Ah, Little Big Planet. A creation centre where almost anything is possible, dressed up as a platformer. This, the fourth entry in the series comes at a time when the Vita really needs help lifting off.
Will this game give people a reason to buy a Vita?
It’s a very unique game. I have not had the pleasure of playing the PlayStation 3 versions, which were crafted by Media Molecule, but have looked into what can be done and many other reviews on them, but upon getting my Vita I did get the PSP version to prepare me for this adventure with Sackboy.
This version has been created by Tarsier Studios and Double 11, but you can tell from the second that Stephen Fry starts telling you what is what that you have something special in your hands. Literally.
It’s two very differing sides of a coin. You have on the one hand the story mode. Five worlds of manic platform jumping and puzzle solving, that whilst not especially taxing in themselves, will have you going back for many visits to ensure you collect everything available.
Set in Carnivalia, you are told of the story of the Puppeteer, who has kind of lost the plot and created some bad puppets that want to generally mess the place up. Across the worlds, you find yourself guided by an increasingly strange set of companions into an increasingly stranger set of environments which look, quite simply, stunning on the Vita’s screen, and uses pretty much the entire set of input methods that the Vita can do. It’s also not completely over done, and as such never really feels gimmicky. Along the way you unlock a series of fun mini games to play as a distraction for you, and you can also experience all of this in up to four player co-op.
Now, whether this is just initial server problems or not, this is one of the only bad points that the game has, in my experience so far of playing with LBP Vita, the online co-op has tremendous lag, especially with four. Hopefully this is something that is being looked at, as it’s a shame. On some of the levels you will find yourself having all sorts of fun, and to get ALL the collectables in some levels, you will need at least one other partner. But on sections require precision jumping or timing, can be quite annoying.
Scripted or not, Stephen Fry is bang on form, his familiar warm tones soothe you into the action as the narrative drives you on through the world, and some of the story telling is rather amusing, including a comical encounter with your first new puppet friend.
Customisation of your character plays a large part of Little Big Planet of course, and collection of the prize bubbles through the levels gives you many different costume pieces as you would expect to give your sack boy or girl a unique look. I’ve kind of got an Indiana Jones Emo kind of thing going on right now. You can also buy themed costume packs in the store, and although it will take a while to port it all over, all of the costumes across the Little Big Planet series (except the PSP title) are all subjected to the cross buy scheme, which means they will work across all the titles, which will give a bit more value for money for them.
But of course, the other side of the coin with Little Big Planet series has always been the creation aspect, and the version available here is said to be the best yet. There are 67 different tutorials here to help you get to grips with what is available to you, and as I write this, a week after it has been out, the scope of some of the levels already released are simply amazing. I’m struggling to get to grips with what is here, because it is rather complex, but those of you with a better ability for creativity and perseverence will find that literally your imagination will be the only barrier. Some examples are a Fruit Ninja clone, a balancing on a plane game where you have to stop cows from un-levelling the plane, a side scroller in which your aim is to avoid Jaws, a level inspired by a faithful reproduction of Super Mario Bros and an RPG, with health points, swords and shotguns, and creation mode can also take advantage of the memoriser, which is basically a save game state for the levels too!
The community will be what gives this game lasting appeal, and with literally an unlimited supply of games and levels coming from an unlimited amount of imagination possiblities, this is simply a must have title for any Vita owner.
The game isn’t perfect, if you don’t have a penchant for platformers, or you want a bit more from a story mode, then you may feel disappointed, and despite the many customisation options available you can always wish or more. But the number of levels is essentially infinite and will far surpass anything originally in the box, it time, and will be worth even more if you can actually take advantage of the creative mode yourself.
If you like fun, then enter the imagisphere. It is worth buying a Vita for. just about.