It goes without saying that Sackboy, the face of Little Big Planet (LBP), has become one of PlayStation’s most distinguishable icons. The original Little Big Planet, released back in 2008, created a side-scrolling platformer that combined a colorful world with limitless creativity. Little Big Planet 2 then came out, took that very experience, and opened it up to brand new horizons. The PS Vita version of Little Big Planet however, aims to take the best of what the franchise has been able to offer and package into a unique handheld experience.
Little Big Planet PS Vita doesn’t stray far off from the formula of its console brethren. You start by getting introduced to the world of Little Big Planet through the game’s narrator, Stephen Fry. The narrator goes on to explain the basics of LBP and sets you up to venture into the game’s story mode.
Story is the game’s single-player mode which is essentially a 5-6 hour long introduction aiming to familiarize you with the game’s world and mechanics. It revolves around a puppeteer who is causing mayhem in the world of Little Big Planet, and it’s up to Sackboy to stop him. Throughout your adventures you be visiting five worlds that are diverse both in terms aesthetics and mechanics introduced. Each of the levels utilizes the PS Vita’s capabilities differently and adds a unique element to the game’s vivid universe. Furthermore, if you’re connected to the PlayStation Network you can choose to go through the different levels with a friend or a random online partner. Going through the levels with another player opens up new areas which were previously locked off, adding on to the game’s already exquisite level design.
While in most games the use of touch is often horribly implemented and feels gimmicky at best, Little Big Planet PS Vita takes that issue and throws it right out of the window. The game is seemingly inviting you to use touch controls as they feel like the perfect fit to the game’s world. Rather than feeling like an afterthought, the game’s touch implementation is a core part of the experience. This really sets the game apart from other titles in the PS Vita library as it perfects the touch inputs unlike any other. Tapping the back touch panel on the PS Vita to bring an object into the game’s foreground feels natural, so does touching the screen to move specific obstacles out of the way. Nothing ever feels tacked on throughout the experience and that is something that most games often have a hard time implementing successfully.
While LBP PS Vita’s story mode is quite enjoyable, the true beauty of the game lies in its community. Once you complete the opening world, you will gain access to tons of community levels that bust the playing field wide open. You also get your own moon, meaning that you can now create your very own levels. User-created levels are not limited by the game’s core platforming elements, hence they can essentially be anything from a racing level to an RPG. The toolkit given in LBP PS Vita, while extremely powerful, is pretty easy to use due to the handy tutorial and simplistic design approach. The use of the PS Vita’s touch inputs makes creating and designing levels a lot easier than it ever was in the series. The touch creation tools feel right at home, even more so than the creation tools used in the previous console entries.
Lengthy load times aside, Little Big Planet PS Vita is hands down one of the best experiences that graced the platform to date. It takes the best out of the franchise and creates a game that really shine’s on Sony’s powerful handheld. It utilizes the PS Vita’s multiple inputs like no other and offers a huge stream of content thanks to its robust community. LBP PS Vita is the best entry in the franchise yet, and is a prime example of a game tailor made to take advantage of the system’s capabilities.
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