LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Review
- Posted September 12th, 2012 at 11:00 EDT by Kyle Prahl
- 8 Comments
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This compelling, imaginative adventure is the best LittleBigPlanet yet and breaks new ground in a hybrid space of touch-and-button-based gaming that is only possible on PlayStation Vita.
- Exceptional platforming and level design, augmented by clever new mechanics
- An empowering suite of creation tools that take full advantage of PS Vita's unique features
- Bridges the gap between console-quality gaming and mobile accessibility
- The rare inconsistency with touch response
- No support for user-made levels from previous installments
A fleeting glimpse belies the truth - Sackboy's latest adventure may seem like old hat, but closer inspection reveals something revelatory. By enveloping finger feedback in the warm embrace of traditional mechanics, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita forges a new path for gaming and bridges the gap between mainstream and "casual". Comforting in its familiarity, yet exhilarating in its newness, LittleBigPlanet Vita is a captivating ride into uncharted territory – a place where buttons and touch controls harmonize to create a game that, amazingly, is more fun than ever because of it.
This beautiful union starts with the Imagisphere, a place where literal seams burst with creativity and ideas fuel the adventures of material creatures like Sackboy. Of course, no imagination is without corruption, and our corduroy hero is called forth to save the Imagisphere more often than not. Such is the case when Colonel Flounder informs Sackboy that the world of Carnivalia has fallen prey to the evil Puppeteer. Once a beloved entertainer, the Puppeteer turned to extracting joy from others when the same joy disappeared from his solitary life. As an army of devious, faceless Hollows streaks across Carnivalia, the residual effects are felt on LittleBigPlanet, and Sackboy must step in to save Carnivalia before its downfall spells doom for the Imagisphere.
This always-engaging adventure is spread out over five worlds packed to the brim with story levels, Score Challenges, mini-games, and the like. Each of these is then packed with something more important: joy. Pure, unadulterated fun positively oozes from arguably the best level design in series history, and the experience is amplified by the most engaging touch mechanics ever seen in a video game. Themes of wonder and discovery are no longer theoretical constructs to provide background for this world. For the first time, wonder and discovery are things you feel as you jump, swing, and puzzle-solve through clever use after clever use of the Vita's unique control features.
That's not to say that every touch mechanic in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is novel. Moving platforms into place, swingshotting Sackboy to new heights, rotating environmental objects, and guiding rockets to well-protected enemies are familiar concepts that any iOS gamer has seen in principle. Even tilting the system to navigate a ball labyrinth or using rear touch to steer a firefly pal through perilous traps won't set the gaming world on fire (though the latter is admittedly only possible on Vita). However, citing specific differences is irrelevant, because the magic lies in the context. Where touch was once only suitable for bite-sized fun on smartphones, it has now found a comfortable home in a console-quality game. The benefits are mutual. By embracing the Vita's unique features but adapting their use to traditional platforming, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita retains its sense of self and never fails to recognize why it's so much fun in the first place.
Instead, it becomes MORE fun. Touch is not a replacement, it's a supplement – to make level designs more creative, boss fights more thrilling, and puzzles more challenging. Each element is aided by new ways to interact. Consequently, there's simply more gameplay to love. You're not just bouncing between platforms -you're creating a path for your high-flying sackperson by pushing platforms in and out of the screen. You're not just hitting a switch to call down an elevator - you're freely moving that elevator with your finger, and flicking it upwards to launch Sackboy to unseen heights where secrets await. Touch and tilt, once a cause for hesitation, blend so well with traditional button-based platforming that I'm always eagerly awaiting their next appearance. And, with a few rare exceptions, the responsiveness of each left me totally satisfied. Because these mechanics work exactly how I expect them to, I'm free to enjoy the fun they provide. It's liberating, and a revolution for PlayStation gaming.
The same newfound enjoyment extends to Creation mode, the bread and butter of any LittleBigPlanet game. Here, touch controls are used to streamline the level editing process. You can lay down stickers and objects by tapping anywhere on the screen, use your finger to quickly swipe and scroll through the Pop-It menu, and even draw freeform shapes in your world out of creation materials. If you find that you don't agree with certain touch mechanics, don't use them: touch can ... (continued on next page)
- 12:10pm EDT - September 12th, 2012
Looks like you tried to knock the game judging by the two dislikes. "Rare inconsistency"? "No support for user-made levels from previous installments"? You act like the same studio made every single game and as such everything should be compatible. This is clearly not the case, but shows how much is known about the game(s). Guess LittleBigPlanet can't do that well in PSU's book. Ah well, still going to be one of the greater Vita games to release. Heck, somehow even the original LBP only deserved a 95 to them, if that helps make the connection.
- 1:01pm EDT - September 12th, 2012
I try not to comment on comments, but "Presidents" that is just plain funny. LBP "can't do well in PSU's book"? Give me a break! Go troll another site. How in anyone's mind a 9.5 is not doing "well" is beyond my imagination. This is one of the most glowing reviews PSU has ever given any game and the author's two minor, minor, minor dislikes (which, by the way, don't take points away!) is just that, something he didn't like and felt worth pointing out to would-be buyers.
XSpike | XSpike
- 4:16pm EDT - September 12th, 2012
Good review! I really can't wait for this game. Seems like you enjoyed this game, and so will I. Been looking forward to this game since I bought my Vita! I also agree with #2 this is like the best review score PSU has given any game that I can remember, and the game deserves it and it delivers a game like LBP2 and more! But I also disagree with #2 bout the first comment because...
"No support for user-made levels from previous installments" shouldn't really be a negative, I played the LBP Vita beta, and the size where you can actually build your levels in is slightly smaller to allow the game to run so smoothly on the Vita. So its impossible for the Vita to run previous LBP levels and the fact its running on a different engine and made by a different team.
But in saying that! Its fair enough to dislike it as it would of been awesome if they where able to transfer the levels over, it should just be noted in the review, that it would be impossible for that to happen because the Vita isn't as powerful as the PS3 but is still able to produce a game that rivals or even in some cases surpass LBP2.
- 1:20am EDT - September 13th, 2012
I never understand why, if the dislikes provided never subtract from a score, they never really explain what does. I figured the whole point of the "Like/dislike" section was a TL
- 6:45am EDT - September 13th, 2012
So picking this up!
i personally would've thought 9.3 or something. 9.5 is impressive for a handheld XD
time to gear up my creativity cap!
BlindMango | BlindMango
- 10:10am EDT - September 13th, 2012
@Presidents (Comment 1)
So, you do know that a score of 10 means "PERFECT" - this game is not quite perfect, in fact, it's very hard to have a truly perfect game, what on earth is wrong with a 9.5?? That's basically perfect with a few tiny things wrong with it, for real, you're probably the type that thinks a 7.5 is a horrible game.
- 10:33am EDT - September 13th, 2012
@4 It's not so exact as Likes adding points, Dislikes subtracting points. Really, the score is something decided completely independent of those bulletpoints. It's all about the game makes me feel - is it a truly phenomenal, genre-defining classic that will be remembered as one of the best games of the generation? Then it's probably a 10. Is it just totally awesome and a game you'll absolutely love? Maybe more of a 9.5.
I view the Likes and Dislikes as a way to summarize, at a glance, my main feelings about the game. The best glimpse always comes from reading the review, though. Thanks for your input!
- 2:14am EDT - September 17th, 2012
How can you go wrong with LBP? I pre-ordered the game and can't wait to play it! Viva vita!
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