Did you know that 8.5 million copies of the LittleBigPlanet series have now been sold? Thatâ€™s an impressive number right there â€” as is the figure of 7 million user-created levels made. Itâ€™s quite, natural, then, that more LittleBigPlanet is on the way â€” this time for the Vita.
The big catch phrase for the Vita at Gamescom has been â€śthe full experienceâ€ť, meaning what you get on the powerful handheld isnâ€™t a watered down experience of a console franchise: instead, itâ€™s the real deal, it just happens to be on a smaller screen. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s being promised by the Vita LittleBigPlanet, and it sure seems like itâ€™s delivering so far.
The new storyline actually sounds kind of interesting, something I canâ€™t say for the other titles (or maybe I was just having too much fun slapping my friends to death). It involves a carnival where the central attraction was a puppeteer of incredible skill, wowing audiences night after night. But he gets bored and complacent over time, until the audience starts booing. Deeply hurt, he runs away â€” only to return all evil and emo. The puppets he once controlled go into hiding, and summon Sackboy to help them overcome the puppeteer.
Or something like that. In any case, the team making the Vita game have a big interest in telling a story filled with memorable characters, so hereâ€™s hoping they pull it off.
Going through the main campaign, everything seems completely normal: this is indeed LittleBigPlanet as you know it on the PS3. Youâ€™ll be navigating your Sackboy through many devious platforming levels, jumping over spikes, avoiding getting squished, and bopping bad guys on the head. The Vita seems to have no trouble replicating the look and feel of LittleBigPlanet.
With two other games to draw from, there is no shortage of customisable items to choose between. The Vita version has an absurd number of options for decorating the world or dressing up your Sackboy. Whatâ€™s more, any DLC youâ€™ve already bought for the PS3 games can be used here at no extra cost, which should please longtime fans.
But most impressive of all? The level designer is here, itâ€™s out in full force, and itâ€™s been adapted to make good use of that touchscreen.
I was taken through some of the basics of the level editor, and while you might think things would be more difficult on the small screen, the touchscreen makes all the difference. The usual gestures and actions youâ€™ve come to expect on your iPhone or Android device are here: you can pinch to zoom, hold down on an object to bring up options, or use your finger to move things around or immediately place copies.
It looks nicely intuitive, and its capabilities were borne out by a selection of levels beta testers had made. Similar to the mind-boggling creations to be found in LittleBigPlanet 2, what was on offer here was hugely varied and impressive. I even remember thinking that any of the crazy different game types on show in the custom levels could each be a standalone mobile game. The tools are hugely robust, powerful and impressively usable â€” and they remain the most impressive part of this Vita version of LittleBigPlanet.
The Good: Everythingâ€™s here. Everything.
The Bad: Itâ€™ll be hard to recreate the joy of four-player local co-op
The Ugly: Most of the levels I'll no doubt be creating upon releasing