A mixture of mini-games, Little Deviants serves the Vita well as a demonstration of its feature set - if nothing else. From firing your character by pinching the front and back of your Vita, to steering an out-of-control rocket by tilting the device, you'll spend little time trying to figure out what to do but loads of time mastering each technique.
A recipe for success? While the answer to that question is far from emphatic, it is clear that there's something on the surface worth persevering with. Let's take a look...
Little Deviants is in fact a collection of some thirty odd mini-games, each of which put you in the shoes of an alien that's trying to get home. The problem is, the locals aren't exactly being accommodating... a bunch of shuffling zombie-types, they'll do whatever they can to put you in an early grave, so your goal becomes as much about survival as it is about finding the bits of your crashed spaceship (or something - it's not important).
This plays out in a series of games that, as intimated in the opening paragraph, seem as much about leveraging the Vita's various input mechanics as they are about presenting a particularly enjoyable experience. We won't detail them all here, but in order to adequately describe the experience it's important to explain at least a few of them...
ne of the signature minigames in Little Deviants, Rolling Horror requires you to push the ground up (using the rear touch) in order to roll your character around, collecting keys, and finding their way to the exit.
What is initially a thrilling experience (after all, there's never been anything like it) eventually becomes tiresome and frustrating - thanks in no small part to the fact that controlling a character in this way isn't actually much fun. Add in the regular accidental extra touch of the hidden back touch panel, which prevents intended input, and you have something that is ultimately more of a chore to complete than a joy to experience.
his ultra simple game presents the player with a bunch of doors which will occasionally open to reveal the occupant of the room beyond. If that occupant is a robot, you must push it out of the room by touching it from behind; given it can be facing towards or away from you, that means using either front or rear touch inputs as required.
Add in pickups, friends that you don't want to push around, and ever-escalating speed / difficulty and you have a surprisingly compelling experience.
his is probably the easiest to explain, but one of the harder ones to master. Think: tilt-controlled Pac-Man. Your ball-like character is in a maze and you must, by way of the Sixaxis motion control, keep him out of the way of the bad guys while collecting all of the powerups and score stars you can find. It's a clever title, reminiscent of the classic "Labyrinth" tabletop game, and genuininely fun to experience.
Like many of the games in the collection, though, it's hamstrung by its reliance on a time limit. The game is already challenging without it; adding in this extra pressure flips the feeling you get from playing it from joyous to frustrated.
trapped to a rocket, you're being chased by a massive munching machine; you need to escape by collecting (and using) speed boost powerups while also gathering stars to boost your score.
Again, it's fun-ish. The camera is at an annoying jaunty angle, which makes it harder to pick your path than perhaps it needs to be. There's definitely the germ of something special here but, due no doubt to the pressure of making thirty games at once, it's never fully explored.
hile a couple of the games are downright boring, and a few frustratingly difficult, most do definitely have an interesting X-factor about them; even if they're ultimately hamstrung by a lack of polish.
Visually it's at least stylistic, if not particularly accomplished. The whole audio visual package, in fact, has a very Team 17 / Worms feel about it; the little Deviants you're trying to save even have a language and high-pitched voice that is very similar to Team 17's invertebrates. It never forces the Vita into a sweat and, like much of the gameplay, smacks of something with potential that's not quite realised.
If you're keen on having a varied experience and becoming intimately familiar with the various input options of the Vita, it's absolutely worthy of your attention. Just don't expect something particularly polished or consistent. If you're hoping that Bigbig Studios will get another crack at the franchise, I've got bad news for you. Hopefully another team at Sony does revisit the concept one day, though; there's definitely something cool lurking in here. It just needs a bit more time and love applied to it...