Preview: LittleBigPlanet PS Vita – TheSixthAxis

Preview: LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

This latest build of LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is little more than a massive tease. It is, on the surface, the complete game – easing you into the menus with Fry’s softly spoken voiceover and a Story planet that threatens to be as fully featured as it looks. Instead, after rushing through the first set of levels in order to see what’s next, a sudden, metaphorical brick wall immediately halts progress.

Limited Access

So, what can we talk about that we’ve not already discussed plenty of times before? La Marionetta, the game’s first world, is probably the only thing you’re not already familiar with, especially if you’ve read our earlier articles or played the beta yourself.

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Especially because – as far as we can tell – even the extra Arcade world only allows access to the great-but-played-to-death Tapling (Retro Vector, Super Conductor, Orb-it and StratoSphere remain locked regardless of your progress elsewhere). Even three-starring the clever little App Store-like minigame does nothing, a frustrating hour or so fruitless in its rewards.

But that’s preview code for you – unlabelled, unfinished and probably just a checkbox away from being the full thing – the download size, a hefty gig and a half – certainly suggests that it can’t all be lyrical chatter and grainy tutorial videos, of which – interestingly – this build seems fairly bulked out with. In terms of Create, it’s probably all in, but we’ll come back to that in another article.

Instead, let’s see what the Story mode does have.

The appropriately named Introduction is pure LittleBigPlanet, as if Media Molecule themselves have grabbed development duties for this one slice of platforming. It starts off with monochrome sketches and pencil lines, before Sackboy’s guided to the right over a wickedly smart ‘jump’ instruction (we’ll not spoil it) and then a batch of big-name logos. Nice to see Sumo Digital there.

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Colour’s slowly introduced, along with the Pop-it box (at first to customise your character) and your facial expressions (which are mirrored precisely from previous versions) and then the sudden appearance of the world’s lead talking head and plot device – Colonel Flounder. It appears, from the real-time cut-scenes, that the planet Carnivalia is under some threat, and you’re just – predictably – in time.

There are shades of Tim Burton in the visual style and the transformations caused by the evil Puppeteer

It’s actually rather dark, with shades of Tim Burton in the visual style and the way that people are transformed into soulless Hollows by an evil entity known as The Puppeteer, who’s taken over the whole planet due to going slightly mad (and later, rage). From here, the remainder of the levels play out as your training and initiation sessions, gearing up your cute little Sackboy and ensuring he’s up to speed with all the various moves.

Levels open up in exactly the same way as with LittleBigPlanet 2, with success unlocking the next in a path, and any bonus levels activated by way of hidden keys found within. These bonus sections, namely the whack-a-mole-esque Bonce Tappin’ and the rather hysterical Wall or Nothing (think ITV’s Hole In The Wall) are lovely diversions, and of course, the use of the touch screen is deftly integrated where appropriate, as it is in the main sections of the first world.

  • The touch interface brings bags of potential
  • It looks stunning, even though it’s slightly blurry at times
  • It’s a perfect portable translation of the franchise
  • Create mode on a portable device is a mouthwatering prospect

Barring the introduction and the end bad guy (which is all too easily dispatched) there are five main levels and the two bonuses, so it’s done with in about an hour or so if you stick around to try to collect all the bonus items that litter the environments. One level Palace Of The Peculiar, is especially good though, it’s verging on the side of creepy, the carnival atmosphere (with distorted mirrors and spiralling wall designs) is brilliant, and the lighting especially is expertly done.

Visually LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is great. The actual display is a tiny bit blurry – potentially not native resolution or heavy amounts of anti-aliasing – but the menus and other displays are crystal sharp and super clear, which is probably a good compromise. It’s easily the equal of the PS3 versions though – textures are generally lovely, there are nice real-time reflections and the framerate’s nice and fluid. The Vita’s screen helps make the graphics really pop when needed too, of course.

Load times are pretty swift, which was a pleasant surprise, and the presentation’s spot on. There’s not really a massive amount I can really say about the game without going through each level because it’s really all been said before – this is everything I’d want a portable version of LittleBigPlanet to be and the story seems to have a real weight about it.

It’s a shame it was cut short then, but it’s not long to wait until the full game is released, so hopefully we’ll have more to say about the game’s single player before too long. Naturally this Vita version sports multiplayer (and again, some areas require a co-op partner to open up) and there are leaderboards for each level, so replayability shouldn’t be an issue.

We’ll take a closer look at the Create mode, and some of the key community levels soon now that there’s no longer an embargo. If you’ve made a level that you want us to investigate, just let us know.

19 Comments

  1. WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE ARTICLE!
    Bored of the LBP series now but I bet the touch screen is invaluable when creating levels :)

  2. pretty much seems to be a fun game like previous Littlebigplanet’s which is great, I’m still playing LBP 2 too this day so I’m really excited for the Vita release should be the game that may also last eternally… depending if it you can make music.

  3. Loved the Beta, can’t wait to get the full game

  4. Sorry I’m not sure if I’ve missed something but are there only 5 levels in the single player story? Or was that 5 levels in the first world?
    If so how many worlds are there?
    I have always been a fan of the developer created levels so I hope they haven’t cut a lot out.
    I know there will be plenty of community created levels but that takes time and the Vita isn’t as popular as the PS3.

    • Just in the first world. The rest of the worlds are locked out.

      • Phew! This (and Gravity Rush) were the two games I was most excited to play on my Vita.
        Thanks for the reply :)

  5. Good to know things are shaping up for September 25. Seems like a day one purchase for my son’s Vita, the kids love playing LBP on the PS3, guess it won’t be that different with the Vita version. Oh, wait, they’ll fight to see who plays this one, I forgot it :).

  6. This series is overrated tbh, LBP1 meh, LBP2 just looks like LBP1 with new levels but same dull gameplay. From the vita beta it looked awful!

    Still going but it though lol

    • You don’t get it, so its not over-rated.

      • What’s not to get build & share simple enough to get, if you said maybe you just not a creative person to get it then I would agree…,

        How is building & sharing the most innovative thing this gen has seen?

    • it is probably the most innovative title this gen imo.

    • It’s more likely over-exposure. It was new at the time, now it’s been out for a while and some people will eventually start to feel it’s a bit tired. Just the cycle of life.

  7. I can’t wait.

    Little Big Planet was one of the few true innovations this generation brought, and I can’t wait to have this game on the go.

    The PSP game was great, but was a cut-down version of the main series. From the beta I played though, not only does LBPVITA stack up to the PS3 games, it exceeds them.

    The definitive version with touch added, I think.

  8. Looking forward to it.

  9. Looking forward to this, its gunna make my vita alot more useful on the go :)

  10. I like the new “game info tab ” up there on the right. But the release that still says TBA :p

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