It feels like the opinions on mini-game compilations have changed over the past few years. What started out as something fun soon descended into the banal as the market became saturated with games that only seemed to exist to make a quick buck.
Initially it seems surprising that Sony has gone with a mini-game compilation as a Vita launch title, seeing as how the big push is on how the hand-held can provide a home console experience. However, Little Deviants ends up feeling like a statement of intent from Bigbig, showing to everyone just how versatile the Vita can be when it comes to controlling a game.[drop]It all starts with the introduction of the Little Deviants, a race of gelatinous blobs with crazy eyes and serious social problems (one is on fire, for example). Things aren’t going well for the crazy little beggars as their space ship crash lands on a planet and breaks apart. They have also been pursued by The Botz, who essentially want to hurt the Little Deviants as much as possible. The goal is to collect all the space ship parts and get away.
The parts are spread out over six main areas, each containing five mini-games. These games take full advantage of the Vita’s many functions, and as such you can expect to tap the screen, tilt the Vita, use the camera and even sing into the mic. All of this is done to earn points, which are totted up at the end of every level. Scraping by will see you awarded with a bronze medal, which will generally unlock a new game and a space ship part.
Those who think bronze is a rubbish metal will want to push on and earn silver or gold, which each unlock a prize such as a new piece for the gallery. It’s here where one of my concerns about the game lies. If you have earned a bronze medal there is a substantial jump in points before being able to get silver, and this gap increases even more between silver and gold.
The very nature of Little Deviants is in its bite-sized mini-games, which work well over the course of a couple of minutes, but the time required to unlock gold mean things get boring. The best example of this is the skydiving game, which sees one of the Little Deviants jumping out of a plane and you controlling his descent, trying to make him pass through a series of rings.
When the Little Deviant lands the process is repeated until you have accumulated enough points to earn bronze. I can’t even tell you how long it takes to unlock gold, because after several minutes of doing the same thing (although the rings do move) I hadn’t even earned a silver medal.
However, it’s not worth dwelling on that too much. Although you can play for silver and gold if you feel like it, the game can be completed by just picking up bronze medals, which are far more accessible.
When it comes down to the mini-games themselves there are more hits than misses. The best ones are wonderfully simple in their design, such as using the Vita’s gyro to roll a Little Deviant through a course, but incredibly addictive and great fun.
Even with so many control methods on offer, Little Deviants is so easy to pick up and play, with brief descriptions and icons showing what is required of you for each mini-game. It’s just a shame that after a couple of hours you start to feel like you’ve sampled everything, as a sense of familiarity sneaks in to the remaining mini-games and you’re asked to do the same things but in a different setting.
In terms of visuals, Little Deviants was never going to be the game to show-off how mighty the Vita’s processor is. However, it’s a charming game with a bold colour palette that looks great on that 5 inch OLED screen.
For those that like to be social, you can upload your scores for every mini-game to an online leaderboard. You can also send gifts via Near. Challenging friends is also a big part of the online experience, and you’ll receive a notification when one of your scores is beaten. Tapping this notification will instantly take you to that level so you can reclaim a bit of pride.
- Takes full advantage of the Vita’s control methods.
- Looks good.
- Some very addictive mini-games.
- Challenging friends can be extremely competitive.
- Getting gold medals will be an arduous task.
- You see everything far too quickly.
Little Deviants is an easy game to like. It plays well, for the most part, looks nice and demonstrates what the Vita can do. It’s just a shame that there’s not more to it, and although the scope is there to replay beaten levels, I’m not entirely convinced you’d want to.