LittleBigPlanet Vita Hands-On Impressions -- Sackboy's Most Natural Fit Yet?By Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 08, 2011
There are quite a few compelling offerings on display at E3 2011 for Sony's officially named/revealed next-gen portable, the PlayStation Vita, but LittleBigPlanet easily feels like the most natural fit. I didn't get a chance to try out the level editor, and my hands-on time was brief, but what I saw was LBP in what might just be its most natural habitat to date.
The Vita itself is an impressive piece of hardware, with its crisp screen and relatively comforatble design, both of which benefit LBP nicely, due its colorful art design and particular brand of platforming. Manuvering sackboy with the Vita's thumbsticks feels the same as it did on the PSP version, if perhaps a tab more responsive. But easily the most "woah!" inducing factor of the Vita version are the various touchscreen and six axis implementations. While sackboy still has all of his grabby capabilities (assigned to the right shoulder button), you can now interact with environmental puzzles in a variety of new Vita-tastic ways.
For instance, any object that sackboy can grab, you can also grab simply by touching the object with your finger. Need to spin a giant wheel but there aren't any switches nearby? Simple. Just flick your finger across the wheel, and it will spin, allowing sackboy to then grab onto it and pull himself up to a higher ledge. Or say there's a cube that you need to use as a platform one second and a door jammer the next, and there's a ledge preventing you from dragging the box to block the door before it closes. Just use the cube to reach the door switch and then drag the cube into place to keep the door from shutting. Good work sackboy!
Another section had us use the Vita's tilt controls to move a suspended basket back and forth along a track. Pretty straightforward, but, again, it just fits so naturally in the LBP space that you can't help but grin. I had a similar reaction when I saw the first use of the rear touchpads in the level. There was a section early on that required you to drag your finger across some protruding piano keys to open a door, introducing you to the idea of...well, "pushable" objects. Later on in the level, I came across similar looking buttons only they were already depressed. But thanks to the rear pads, I was able to push the pegs forward to make platforms for myself to jump across, bypassing the spike pit below. Again, a seemingly simple mechanic, but one that adds even more depth to what is already one of most varied platformers ever.
I'll have to try out the level editor next, since that's where the majority of people's time will be spent and that's where the Vita's many control options will really be put to the test. But from what little I've seen so far, there's big, big things ahead for LBP.