LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (Available exclusively on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Developer: Tarsier Studios
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
PSN: Online Multiplayer
Parent Talk: LBP Vita is rated E for everyone by the ESRB, with the only warning being mild cartoon violence. This is actually the perfect game for children of all ages, much like Super Mario Bros. and most of the other games Nintendo publishes. If you want a game your children can sink months into, this is it. Don’t take this disclaimer to mean adults won’t enjoy it either, much like a Pixar animated movie, LittleBigPlanet appeals to everyone.
Plays Like: Have you played a platformer before? Yes, good stuff because at its core that’s exactly what LBP is all about. The twist, and its overall charm is that you also have highly user-friendly tools available for making and sharing your own creations with the rest of the world. If you’ve played another entry in the series than you know exactly what to expect. For everyone else, think Super Mario, albeit more floaty.
Review Basis: Finished the single player campaign, played a number of cooperative levels, downloaded and played a ton of user-made levels and even designed a few stages myself. Let’s not talk about those, OK?
When the original LBP was released, it was heralded as the beginning of a new age, an age of creating, sharing, and playing. While it may not have been the worldwide sales blockbuster Sony was hoping for, it did well enough to garner a direct sequel on the PS3, another on the PSP, and now one of the Vita. I can tell you with absolutely certainty this is the very best LittleBigPlanet ever released and if you’re a fan of the series, or platforming in general, go ahead and blind-buy this one. You will not regret it.
Of all its accomplishments, the one that stands out the most is the new ‘memorizer’ device. The memorizer allows players to create not only entirely new levels, but to link them all together to form worlds, as in world 1-1, 1-2, etc. Players can save their progress in-between each new stage so they can continue to play at a later time. This changes everything because players now have the ability to literally make entirely new games. They can have three shooter levels, a couple of racing levels, a boss level, etc. My jaw was on the floor when I realized the potential.
+ The story, while admittedly silly, works perfectly to introduce new players to all the gameplay mechanics. Long-time fans will enjoy the new settings, and all the new options available to them.
+ Replaying the story mode isn’t an option, its necessary. Not only are there countless stickers to unlock, there are also sections that require a co-op partner or two, there are leaderboards to claim and so much more. Count on coming back time and again.
+ Almost every level in the story mode features a hidden key. Finding said key unlocks a mini-game, some of which are so fun you might play them for an hour or two without realizing it. There are even new arcade games, which are meatier than the mini-games. You’ve got shooters, sports games, and even a PSN-quality RTS game. What’s even more impressive is that all of these were made using the in-game creation tools.
+ New touch screen and track-pad controls don’t feel tacked on, they feel wonderful, like a natural extension of what’s already there. The creation tools also benefit from the great use of touch-controls.
+ You will be amazed at just how simple it is to create, share and play different levels and entire games within this one cute little package. Better still, you can download levels for future play so you don’t have to worry about connecting online while say 35,000 feet in the air.
+ Stephen Fry returns to narrate and does a truly magnificent job. From tutorials to narrating the story, he’s always there with his warmth and charm to keep that smile on your face.
+ The graphics are incredibly rich and detailed, and for most of my time with the game I thought I was playing a PlayStation 3 game. Sure there are sections that are a little rough around the edges, but for the most part this one knocks it out of the park.
+ Bought goodies for LBP on the PS3, well guess what, you can re-download those goodies for this game as well. Now that’s what I call a win!
+/- The floaty platforming remains. Many people have complained that the gameplay isn’t as tight as they would like, and that hasn’t been changed here. For the rest of us, we never had a problem in the first place.
– While there are dozens of tutorial videos explaining how to use all the different creation tools available, they aren’t as cohesive as they should be. I found myself trying to figure out how to make this or that, and some of the tutorials wouldn’t even allow me to replay them. This oversight is surprising considering how amazing everything else came together.
Given the hard time the PS Vita is having in the marketplace, there might not be enough players who support this amazing game, and it’s future success relies entirely on the shoulders of its community. We need incredible creations, and if the userbase just isn’t there, that might never happen.
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is the very best game currently available on the PlayStation Vita. If you own a Vita, or are a fan of the series, you should own this game. Even if you don’t own a Vita, this is one of those games that should change your mind about the platform. Yes, it really is that good. Strange killer-app you say, well you’re the one who’s missing out.
Final Score: 9/10