A new way to play, create and share.
LittleBigPlanet on PSP, while enjoyable, was hampered by the system's limitations. Not so with LittleBigPlanet Vita. This impressive sequel, set to debut on Sony's powerful handheld, looks just as good as the console games, but the developers took the concept one step further by taking full advantage of the portable's features.
On the surface, the game appears to be your typical LittleBigPlanet experience. Series hero Sackboy returns, and you guide the adorable mascot through a plethora of imaginative pre-made levels. Conversely, you have the option of designing stages from the ground up using the same tools from LittleBigPlanet 2. Then you can share those creations with other Vita owners.
That's par for the course. We expected that. Sony, though, threw us a curve in the form of touch screen support, which makes LittleBigPlanet infinitely more enjoyable.
Now, if Sackboy hops into a basket, you can pull back and release it like a slingshot, propelling the character through the air.
The touch screen also proves useful in grabbing objects. While the triggers perform this function, now you can press an object and Sackboy will stick to it.
What's more, the touch screen comes in handy for drawing platforms and bridges. Whenever Sackboy approaches a gap, you simply press and drag a finder across the screen and the sketch becomes part of the environment.
On top of that, two people can enjoy touch screen mini games, including a version of air hockey seen in the LittleBigPlanet Vita trailer.
The developers also deserve praise for using the system's rear touch pad, a feature that works in tandem with the touch screen. One puzzle, for instance, tasks you with pressing pegs to create platforms for Sackboy to jump on to, the goal to reach the top of a stage. To do this, you press the rear touch pad to make the platforms stick out, then press the pegs on the touch screen to push them back into place.
The game also supports tilt controls, where you'll physically maneuver Vita to roll a ball around a track or drive a car with the system held vertically.
Even the camera comes into play. You can take a photo, manipulate/change it using the editor and then place the new object into the game.
On the downside, you cannot share custom levels with PS3 owners (only custom costumes and costume purchases), but they wouldn't be able to enjoy the touch controls anyway, so this decision makes sense.
Bottom line, LittleBigPlanet Vita is one of the handheld's most highly anticipated games, the sort of title we would definitely purchase the system for. That said, we don't expect to see this gem until 2012, at the earliest.