The continuing escapades of Sackboy, LBP’s highly customisable protagonist, make the transition to the rather more small-scale platform of PS Vita in impressive faction; developers Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven managing to cram just as much (if not more) options for creation into LBP PS Vita than was present on its PS3 forebears.
In its natural solo-player state LBP is of course a platformer, and here we find perhaps the most defined Sackboy adventure yet as his journeys take him through the marionette world of Carnivalia in pursuit of the Puppeteer, whose army of joyless ‘Hollows’ must be stopped before it’s curtains for the multiverse.
LBP has ever walked its own path as far as platformers go and LBP Vita is no different as frequent progress checkers render death nought but a minor inconvenience. Similarly jumping precision is far from that of a Mario title say, but then LBP’s stages are more about fun and frolics than meticulous leaps – though be warned that to reap every prize you’ll need to complete levels without dying which is something of a tall task given the insta-death nature of many of the game’s hazards.
Thankfully a cast of weird and wonderful characters are there to help, from Mrs. Sunshine, a depressed Mancunian clown, to underwhelming action hero Sean Brawn; while Sackboy will be granted ‘Grabinator’ gloves, grapple hooks, missile launchers and more to aid him. Stages – set across forests, scrap yards and spooky mansions – are puzzle-laden follies making elegant use of the Vita’s touchscreens and tilt technology.
Don’t expect to be overly challenged throughout the game’s campaign, think of it merely as a guide to show just what’s possible before it turns to you to become the creator. That said, even if you don’t intend to create anything, there’s scant chance you’ll ever run out of new experiences to play as other users upload their ware.
If you do fancy taking the time to build something unique for yourself then Stephen Fry-voiced tutorials are on hand to guide you through the design process with only your creativity limiting what you can accomplish. Here too the Vita’s touchscreens come into their own – though the analogue stick method used on PS3 is still present – while more-or-less every single tool on the PS3 versions make the journey intact and even your DLC outfits from previous games should be free to use here.
The addition of The Arcade – which enables the creation of app style mini-games – adds yet more choice into a game brimming with potential. Essentially it gives you a way to have a player’s progress saved so they can dip in and dip out as you might in Angry Birds say, similarly it will also record your score so that you can have player’s efforts graded out of three stars say.
Ultimately you get out of LBP what you put into it. If you continue to explore then countless extras and two-player only worlds are yours to be discovered (and that’s before you get to the user generated content) and the brilliance of the game is that you’re not constrained to platformers, with whole other genres possible so flexible is the game’s engine. That the Vita is portable means you can even design and plan on the move and I can’t wait to see what people come up with in a game which makes us all into games developers.
Format: PS Vita
Developer: Tarsier Studios and Double Eleven