From your very first moments in the game's introductory credits, you're invited to explore not just the world, but the console as well. None of the Vita's hardware seems to be overlooked. Even the camera can be used to snap shots of whatever you like and place them all over the game world in sticker form, making relating to your Sackboy avatar easier than you might expect. You can place the stickers with your hands on the touchpad, too, just like you might place them in real life. Being constantly encouraged to assist your little Sackboy avatar by manually rearranging the world around him really contributes to the credibility of the planet's pint-sized scale.
While it's impressive that the game incorporates so many of the console's functions into play, it can become tricky keeping up with so many things at the same time. Sometimes you'll need to touch up to three places at once, which could be problematic for players with smaller hands. You'll also have to mind how you're resting your hands on the rear touchpad or your vehicle might unexpectedly crash into a wall.
As you race through the game's labyrinth of single player pursuits, you're constantly reminded of the fact that this game isn't only designed for you to explore alone. Every so often you'll wander by an alley or ledge with a big flashing "2X" sign hovering nearby, meaning you'll need another player to come along with you in order to explore further. While the constant encouragement to include friends can really add to the game's lively feel, it might be a bit of a downer to those that are not playing alone by choice.
Even after you've beaten the campaign you're advised to venture out of The Puppeteer's world and into another user's creation, or to build your own. Making your own levels for other users to play through can be one of the most personal and creative ways you can interact with this game, too. Level building allows you a great deal of control, prompting the user to dictate nearly every aspect of the environment they generate, down to minute details like how many respawns a given checkpoint is good for.
Although keeping track of this game's many features can be a task in itself, their presence serves only to heighten the excitement of play rather than frustrating you with needless complexity. You're sure to be surprised by just how much is going on in this tiny but ever-expanding handheld world.
Bottom Line: LittleBigPlanet PS Vita has a compelling story and is a joy to play through. Its ability to successfully integrate so many of the Vita's hardware functions makes gameplay both challenging and entertaining. Allowing players to contribute to its world by building their own levels is simply the cherry on the sundae.
Recommendation: If you've got a fondness for platformer games or you want to try your hand at building one, do yourself a favor and give this game a chance to impress you.
Game: LittleBigPlanet Vita
Developer: Double Eleven
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation Vita
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)