Sackboy’s latest appearance sees him ditching the big screen world of the PS3 and touring a smaller but perhaps even more impressive one. Even better, it’s a wholly original outing rather than a console cutdown, one that takes full advantage of the powerful handheld’s features.
The story mode offers a lengthy tour of the world of Carnivalia, a brilliantly designed set of circus-themed locations that add a slightly darker, though no less charming, look to Craftworld. While gameplay seems familiar on the surface – a mix of platforming, puzzle solving and creative level design – the Vita adds numerous ways to manipulate the world as you’re playing. Most obviously are blue and green blocks that can be moved around at a touch, or popped in and out of the background to create new paths. Other features use the tilt and camera functions to either alter the gameplay or deliver inventive minigames that liven things up between story levels.
It’s content creation that any LBP title lives or dies by though, and the Vita enhances this in exciting new ways. Direct manipulation of stickers, objects and level elements via touch is so intuitive that it feels like the game should have always been this way. The real killer is changes to the toolset itself though, notably with the Memorizer. This lets you add save points to your own creations – not much use if you just want to recreate classic Sonic or Mario levels but coupled with the wider game making suite introduced with LBP2 on the PS3, opens the door for epic-sized user-created worlds.
Playing Little Big Planet on the Vita is a bit like falling in love; you never realised how much was missing until you experience it. With Sir Stephen of Fry’s soothing narration gently guiding you through Sackboy’s adventure once more, sharp multiplayer options and literally thousands of unlockable items to hunt down, this is firmly the best game yet released for the Vita.
Reviewed by Matt Kamen