Back at EGX mikemason took a look at Little Deviants, a mini-game collection for Vita that nicely showcases all the handheld has to offer. Here’s what he had to say about it.
With so many inputs dotted around its sleek shell, it’s only natural that Sony would want a launch game to showcase the plentiful ways to play PS Vita. Little Deviants seems poised to nimbly slip into that nook for the release of Sony’s new handheld. Each of its mini-games has been designed to take advantage of a different control method, from SixAxis motion control to the system’s multiple touch surfaces.
Cameras, touch-screens, gyroscopes and shoulder buttons collide for Botz Blast, an augmented reality amusement that cribs heavily from Nintendo 3DS’ built-in Face Raiders. The screen displays whatever the PS Vita’s rear camera can see – be it your living room or a packed gaming expo – while the titular deviants fly around, attempting to escape through a void while pursued by robot enemies. They’re not just in front of you, either; Vita must be moved about, twisted in 360 degrees around your body to aim at the soaring mischief makers, centring them in the screen’s reticule before smiting them with a click of the shoulder button.
Little Deviants separates itself and the Vita from Nintendo’s rival system in Hole Roll Control, a mode that featured prominently during the handheld’s reveal. Placed on a floating island, the blobby stars of the show must be guided to the exit with caresses applied to the touch-screen and rear touch panel. By dragging on the system’s backside the ground can be manipulated, the player’s fingers pushing up temporary hills to roll the creatures along. Control is smooth and intuitive after a brief adjustment period, but it’ll take nifty fingers to dodge every obstacle and grab each collectable.
Then there’s Depth Charge, where the aim is to guide a deviant through a cave to disarm a ticking bomb before time runs out – though quite how they’re supposed to do that without arms is a mystery. Tilting the console changes the diving deviant’s direction to navigate around the environmental hazards and snap up shiny gems along the way. This maze navigating game is not the most original or exciting inclusion even within the demo, but this is offset by extremely competent controls. Your character always moves just as you would want them to, whichever way you angle PS Vita.
House of Whacks presents the simplest idea in Little Deviants. At first glance it would be easy to dismiss this mini-game as a target shooter made overly straightforward by the ability to tap away enemies with a direct touch. To do so, however, would be an injustice to the most addictive and fun game shown in the package thus far. The deviants hop up in the numerous windows of a building, challenging you to slap their faces to shoo them away. At the same time you must avoid bringing your finger of wrath down on any children that appear, all dolled up in deviant fancy dress. Hit a human and you’ll be smacked right back with a points penalty.[drop2]Things get really interesting with the integration of the rear touch panel. Targets must be thwacked square between the eyes, which is easy enough to do on the touch-screen when they’re facing forward, but after a short time the monsters will start to turn their backs on you. The solution, of course, is to reach a finger out across Vita’s back and bat that side of the system instead. It’s surprising how intuitive it is; despite going from feel alone, it’s incredibly effortless to consistently touch exactly where you want. What’s more difficult is telling the difference between creature and kid as the speed ramps up to increase the gameplay to a frantic pace.
Little Deviants makes no secret of its status as a technology demonstration to show off, in rough terms, just what sort of thing Vita is capable of, ably highlighting some of the system’s key features. The four games of the trial are sure to only be the tip of the iceberg, and it is clear that Sony have plenty of faith that the title can showcase their new baby well, considering that they have a bundle that includes it as a pack-in. Nothing shown of Little Deviants so far is hugely complicated; it’s light, simple to pick up and could prove entertaining enough to keep even the naughtiest little devils busy when it launches alongside PS Vita.