With LittleBigPlanet quickly becoming one of Sony's flagship titles of this generation it was always destined to get a impressive outing on Sony's latest handheld the PS Vita and thankfully, from what we checked out recently, it does not disappoint.
Unlike the previous portable entry in the creative platformer's life, LittleBigPlanet for the PS Vita has been developed by series newcomers Double Eleven with Sony XDev Europe and Tarsier Studios, who have previously developed DLC for both of the Vita's big brother entries on the PS3, lending a helping hand. ShopTo News has had some hands on time with the latest preview build of the game and I'm pretty pleased to say that it perfectly captures the essence and magic of its stay at home brothers.
In our preview code, we had access to a relatively small portion of the game including the intriguing and quite thorough introduction world, which consists of 6 levels of a game made within LBP Vita and a few custom published levels. If you've played any of the previous games then you'll feel right at home here; level design is once again quirky, colourful and extremely varied. After the traditional opening featuring the instantly recognisable tones of Stephen Fry you're chucked into the introduction levels featuring Carnivalia, a joyful circus based world which has been plunged in fear and darkness after an evil puppeteer decided to bring menace to the citizens of Carnivalia. You're quickly given the task of bringing an end to this reign of darkness.
Leading you on this journey is Colonel Flounder, a thick russian accented sackman with a nose the size of a small volcano, who shows you the ropes and all the new techniques only available in the PS Vita version of LittleBigPlanet. These techniques include use of the touch controls with both the front and back touch screens being utilised to great affect. As you'd expect from a LBP game, each level is littered with the traditional collectable bubbles which often contain important level designing materials or wearable items. Sections that require a friend or two return as well, allowing for a little bit of Sackboy teamwork between you and another Vita friend. You'll also be able to use cross-platform features in conjunction with LittleBigPlanet 2 on the PS3, which we understand will arrive on the Vita version soon after launch.
Touch controls really come into their own when you're in the brilliant level editor and fear not, this isn't some cut down editor to fit on to the Vita, in fact it's almost identical to the PS3 version but with added features. Placing sections is actually easier with the touch controls, just place your finger on the screen and create what you want. You can even create levels which utilise only touch controls; To demonstrate this, one of the introduction levels has a fully playable piano/keyboard where you can belt out such hits as "Mary had a little lamb" or whatever you still remember from school.
Our preview build also had access to the Arcade, where the developers had put together a few different mini games showing off the true power of the in game editor. The only mini game we had access to was called "Tapling" a dark and eerie little game which drew a few similarities to Limbos art style. The object of the game was simple: save your taplings and get to the end of the level alive.Tapling is controlled by simple touches on the front touchscreen, you touch to bounce wherever you want to move to. Along the path you'll find walls you can stick to, walls you can bounce off and surfaces you don't have that much friction on. It's a very impressive showcase of what LittleBigPlanet on the Vita is capable off; in fact it's practically a whole new game in itself.
From what we can see, Sackboy's upcoming portable adventure is set to please everyone who gets their hands on it. Despite what some may think, LittleBigPlanet Vita is not a spin-off of the PS3 titles, it's a fully fledged LittleBigPlanet that you're able to take on the go. With the great implementation of the Vita features to the series and the excellent pick up and play ability of the game, Sackboy's latest is set to continue the successful nature and the brilliant quality of the LittleBigPlanet name.
You can pre-order your copy of LittleBigPlanet Vita here.