Metal Gear Solid when Snake used the Nikita missile to navigate it through the ventilation system.

The rear touch pad is used in a variety of ways too but the most common use for it you to push boxes and other objects out of the way.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita also adds a bit of a story to the single player campaign that wasn’t really present in previous LBP games.  In this game, a maniac named “The Puppeteer” wants to make the world a depressing place after his puppet show gets stale and people start to boo him off stage.

It’s up to sackboy/girl (i.e. you) to travel around the world to destroy his plans of making the world a miserable place. The story might not be anything new, but you do get to meet some interesting characters along the way and it’s more fun than just playing through a series of unrelated levels for no apparent reason like you did in other LBP games…

A big and awesome new addition to LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is all of the mini-games. There are a lot of mini-games that you can unlock and nearly all of them play differently. One of them is a basic puzzle game where you need to navigate a stream of electricity to power the batteries. Another game sees you controlling a blob and using the touchscreen to make it travel and stick to walls.

All of the mini-games looks and play differently and they're a nice alternative if you already finished playing the single player story mode.

Aside from the single player mini-games available, there are also multiplayer games on top of this.  You can opt to play with a mate online or even share one PS Vita console to play with someone next to you. It may seem awkward at first sharing a PS Vita console with someone else, but some of the game actually works out fine playing in this fashion.

I had a lot of fun playing a Real Steel-like robot fighting game with my brother in this way. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita could very well be the first handheld video game that even offers offline multiplayer modes…

Graphically, LittleBigPlanet looks just as gorgeous as both LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 on the PS3 console. Not only does the main game look great, but there are differing art styles that are used with all of the mini-games that are included here as well. None of the aforementioned mini-games featured here look the same. It's almost as if they were featured and made in a different game entirely which shows how diverse the visuals are in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita.

Lastly, there is the LBP's create mode that allows people to create their own levels and share them with the rest of the LBP community. This is what separates the LittleBigPlanet series from most other games out there as the level of creativity the LBP community manages to create is phenomenal.

There are thousands of user-created levels that are on offer here and some of the best ones are even more enjoyable to play than the levels featured in the actual game itself. With new levels being added each and every day, there’s new content to enjoy for a very long time.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is arguably the best LittleBigPlanet game ever released. The controls add a whole new dimension to the gameplay and the game is packed full of content that will keep you entertained for months on end. This is without a doubt one of the best games to be released for the PlayStation Vita so far.

If you own a PlayStation Vita, you will be mad not to add LittleBigPlanet PS Vita to your collection.

Graphics: 9.0Sound: 8.5Gameplay: 9.5Lasting Appeal: 9.0

Overall: 9.0