LittleBigPlanet’s riveting protagonist, Sackboy, has become some sort of a trusty hero for Sony and Playstation fans with his stellar appearances on the PS3. With the Vita in a seemingly desperate state, Sackboy has been called in, handled by an entirely new developer, to save the day and revive an impressive system that needs that one “killer app.” After spending a considerable amount of time in Craftworld, jumping, swinging, and creating, we can say that Sackboy’s venture onto the Vita is not only successful, but perhaps his best installment to date – and even that may be an understatement.
As we alluded to earlier, Sackboy’s adventure throughout Craftworld will be highlighted by intense, yet silly platforming that’s both new and advanced player-friendly. Though the game is definitely action oriented, it does a spectacular job of presentation behind and throughout the story as you play through five worlds and more than forty levels. Your job is to simply restore the peace that’s been choked out of Craftworld by a mysterious puppeteer. This presentation plays nicely with the adorable, yet strange characters you’ll meet throughout your journey, including your very own Sackboy that you can dress up however you please. It’s also mightily impressive how gorgeous the entire game looks. Longtime fans of the series will have trouble distinguishing the Vita’s graphics to the PS3; it may even be possible that LittleBigPlanet Vita is the best looking Sackboy game yet, though that’s through the eyes of the beholder.
Transitioning from the PS3 installments of LittleBigPlanet to Sony’s handheld isn’t an easy task. But yet, it opened the door for many new features that set this title apart from any other Sackboy adventure, specifically the Vita’s touchscreen and back panel support. As you make your way throughout Craftworld, you’ll be presented with countless “puzzles” that will have you using your touchscreen to control objects, whether that’s to open pathways or create jumping opportunities. Tarsier Studios did a fantastic job separating the regular button control sequences from the Vita’s core functions. It’s a completely new game that doesn’t feel like a watered-down sequel and that’s incredibly difficult to accomplish with a series that’s only had success on one platform.
If we were worrisome of any specific item, it would have to the Vita’s response in conjunction with the gameplay at hand. Would we lose our game’s momentum trying to touchscreen our way through a certain level? Thankfully, the game includes a lengthy, yet lovely introduction level that gets you used to the new features in real-time. After a few attempts, we were comfortable with the front and back touch sequences, making for a fluid gameplay experience that fans have come to expect with the LIttleBigPlanet franchise.
Vita fans have been screaming, frantically even, for more games to support their purchase; who knew that the answer would come from one single game? The community element of LittleBigPlanet is absolutely brilliant and opens the door for literally anything that comes to the minds of the fans. Sackboy cart racing, Sackboy whack-a-mole, Sackboy Fruit Ninja – these are only a few of the creative mini-games the community have already dreamed up, and millions more (yes, millions) will only follow upon the game’s release.
Interestingly, though, the creative aspect of the game is truly one of the only downsides to the entire experience. Creating your own world is dynamic, complex, frustrating, and brutal. The tools at your disposal are great and varying, but newcomers will inevitably be over cumbered with information. We don’t believe that this will damper the ideas that’ll eventually become realities – we just expect some to shy away from that aspect of the game due to its nature.
Nevertheless, LittleBigPlanet Vita is simply a masterpiece. It’s Sackboy in your pocket. It’s Sackboy on the train. It’s Sackboy at the lunch table. It’s anything and everything you wish it to be, and that’s a unique experience for the Vita and the LittleBigPlanet series. Tarsier Studios have crafted the Vita’s one, true killer app that is worth owning a Vita for in and of itself. The best part, though? The excellence doesn’t stop post-release. More and more free content will be thrown up and playable for the entire world, and that’s something that you’re just not used to seeing in today’s industry, but it’s something we’ll quickly love.