|System: PS Vita|
|Dev: Bigbig Studios|
|Release: February 15, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 544p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Sony's brand new handheld, the PlayStation Vita, is a neat little device with a lot of cool, gimmicky features. Of course, Little Deviants is here to provide a colorful minigame collection that shows off all these features to Vita owners. At this, it certainly excels—it uses the Vita's touchscreen, rear touchpad, Sixaxis gyroscope, camera, microphone, and even Internet capabilities—but should you consider it an actual game or just a compilation of tech demos?
Before we attempt to answer that, let's take a look at what exactly you're getting with the title. There are over thirty minigames here, each with a unique premise. For example, Rolling Pastures has you tap the rear touchpad to raise the landscape and make your Deviant roll around, collecting keys and avoiding hazards. Shack Shover is the game's take on Whac-A-Mole, where doors open on the side of a building and players must tap robots (or Botz) to knock them out of the doorways. The twist here is that the player will need to tap the Botz from behind; some will be facing forward and need to be tapped on the rear touchpad, while others will be facing backward and need to be tapped on the touchscreen.
Botz Invasion is an augmented reality first-person shooter that has the player shooting Botz that are flying around the real-world environment. Corridor Calamity has players tilt the Vita to make the deviant roll through a maze to collect items and avoid zombies and Botz.
Rotten Rumble is one of my favorites, throwing a Deviant into a wrestling ring with a bunch of zombies. Players must "pinch" the Vita (with one finger on the touchpad and another on the touchscreen) to stretch the environment. Letting go will cause the ring to "unstretch" rapidly, catapulting the Deviant across the ring and knocking out whatever zombies are unfortunate enough to get in your path.
All of the games I mentioned are a lot of fun, but obviously not all of Little Deviants' minigames are created equal. There are some I simply don't care for, like Cloud Rush, which has players maneuver a freefalling Deviant through rings that are hovering in the air. (It sort of brings to mind Superman 64, now that I think of it.) For the most part, though, every minigame is at least moderately entertaining, and a majority of them are actually a lot of fun.
Highly competitive players will even be able to log into Sony Entertainment Network and work their way up the leaderboards, or even challenge a friend to beat their high score. There is even an eight-player pass-around feature for local competitions.
Now, one thing that developers of titles like this tend to forget is that without a sense of quirky charm, minigame collections usually fall flat. This is a truth that Little Deviants doesn't ignore. It includes its collection of various Deviants, each with a distinctive look and wacky personality. There's Goopher, the plain orange one; Pyruss, the fire elemental one; Frostal, the frost elemental one; Blobber, the adorable pink gooey one; and Nucleor, the glowing green one with an exposed skeleton floating inside. Players will start with Goopher-exclusive minigames, but will unlock new Deviants as they complete challenges. (They will also be able to uncover cats called Moggers hidden throughout the different games.)
Aside from the Deviants themselves, there are the Whomans (humans) and Botz (robots), as well as an assortment of adorable zombies. Zombies come in several varieties, from the chainsaw-wielding to the acid-spewing. The unique abilities of each zombie type actually make for some interesting gameplay variations when they are applied to various minigames. In Rotten Rumble, for example, chainsaw zombies must be stunned before they can be hit, and acid-spewing zombies will cause your screen to get blurry.