There were many who worried that Sackboy's trip to SONY's voluptuous new handheld from his PlayStation 3 birth home was to be one made out of duty rather than true calling. After all, his Guildford-based creators Media Molecule have moved onto projects new, passing responsibility for this game to a bevy of smaller game developers - Tarsier Studios, Double Eleven and others. With less experienced hands on the creative tiller, the best we could hope for was a game that didn't spoil the memories. Right?
In reality, LittleBigPlanet's arrival on PlayStation Vita is cause for wild celebration. Here is a game that locks knitted fingers with SONY's handheld, making creative, dazzling use of its features to build upon the previous two games in endlessly exciting ways. The PS Vita is a curious machine, stuffed with a generosity of ideas, from its two cameras and two touchscreens to its two analogue sticks. LittleBigPlanet Vita is undeniably the first title to tame this unfettered mass of glass and ingenuity, demonstrating to the world just how it can be done.
Touched With Genius
Which isn't to say that the game re-invents the wheel. LittleBigPlanet has always been an artisan kind of platformer, constructed from random bits of fabric, dusty pulleys and wheels - the kind of junk you might find in a cardboard box in your auntie's attic. It's part of the charm: a knitted chew toy leaping through a world of cotton reels, paperclips and batteries; the extraordinary constructed from the everyday.
But what's different here is the way in which you interact with the world. While LittleBigPlanet veterans will be familiar with the rocket projectiles and grappling hooks given to Sackboy over the course of the game, the manner in which you control them has matured into the PS Vita's feature-set. Rockets can now be precision guided with the drag of a finger across the screen. The grappling hook can now be attached to moving anchor points that will slide left and right as you tilt the machine in your hands. Likewise, cogs and wheels must be pulled into place, while both the front and rear touchscreens are used to pop platforms forwards and backwards in order to solve spatial puzzles.
Things To Make And Do
The sheer amount of creative fizz on display is what truly delights here, and the long, winding levels bristle with ideas. Even the off-shoot stages dazzle with their ingenuity, offering hand-stitched takes on arcade classics like Puzzle Bobble. Of course, each level comes packed with a slew of collectible objects, stickers and other bits and pieces which can be used to customize your hub or, perhaps more importantly, used to create your own levels in the expansive and powerful level editor.
Sharing has always been at the heart of the LittleBigPlanet experience and it's no different on PS Vita, where you can store and save up to thirty levels before sharing them with the world for them to play. The intention, as always, is that the community will extend LittleBigPlanet's life long after you've completed the main storyline and, while the editor takes some effort to fully get to grips with, it seems likely that this is a game you'll want on hand for months to come.
Bold, assured, exciting and creative, LittleBigPlanet compensates for its visual familiarity with a host of exciting new features and level designs. An essential purchase then, regardless of whether you're here to create or consume.
- Rich, interesting levels
- Powerful editor
- Creative use of Vita's features
- Level editor can be difficult to get into
- Some slowdown during level creation
- Familiar structure