LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Review – Move Over Mario!

When I first played the Playstation Vita last year, it was clear that LittleBigPlanet would take the crown as the best game on the system. Having spent over a week with the now finished product, I’m pleased to confirm that my suspicions were correct. The developers at Double Eleven and Tarsier Studios have not only expanded upon Mediamolecule’s award winning formula, but somehow, they have managed to create one this year’s finest games in the process.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita isn’t the most groundbreaking game in the world. This is very much an evolutionary sequel that utilizes the Vita’s unique control inputs to add an extra layer of depth to the gameplay. If you enjoyed any of the previous LBP titles then you’ll probably find that this game alone is worth purchasing a Vita for. With that said, if you’ve never been a fan of the series’ floaty platforming or whimsical tone then you should probably steer clear of this handheld version altogether.

One thing that continually surprised me throughout LBP’s story campaign is just how diverse the game is. No two levels feel alike as the game constantly introduces new gameplay mechanics to keep you on your toes. For the most part you’re still running from left to right, avoiding hazards but intuitive use of the Vita’s touch screen, rear touch panel and motion sensors makes this platformer feel like one of a kind. Using your finger to manipulate objects or to push inaccessible blocks into the foreground feels completely natural and helps to differentiate LBP Vita from its console predecessors.

During the campaign you’ll unlock a handful of bonus minigames, many of which are multiplayer focused. These minigames perfectly demonstrate just how robust the game’s creation tools are. User created content has always been the main draw of LittleBigPlanet and I’m truly excited to see what wizardry the community will conjure up once the game is finally available on store shelves. By far the most exciting feature introduced in LBP Vita is the Memorizer, which allows creators to incorporate save states. Now instead of just creating mere ‘levels’, the community’s finest can construct entire adventures that could potentially last hours rather than minutes.

Although the Playstation Store is currently lacking in Vita specific conent, the ability to boot up LittleBigPlanet Vita and access thousands of user created levels and experiences should have you spending more time with Sony’s handheld than ever. Its been said before that LittleBigPlanet Vita is Sony’s equivalent to Apple’s App Store and while that’s a bit of a stretch, its easy to see where that comparison stems from.

While I never got tired of playing levels designed by people much more talented than myself, I still found LBP’s creation tools to be a little too daunting. Even after suffering through dozens of tutorials narrated by the ever-so-delightful Steven Fry, I was still unable to piece together a level that I felt was worthy of space on the LBP servers. Thankfully it’s still remarkably easy to locate the best user created levels (thanks inpart to LBP.me) and the ability to download those levels for offline play is genius!

Graphically LBP Vita looks almost identical to the LittleBigPlanet 2. The Vita may not be as powerful as the PS3 but that fact isn’t evident here. Everything looks and sounds exactly as it should, from the series unique art-style to the excellent soundtrack and comical, albeit limited, voice acting. However, there is enough new here to make this iteration feel like a full-fledged sequel that hold no punches despite being released on a slightly less capable platform.

This review was based on a retail download copy of the game for the PlayStation Vita provided by Sony.

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