Gaming is moving towards multiple screen gameplay. We’ve seen it with Apple devices and AirPlay, Microsoft has Smartglass, and of course Nintendo has the DS. Sony has dabbled with it before with Remote Play, though was simply projecting the image from the T.V. onto the screen of the handheld, but now it has taken it to the next level and shown what can be really done.
To showcase multiple screen gameplay, Sony has chosen LittleBigPlanet 2 and a new add-on developed by Sumo Digital, which allows you to interact with the levels using a Vita to control what’s on the TV and what’s on the Vita itself. Before you play you have to download a 482MB file onto Vita. This means that there’s no streaming involved apart from the inputs that the new content allows. Once downloaded and synced up you can get going.
The DLC contains six all new levels which involve a group of space pirates who you need to rescue from the evil Warden. Throughout the story you are assisted by a blue an A.I. teammate, a Sackthing which reminds me of Cortana from Halo. The A.I. head appears when Vita’s 5 inch OLED touchscreen, which is used to great effect, isn’t needed to solve puzzles. Via the touchscreen, you can control objects on your T.V. and highlight dangers.
In the picture above, you see the red cylinders which are hazards. These are invisible on the T.V. and to reveal them you have to touch the Vita screen, which places a large green circle on the TV, which highlights them up for a short period. This works very well.
The cross-controller DLC also introduces the touch features first seen in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. These use both front and rear touch inputs and bring some variety into the puzzles throughout the levels. As in the Vita game, blue objects on-screen can be interacted with using the touchscreen. These objects include boxes which can be moved to help get Sackboy further into the level, spring-loaded platforms which send Sackboy sky high, and wall pieces which can be aligned to form a path. The rear touch can be used to interact with green objects which are generally blocks which pull out to form a path. When interacting with the touchpad, a circle appears on Vita’s screen to guide you to touch the right objects in the level. If you have played LBP on Vita previously this will be instantly familiar.
Also used in the new levels is the Vita’s gyroscope. At certain points you are required to tilt the Vita in order to move objects. These areas are marked with a blue Vita icon with arrows showing the tilting motion. It’s pretty simplistic but it works without any problems. Another use of the Vita is to match a tune played in the level. There are four coloured icons on screen which you have to touch in the order the tune plays to progress.
These are very easy since they only highlight each of the four icons once per play.
Possibly the greatest and most impressive new feature in this new DLC involves wormholes. When you approach a wormhole you press triangle to go through it and…
BAM! You are playing on the Vita. This was impressive when I first did it and immediately showed what asymmetric gameplay can do. When on Vita, it plays identical to LBP PS Vita and incorporates all of the features used previously when playing on the T.V. This works fabulously and is instantaneous. Having data on the Vita instead of merely streaming proves it’s worth here as there is zero lag when playing, whether it be on the TV using the Vita to input controls or playing on the Vita alone.
Overall, the cross-controller DLC is a fresh and innovative experience that everyone who owns LBP 2 and a Vita must try out. Unfortunately, the story mode is pretty short and can be done in one sitting. However, as with LBP, there is always the community to add more levels and I’m sure there will be some amazing levels made to compliment this great new way to play.