GAME NAME: Little Big Planet PS Vita
DEVELOPER(S): Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation Vita
GENRE(S): Imagination Realiser
RELEASE DATE(S): 9/25/2012
You know what makes everything about Little Big Planet better? Having it on the go. And before you even start, yes I am aware of, and played LBP on the PSP. Comparing those two games though would be like comparing the Death Star to a mop. The improvements to the LBP formula within LBP Vita not only blows away its previous mobile predecessor but might just be better than king LBP2 himself.
Create mode has been greatly expanded and adapted for the Vita’s capabilities, namely, touch. Now instead of attempting to draw a panel using the analog stick you can attempt to draw it with your finger. What this has done has effectively lowered the bar for would-be creators looking to jump into LBP. The ease in which you can move around logic boards or place decorations can assist even the most skilled creator as well.
But the touch tools are not limited just to the create mode itself. Using new tools, like the Touch Sensor, you can create your own stages that rely entirely on touch for controls. Some of the side levels in the main game demonstrate this point very well by giving you games that are not even remotely like LBP and use touch for every action. Of course since creating is up to you, the UI of your level is entirely depended upon your skill as a creator. But given enough time and practice, and if you watch all 67 tutorials, you will be creating masterpieces in no time.
For your more “high end” creators, several new tools and options have been put into place to assist in your design. The obvious tool to point out is the Memorizer, which remembers the value of an input and will take that value into another level. This would give you the ability to create things like an inventory system, resource management, or any number of RPG tropes. The less obvious example would be something like an additional option added to the Or gates. The Or gates now let you choose between a signal being overwritten by a stronger one, or to add both of the signals together and send that number onward.
In LBP2 doing math was exceedingly difficult, as you can see above, but now it is as simple as changing an option. Other options, such as having a positional timer, or exporting your math to a note to test your results, have made creating complicated logic chains much easier. However, those high end users might also find the lack of more “obvious” additions frustrating.
An example being tossed around whenever the Memorizer was mentioned has been creating an RPG system. However, most of LBP works within a very Binary system, meaning something is either on, or it is off. This means that instant computations for things like damage, or curing, are near impossible. There is a way, you can see it below, but it is convoluted and extremely difficult to create and to explain.
Creating that board also required looking up user tutorials online, as not one lick of it was explained in the ingame tutorials. The tutorials themselves are pretty standard fare and introduce a new player to the basic mechanics for creating a level. However they just barely scratch the surface of what is possible and fail to talk about some of the new features entirely. For example, the Memorizer is explained in two videos with absolutely no hands on time with it. The way the tutorials are done is “fine” but could have, and probably should have, been much better. Maybe an “Advanced User” tutorial section, for helping you understand some of the more complicated procedures better. As crazy as it is to say, 67 tutorials is simply not enough to understand the depth at which LBP Vita can operate.
Aside from the complaints, LBP Vita is actually an extremely enjoyable game. It has a fun story mode, new and interesting tools have been added, and it runs and looks very close to LBP2. The real issue is that Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven went so far in creating this game but just not far enough. If you are just coming into LBP this is a fantastic place to start. If you are a long time creator you will probably find this game hugely enjoyable even with any frustrations. Plus, having LBP on the go alleviates that whole “staring blankly at your TV trying to solve one issue” syndrome.