LittleBigPlanet has quickly become one of the most beloved franchises on PlayStation. Since its initial release the series has seen a multitude of games across several systems. Within those releases there exists two titles on the handheld systems – one for PSP and one for Vita. Today I will be talking about the latter of those games, LittleBigPlanet Vita.
When I first got my PlayStation 3 back in 2009, LittleBigPlanet was the first title I ever bought for it. I absolutely fell in love with it – it had charm, it wasn’t too difficult (though 100%’ing it is a whole other matter), and I could play it with friends! Since then I have played every LittleBigPlanet game released. Yes, even the PSP game (hint: don’t play it). When I finally got my Vita last year, I also picked up LittleBigPlanet Vita. Fast forward to around 10 months later I’m finally playing it. Unfortunately, while it’s better than the PSP game that shouldn’t be, it’s still not as great as either LittleBigPlanet 1 or 2.
The game is your typical LittleBigPlanet title – you play as Sackboy and something is amiss. Of course, you’re the only one who can fix it. You’ll travel from level to level meeting various characters and overcoming various obstacles. This is the tried and true formula for a LittleBigPlanet title and the Vita release does manage to hold up in this respect.
The controls of LittleBigPlanet Vita leave a lot to be desired though. In some ways, it feels like the controls of the PSP release just with touch and motion sensors added in. In other words – the controls aren’t great. There are places in levels where it feels like they think you either have gigantic hands or, you know, have more than 2 hands. Something about trying to platform, remove obstacles with the front touch screen, try and move with the left analogue stick, AND hit things with the back touch screen around the same time says that. Oh and you need to do all of this without dying if you want to get those level aces!
Motion sensors have become a big thing in gaming as of late it seems. The Dualshock 3 controller had Sixaxis built in (which wasn’t really that great), almost everyone in the gaming world knows about the various motion controllers across systems, and the Vita also has it built in. LittleBigPlanet Vita uses this built in motion control for some aspects of your gaming. While not as frustrating as realizing you don’t have 4 hands, I could have definitely done without it. One of the machines you can use is completely controlled by this motion sensor. You can use the L or R buttons to get a boost, but at the end of the day you’ll probably still find yourself falling just short of making a curve you should easily be able to make.
While unfortunately I haven’t been able to do much with the online in this title, it is still there. You can still create and publish levels as you please. And of course, you can still play these levels (assuming you can find them in the search). The creator is as it was in LittleBigPlanet 2, though of course it also has the additions that the Vita provides (options for touch screen items for example). The creator is great as it is, though you still need to really dive into it a lot to truly figure out how to make those fantastic levels you can find out there!
LittleBigPlanet Vita continues the tradition of extra “bonus” levels. These are typically challenge levels, asking you to do a variety of things. For example, one level is (quite literally) Tetris though there is one catch – the walls aren’t there past the first piece! Your goal is to get it as high as you can without the tower falling. Easier said than done when you realize you have to move (both in placing and turning) the pieces with the front touch screen. I lost many attempts due to the game deciding I had let go of the piece I was trying to turn. Just slightly frustrating to say the least…
Along with those bonus levels, there is also an Arcade you can go into. There are even more mini-games to be had here. One of them is Super Conductor – a game where you need to get the battery power to the proper place as fast as you can. Yet again it involves the use of the front touch screen. Now, while less frustrating than the Tetris clone, it’s still frustrating. The pieces you can turn often don’t want to turn. You can be there smashing your finger into the piece wanting to just yell, “TURN ALREADY!” Nope, it’s not going to turn. The sensitivity for this could definitely have used some work.
LittleBigPlanet Vita proves that at least a handheld LittleBigPlanet game can be decent, though it’s only just a slight step up from the PSP title. The controls are absolutely aggravating, mainly the touch controls (and the whole “please have 4 hands to try and do this properly” part). The level designs are still fairly solid though, with collectibles both in easy and hard to reach places. You’ll spend quite a bit of time should you wish to go for all of them. Though in some levels you’ll need to find a buddy to tag along with you!
While it is a step up from the PSP LittleBigPlanet game, as I mentioned before it still doesn’t live up to what LittleBigPlanet 1 or 2 are. Hopefully with the upcoming release of LittleBigPlanet 3 we’ll see the return of Sackboy in a really good way. We can only hope that the online in LittleBigPlanet 3 isn’t as terrible as that of LittleBigPlanet Karting though. So, while LittleBigPlanet Vita is still a decent game, the controls really do drag it down a lot.
LittleBigPlanet Vita Review Score
LittleBigPlanet Vita is available for purchase through Amazon, GameStop, and PSN.