Little Big Planet PS Vita
This is the game the PS Vita should have launched with. It is, without doubt, one of the best portable titles we have ever played and shines well above the rest of the games currently available on the PS Vita, apart from, perhaps, Uncharted.
It is, for all intents and purposes, a fully featured Little Big Planet game. You get all the platforming, creation, multiplayer and Stephen Fry that's found on the consoles. The difference here is that this version of Little Big Planet adds even more. New levels, new gameplay styles and an easier way to build and control, thanks to the Vita's design. We would even go so far as to say that this is the best Little Big Planet game we have played.
Little Big Planet has never been particularly story-heavy. Something is explained to you at the start, a few characters dropped in and then you negotiate a series of different worlds until the game ends. To be honest nothing has changed here, but then it's totally forgivable, as in the Little Big Planet story just doesn't matter that much.
For those who care, the game tasks you with stopping the evil Puppeteer. One of the more interesting bad guys in the Little Big Planet universe, the Puppeteer is trying to drain all the joy from the game world, called Carnivalia.
It's amazing to see just how creative Media Molecule is with the universe of Little Big Planet. Even though this is the third game in the series, the developers have created a universe so diverse that you want to use all the tools at your disposal to build it.
This is what really matters with Little Big Planet. The formula established so well in the first game still works as well here. Things have developed, naturally, but without breaking the core gameplay experience.
You move Sackboy, the game's main character, through different side-scrolling levels. These levels exist on three difference planes, giving depth to the game - which requires you to move Sackboy back and forth towards or away from the screen.
Couple that with slightly floaty game mechanics and some incredibly innovative level design and you have a very fun to play game. Some 40 levels alone make up the single-player element, not counting the multiple of play-throughs for collecting fans.
Then there is the multiplayer element of Little Big Planet, or rather, the "internet connected" part. You are given access to the entire set of tools used to build the single-player game. Build whatever sort of level you like, upload it and then anyone else in the world with Little Big Planet Vita can play it.
The level-building process is incredibly simple. Using the PS Vita is intuitive and works brilliantly with Little Big Planet's clever building widget. You place objects in the world with different properties, stack them on top of each other or stick them to each other and in the end you create a level. It is, of course, much more complex than that and in many cases people work up truly astounding levels using the LBP system.
Which brings us to the last part of what makes Little Big Planet Vita so good. Once you have worked up a level you can upload it to the web and let others play it. This also works both ways, so you can check out creations made by other people. The problem is, Little Big Planet isn't out yet, so the world just hasn't been populated with content created by others.
Media Molecule has created a great system for letting you work out which levels are best to play. The better the level, the bigger it appears on the game menu, which, by the way, is the conventional planet you've explored in previous games.
Irritatingly multiplayer with others only works over a Wi-Fi network and Media Molecule still hasn't fixed those nasty issues with level loading times. It's forgiveable, partly because that home-made content is already quite a big ask for such a small system, but it's an irritation nonetheless.
So good stuff all round then. In fact we can't fault LBP for much. The only thing that annoys us is that its running on Vita makes it a slightly double-edged sword. On the one hand you have an amazing amount of gaming in your pocket. On the other, there's a fairly restricted user base compared to the PS3 and this is a game that flourishes when a lot of people play it.
If you have a Vita, then pick this up. If you don't, perhaps grab yourself a bargain copy of LBP 2 - it's just as good and right now has more content to enjoy than probably any other game on the PS3.