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LittleBigPlanet Preview (PlayStation Vita)

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To some, LittleBigPlanet isn’t just an addiction.  It’s a game that allows them to open up creatively, making dream levels that wouldn’t have the possibility of existing in any other product.  It wows the community by going above and beyond the call in doing so.  And let’s not forget that the Sackboys (and Sackgirls) can also be customized with various outfits stemming from the Muppets, Pirates of the Caribbean and numerous other worlds.  Well, if the PS3 versions weren’t enough to feed your need for building, perhaps the PlayStation Vita version, which launches this month, will be.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

Like its console brethren, LittleBigPlanet is all about guiding an innocent-looking character named Sackboy through worlds.  You can either go through the ones that have been built for you, download others to see what other users are up to, or let your imagination run wild and create your own.  These aren’t the kind of levels that take years to build.  With the built-in tutorials and helpful tools, you’ll be creating in a matter of minutes.  Hell, someone created a devoted Contra level in just a few hours.

Media Molecule has made this engine with platforming in mind, but it’s really amazing how vast it is for such a simple little game, and on the PS Vita, it really expands.  Not only do you control Sackboy with the traditional control scheme, but you can also utilize a number of Vita features for movement and action in the level.  Poke on the back touch pad to make objects jump out for Sackboy to jump on.  Use the touch screen to drag switches and other things around.  Tilt with the gyrosensor to change the scope of a stage.  Pinch to squish things.  Flick objects around like they don’t weigh anything.  The interaction in LittleBigPlanet goes bonkers here — there’s literally no limit to what you can do.

The touch interface also lets you create levels with ease, rather than moving around manually and picking stuff with a joystick.  Being able to select items and then drag them wherever they need to go will save you time.  You can also import stickers using the front and rear camera on the device, further expanding whatever world you choose to create.

What’s more, to commemorate the launch of the game, Sony is launching the LBP.me page, where each level and creation will have its own web page, so sharing with the community is much easier than before.  Granted, if you still prefer direct sharing over the PlayStation Network, that option is still very much available.

Along with its own Trophies and bonus goodies, LittleBigPlanet will also let you access previous purchased items from other versions of the game, including outfits and special doodads to make your Sackboy stand out.  New ones are consistently being made available as well, so if you haven’t found your look just yet, you will.

Best of all, LittleBigPlanet has a great appearance to it.  The visual world that Media Molecule has crafted hasn’t lost any of its luster on the PS Vita screen, making this one of its best-looking games to date.  The animation is precise and the inventiveness that pops out of each stage is, at times, outrageously cool.  And if you think something’s missing, add it, genius.

LittleBigPlanet should definitely help the PS Vita launch, especially for those who are looking to make their own little mess, rather than dwelling in someone else’s.  We’ll let you know how the final game fares with a full review later this month.

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Robert Workman
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