Sony has strained to make consumers believe that the Vita will be the first handheld to offer true console experiences on the go. With the release of LittleBigPlanet on the Vita, it is clear that Sony's little-handheld-that-could delivers on this concept. Even with Media Molecule stepping away from the franchise, Double 11 and Tarsier Studios have done an excellent job bringing Sackboy to an ailing platform. While it is great to have the freedom of playing LBP anywhere, it doesn't do much to sway those who are on the fence about the series, let alone those who dislike it in the first place.
Meet Colonel Flounder, one of Sackboy's colorful guides through the world of Carnivalia.
This time around, the world of Carnivalia is in peril. Once a place of joy and entertainment, it has recently been taken over by the Puppeteer, an entertainer that recently became corrupted after losing the favor of his audience. Hearing of Sackboy's heroics, Colonel Flounder, a resident of Carnivalia, enlists the beady-eyed beanbag's help to save everyone from the Puppeteer and his army of mindless marionettes.
For the most part, the gameplay remains the same in LittleBigPlanet Vita. The player moves Sackboy through the level while collecting as many prize bubbles possible along the way. Both touch and motion controls have been added, allowing players to interact with objects within levels in different ways, like shifting objects into the background or foreground using the front and back touch screen respectively. These extra controls implement features that make the Vita version stand out without feeling forced.
The touch mechanics work well given the handheld's track record.
Along with Sackboy, the level creator from previous titles returns. Now creators can link multiple levels together, building whole new games within LittleBigPlanet. Levels designed within other LittleBigPlanet games can also be played through the community world. One important point to note is the large amount of tutorials that teach you how to construct your own stages. While the concepts explained are not difficult or convoluted, the sheer number of objects may prove prohibitive to those who don't have an immense interest in user-generated content.
A major compliment has always been payed to LittleBigPlanet's art style, and the Vita version earns the same respect. From the cute and oftentimes bizarre character designs to the general Pixar look of the levels, LBP Vita is truly a welcome sight for the eyes and Sony's handheld. Many of Sackboy's collectible costumes are interesting and quirky, even when you spend a large amount of time mixing and matching different pieces. Want to be a Little Sister with a dragon's tail? Or why not wear a gas mask with your tuxedo? The more creative your look, the more fun you may have. Just as levels created in previous games can be played on LBP Vita, any DLC costumes from LittleBigPlanets 1 and 2 can be worn by your portable Sackperson.
You got BioShock in my LittleBigPlanet!
Some have gone to consider this version as the best LittleBigPlanet experience, and with the strong transition to the Vita and the added benefits of motion and touch controls, it's not difficult to see why. While the platforming does feel like more of the same game, this isn't a problem, but another release with similar mechanics does make it difficult to win over those who aren't yet fans of the franchise. Some long load times are present, but other than that, LittleBigPlanet Vita remains a superb title that deserves a place on your shelf.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Tarsier Studios, Double 11
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Number of Players: 1-4 (Cooperative)
Platforms: PlayStation Vita (Reviewed)