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LittleBigPlanet: Vita's Answer to the AppStore?

Little or big? Both.

Apple’s AppStore has changed the way we game. Bite-sized chunks of gaming have become the best way to get your gaming fix on the go. Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Tiny Wings, to name a few, allow for easily accessible, touch screen controls and excellent gameplay on a portable device. Many people don’t want games like Uncharted on a handheld console; a lot of people would rather just have small yet sweet playthings.

This is where LittleBigPlanet comes in; rather than paying a sum of money for each of those minigames, you’ll be able to play many touch-controlled app-style games as well as the more traditional levels available. Once the community gets their hands on the game, who knows what we’ll see. Perhaps someone will create the next Jetpack Joyride inside LittleBigPlanet. We’ve seen amazing things with the home console versions, so with these new touch tools for creations, there’s bound to be an abundance of creations.


Puzzle games will work well with the Vita's touch controls.
In fact, that’s exactly what LittleBigPlanet Vita wants to be for: creating these little, inspired levels similar to apps, making the perfect handheld experience so every Vita with LittleBigPlanet will feature its own set of mini-games, perfect for when you’re on the go.

In my time with the game, I was shown a few developer-created levels. My first glimpse of LBP Vita was an air hockey style game, played with two players holding the Vita vertically rather than horizontally. This game, while just a quick example of the touch screen controls, played brilliantly; each player could control a hockey paddle with their finger and played a versus game of air hockey – it actually worked rather well. This was made with the in-game tools, too, so we’ll see many more of these brilliant two player multi-touch games after the game is released.

Another game, in the style of Plinko, involved tapping switches on the screen to change routes, in order to match balls with their colour; this worked well and showed off the Vita’s responsive touch controls as well as acting as another example of a mini-game that could be created. While another small game acted as a top-down racer, with a futuristic style similar to Tron, played with the Vita vertical and using the stick below the screen, showing that it’s not only touch controls that make the Vita unique; the screen rotation can make a big difference, too.

Yes, we’ll probably see a lot of Angry Birds clones – which isn’t entirely a bad thing – but in amongst these creations we’ll see some genuinely ingenious mini-games and levels. We’ve seen the enormity of things that can be made in the Create mode of LittleBigPlanet 2 and the Vita version will contain these tools and more (including the mapping of all of the Vita’s touch controls and even multi-touch functionality) so that those with the skills can make basically anything you’d want on your Smartphone, on your Vita.

LittleBigPlanet harnesses every feature of the Vita to its maximum potential; whether it’s in the aforementioned mini-games or the more traditional platforming levels. You see, LittleBigPlanet’s layers work wondrously with the Vita’s front and back touch controls.

Using the touch screen, you can move blocks that are too heavy for Sackboy with your finger to where you need them to be, or pull back on a catapult to fling Sackboy across the level. The rear touch panel is also used to do things such as pushing out blocks from behind to make stairways and bridges to cross.

Even the Vita’s tilt controls are harnessed in the game, allowing you to move a swinging platform within jumping distance.

There’s the usual LittleBigPlanet charm and the graphics are pretty excellent, too – Sackboy isn’t as neat as he is on PlayStation 3, but the environments are as colourful as ever, and there’s lots of customisable options from the looks of things. It plays wonderfully, too – the platforming is as good as ever, yet the game still retains those physics that define how LittleBigPlanet plays.

The Vita version of LittleBigPlanet looks to be an excellent blend of both a big platforming adventure and a wonderful, practically endless collection of mini-games to play – some of which will be incredible, going by what we’ve seen made in LittleBigPlanet before. To cement the game’s use as a marketplace for mini-games, plans are to allow players to be able to download levels at home, for use on the go. Long journeys or even short trips will be better than ever when you have a mountain of free, downloaded levels in your pocket.

26 Comments
  1. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    The game looks fantastic, and a definite must buy for me, but do we have a release window for Little Big Planet?
    Not too long to wait, I hope!

