LittleBigPlanet Review

By Alex Rubens - Posted Sep 12, 2012

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita takes the solid platforming from the PlayStation 3 releases and pairs is wonderfully with the Vita's touch controls. The ease of level creation and beautiful visuals make LittleBigPlanet PS Vita the best LBP title to date.

The Pros
  • It's more LittleBigPlanet
  • Touch controls don't detract from the already solid platforming
  • The Introduction of save states makes for some crazy new levels
  • Platforming translates perfectly to the portable controls
  • IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL
The Cons
  • The touch controls don't ever feel like they're doing anything revolutionary
  • Story mode doesn't do much beyond set the bar for user-made levels
  • Rear touch control doesn't always work as well as it should

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Review:

With each iteration in the LittleBigPlanet franchise getting consistently better, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita has much to live up to, and thankfully, it even surpasses the high bar set by LittleBigPlanet 2. Despite the forced inclusion of the Vita’s touch and gyroscopic capabilities, it manages to never come off feeling like a gimmick, which is something that can’t be said about most Vita titles so far.

 

 

BestBigPlanet

There’s something to be said about a portable release of a title that doesn’t rely solely on the accolades of its console brethren, but instead uses its release to improve upon the already solid formula. Not content to ride on the coattails of Media Molecule’s success, LBP PS Vita developers Double Eleven and Tarsier Studios teamed up to create what can be considered the best portable LittleBigPlanet experience to date.

While it might be a great portable experience, it certainly isn’t going to change your opinion on the series. If you aren’t a fan of the series, you probably still won’t be. However, if you’re a big fan of the improvements they made in LBP2, get ready, because LBP PSV is filled with minor improvements that make the basic gameplay much more solid than previous iterations.

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Front touch, now rear touch, now front touch.

The core of the gameplay remains the same, but the inclusion of the Vita’s front and rear touch open up a whole new world of gameplay possibilities. There are sections of the game that require you to use the rear touch pad exclusively to guide your character around a level, but it is imprecise and requires you to hold the Vita in a weird way to avoid resting your fingers on the rear touchpad while playing. Unfortunately, while there are times that the front and rear touch is used really well, it’s mostly used for pushing certain blocks into the background and foreground, rather than for anything innovative.

This might seem like a bit of an oversight, but after the first few levels, this mechanic of pushing and pulling objects out of Sackboy’s way became second nature. I was able to do so without stopping the action, for the most part. In the later areas of the game, there’s some instances where you’ll need to switch between touch and analog stick controls very quickly to avoid certain death. It makes for a fast-paced mechanic that works wonderfully when implemented right.

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Watch Out For the Evil Puppeteer!

The story in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita does nothing more than set up ridiculous circumstances for them to show insane level creations, but that’s always been the case for the series, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Despite the lack of depth, the basic premise still manages to be oddly charming, as our hero must defeat the evil Puppeteer who has been stealing all of the joy from Carnivalia, a planet filled with carnival themed areas, giving Sackboy the chance to experience all of the new tools and abilities made available to him.

It doesn’t end up taking that long either, only a half-dozen hours or so, depending on how quickly you can make your way through the levels. This doesn’t mean that you won’t spend longer running through the levels again to collect all the items, but there’s really no need to beyond having everything available to you in the level creator.

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Save Your Progress Here!

As always, the real star of the show in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita are the user-created levels that take the same high-fidelity editing system from LBP2 and add touch and motion controls, allowing a more intuitive creation process than before. Instead of using the stick to create the level’s basic shape, you can simple select your material and start drawing the level using the front touch screen. It makes creating levels simple and quick, regardless of the complexity of the shape.

Perhaps the best part about the creation tool in LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is the addition of save states within user-created levels. This isn’t just checkpoints mid-level either, but rather an actual save state that allows players to leave the level and resume their progress at a later point. This means that games don’t have to be played in a single sitting anymore and gives the LBP community the chance to create some truly amazing levels.

Saves can be handled in a variety of ways too, so you can use them however you wish. If you want to create a puzzle game, you can save progress and award stars after each level, creating an Angry Birds-type game within LittleBigPlanet. Allowing players to manually save whenever they like, you could theoretically create a twenty-hour RPG and have players pick it up whenever they want. It really does allow players to spend more time with the complex user-created levels and not have to worry about finishing them in one sitting.

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Sackboy’s Favorite Arcade

To get your creative juices flowing, there’s five levels included that were made by the dev team in The Arcade. They show off the kinds of games that you can make when you give players the ability to save their progress. Most notable are Retro Vector, a Lunar Lander clone, and Tapling, a puzzle game that shows custom Angry Birds-style menus.

Downloading a user-created level is as simple as returning to the hub, selecting the Community planet and filtering through the options. You can search by name if you know what you’re looking for, but Cool Levels and Team Picks is where you’ll do the majority of your discovery. From there, you can place the level in your queue or download it for offline play. There’s even a “Dive In!” button that chooses a level at random, which is perfect if you just want something to play.

LittleBigPlanet Vita

Endless Possibilities

If you haven’t experienced LittleBigPlanet yet, then the PlayStation Vita version is the perfect way to start. It’s just as solid as its console partners, it looks beautiful, and takes advantage of the Vita’s controls in unique ways that don’t negatively impact the core of the platforming gameplay. It serves as a wonderful reminder that you can never have enough Sackboy in your life.