Small ugly UFO men. Wonderfully silly mini-games. All PS Vita's functions in use. A sea of bright colors and fine ideas. This, basically, is the premise for Little Deviants.
The experience is rather odd. Players have thirsted for a handheld console offering two analogue sticks (Circle Pad Pro doesn't count). But their use is mostly absent in this launch title. Meanwhile, others are welcoming a handheld device that'll eradicate those mobile titles that consist solely of balancing exercises, touch screen or reaction games.
If you can't see the irony of Little Deviants on PS Vita, let me explain. It's a collection of mini-games, with a few of them the kind that really don't make for solid game experiences on handhelds or mobiles.
Yet Bigbig Studios has gathered a large, colourful package that somehow manages to be more than the sum of its individual parts. If you're willing to ignore some parts and are patient enough to open the rest.
The story's simple. A bunch of little monsters crash-land on Earth (or something similar) and need to recombine their spaceship through a series of mini games so they can return to their home planet. Or something like that. Background's not important: what is, is that they're charming. Important, because you'll be staring at them for many, many mini-games.
Such as parachuting through a line of floating rings. Rolling through mazes of Pac-Man-like worlds. Roll through massive construction sites. Sail in giant underwater worlds Attack invading monsters. Wrestle mad zombies. Dive through narrow corridors and play alternate versions of Wack-a-Mole.
The list is extensive. But the variations mask the same ten basic types of gameplay. That'd be fine, but some feel forced, and at times features feel anything but fun to use.
And the biggest problem is that to progress you'll need to achieve Bronze or higher in your current mini-game, rather than keeping everything unlocked or at least offering you a choice for those games worth playing. Forced play of the boring tasks isn't play at all.
It is a shame as Little Deviants has some fun ideas and some great examples of mini-games. Among other things, I think that the races (and their different variants) which use PS Vita's gyroscope works excellently.
The game serves as a great introduction to the hardware and its capabilities. By the time you're through, you'll have rubbed the screen, tilted the machine. Tickled or stroked the rear touch pad. Swung the console around the room. Used it like a steering wheel. Sung into the microphone. Drawn on both sides to make slingshot and a host of other features.
However, despite the high score leader-boards and a smattering of smaller diversions, you get the feeling the game world could do with more of an overall goal. And while you can argue that the many mini-games suitable for pick up and play are enough, there's already one million iOS and Android titles out there doing it better.
Would I recommend Little Deviants then? The answer is a resounding "maybe". For the youngest in the family there is lots of fun and games to download. For those of us who have already played a lot of these kinds of mini games, it feels like reheated roast. We already know it'll be great tasting, but we're being asked to eat with a spoon instead to "make it more fun".
If that's your idea of a good game meal, then you're unlikely to be disappointed. For us, we'd be happier steering clear of this high-piled plate of goodness - if offers little more than empty calories.
- System:PS Vita
- Developer:Bigbig Studios
- Offline players:1
- Age limit:From 1 years
- Release date:22 February 2012
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