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:13.
    • Kivi95
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      Summer last time I heard anything.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:19.
  2. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    There’s a couple of things I’m not entirely sure about this game yet, though and i suppose I’ve taken them for granted but Modnation Vita’s shown me not to do so.

    First of all, can we access all 6 million levels already made in LBPs 1 and 2?

    Second, you mention downloading levels, but can we also just load and play them like the PS3 versions?

    And finally, will there be co-operative multiplayer?

    I probably could’ve looked this up myself, couldn’t I? Ah well.

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:23.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      No to the PS3 levels.
      They haven’t said that specifically, but as they said we’d have access to costumes and items we have from the PS3 version, but said nothing about levels, I’d say no.
      Although Modnation DOES allow you to use user-generated content from PS3…
      There IS co-op multiplayer.
      I’d assume we can just load and play levels like PS3, as we could on PSP- where we had a choice to download or just play the levels.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:29.
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Right, good to hear about the multiplayer. Yeah, Modnation does let you use all the levels and costumes from the PS3 version so I was sort of expecting it here and hopefully loading levels uploaded by the community on LBP VIta doesn’t take too long

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:42.
  3. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    the vid is excellent.

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:26.
  4. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    This article does make a great point. Sony need to market this as the ultimate app store. Never thought about this game like that before

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:30.
    • shields_t
      Member
      Since: Oct 2008

      Yeah I never quite thought about it how Blair has summed it up, it can only really be achieved with a bit of savvy marketing though.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 19:26.
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Which isn’t exactly Sony’s strong point

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 21:42.
  5. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    On the one hand it’s a neat idea, making mini games with LBP Vita which could be sold cheaply. On the other hand we’re used to getting most of the levels free (apart from the level packs). I wonder if they would go on to sell user-created mini games or just one created by the Mm team. If there are user-created mini games for sale – does the creator get a percentage?

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 17:30.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      They’re not for sale.
      They’re free for download.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:26.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Ah, the reference to the App store threw me off, cheers!

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 19:11.
  6. Esrei
    Member
    Since: Jan 2012

    In the future, if these LBP mini-games work well, would some be able to be ported into Mini’s, in which sackboy is still used, it’s the same game but you pay say, 99p for the mini game and people that haven’t yet bought LBP can play them?

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:03.
  7. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Won’t it suffer with Home syndrome? People don’t want to go “into” something to then go choose something else. They just want to load up their preferred choice instantly.

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:14.
    • yogdog
      Member
      Since: Feb 2010

      Yep, I’m guilty for that. Hate too much hassle or fuss.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 19:14.
    • TSBonyman
      Member
      Since: Dec 2009

      Fair point, although once LBP is loaded you should have reasonably quick access to a wide variety of mini games. And LBP has one ‘hub’ where you access content, whereas with Home you have to load into each ‘hub’/location in order to access different games.
      How does Vita’s ability to run several apps simultaneously work?I suppose it doesn’t mean you could have LBP ‘running’, or in sleep mode in the background all the time..? That would be handy.

      Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 20:17.
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        I think you can, actually. You can put it on pause whilst you browse the store or internet

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 20:26.
      • TSBonyman
        Member
        Since: Dec 2009

        Yes Jakster, although it would be great if you could run other games while LBP was in sleep mode. Memory/processor constraints most likely wouldn’t allow it but it would be neat…. Vita 2 perhaps.. ;)

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 20:37.
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Ah right, ok, misread what you were saying then. Yeah, don’t think that’s really gonna be possible with the Vita

        Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 21:41.
  8. MICKY17
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    LBP just seems perfect for Vita. All the mini games will be great for on the move gaming. Hopefully you can download new levels over 3G.

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 18:22.
  9. gaffers101
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    I like the look of the video. I’ll not be getting a Vita straight away, so maybe I’ll pick this up further down the line.

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 19:21.
  10. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    I also think there’s great potential for new and ingeneous mini-games Blair. I’m sure there are people out there with ideas that they haven’t brought forward yet because they lack programming skills or might be daunted by the normal publishing processes. LBP Vita could be just the ticket!

    Comment posted on 31/01/2012 at 20:34.

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