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E3 2012: Can LittleBigPlanet Whip Up Whimsy on the Vita?

Posted on June 9, 2012 AT 11:22am

The Big Question: Is the Vita’s tech a good match for LittleBigPlanet?

I’ll be honest: to some degree I’ve enjoyed the thought of LittleBigPlanet more than the franchise itself. Media Molecule’s original game didn’t have the kind of superlative platforming we expect from Nintendo, and as much as find Sackboy and his patchwork world charming, the cardboard cutout aesthetic somehow made the gameplay less impactful and wore on me quickly.

I’ve been away from the series for awhile, having only dabbled in the second game (which admittedly looked much better than first LBP, if still a bit too creatively overwhelming) so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the series’ first Vita outing. Although it’s not unfamiliar, LBP Vita nevertheless feels a bit like its own spin on Media Molecule’s formula.

Maybe that’s because it’s one the few times I felt like a Vita game makes good use of its tech. Of the several levels I played, almost all of them used some element of touch, gyroscope and other weird control things.

Thankfully, this isn’t Little Deviants. Actually it doesn’t feel anything like it. As a complement to the typical LBP gameplay, you can, say, use the rear touch panel to push out Tetris-like block platforms (thankfully you can drag your cursor). In one multiplayer stage I played a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots-ish boxing battle with the demo rep, using the face buttons on either side to control the machines.

This level wasn’t the only level that didn’t focus on Sackboy, either—something I really liked about LBP Vita was that it didn’t insist on using the little guy in every available instance. I also played a racing level where I used the Vita’s motion controls to tilt left and right to navigate a ball through an obstacle course, while another had me moving a blob character through a Limbo-esque world only using touch.

It’s hardly revolutionary stuff given that Media Molecule was strict in what the dev team could do, so you can expect the same user generated content and creative freedom of its console brothers (in fact DLC content from LBP 2 can be used here, too). Still, the developers has put their spin on the visuals, it feels smoother than older titles in the series and it actually makes it fun to play with the Vita.

Are you interested in the LittleBigPlanet’s features for the Vita, or has the series worn out its welcome? Let us know in the comment section below.

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