Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Little Deviants (Vita) Review

Time for an early morning review to start your day off right. (Well, it's early morning if you're in the GMT -6 time zone like I am!) This next game was a launch title for the PlayStation Vita. Unfortunately, it's a rather weak mini-game collection. The charm is there, but something got in the way of making this game truly good. It's Little Deviants time on SuperPhillip Central!

These are not the deviants you are looking for.


Can you believe that the PlayStation Vita is already over two years old? With every system launch, there are titles that stand out and titles that are better left forgotten. While a fair share of the games that released were top-tier titles, the mini-game collection known as Little Deviants serves as an example of the latter type of title. Serving as a combination of a tech showcase of the Vita's various functionality and a mini-game collection, Little Deviants was a game that launch buyers of the Vita should have avoided.

During a flight through space, the deviants' ship suffers a crash landing on a foreign planet home to some very ferocious creatures. Through completing mini-games, the deviants collect various broken fragments of their ship in order to get the overall goal of escaping the planet in one piece. 

There are two modes in Little Deviants, a "Story" mode that has you playing through the 30+ mini-games, trying to earn the bronze trophy needed to unlock a new game, and a "Games" mode which allows you to play any of the mini-games you have already beaten in Story mode without having to cycle through as many menus as you would otherwise.

This is the map in Story mode where you
select which mini-game you'd like to play.
The PlayStation Vita hardware comes packed with a plethora of functions on it, and Little Deviants aims to use all of them, whether that's a beneficial thing to the whole product or not. You see, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. That's the case with Little Deviants. Many times I cursed the awkward controls, whether they be touch, motion, or sound-based, wishing I was using traditional analog or button inputs.

While the different control ideas used in Little Deviants are ingenious, the way they are executed leaves a lot to be desired. For example, take a game where you have to roll your little deviant friend through a landscape, collecting keys, avoiding obstacles, and making it to each level's goal. Sounds easy enough, but when you factor in that you move the deviant around by fiddling with the imprecise and impractical rear touch screen to create hills to "push" your character, things get very frustrating very quickly. This is especially so when you need precise movements with a control setup that is anything but precise.

Many times you'll want your deviant to
move one way, yet he'll move the other!
Other games feature augmented reality, having the player shoot down enemy UFOs trying to snatch deviants in midair. You circle around in your position and aim the Vita to shoot down foes. My issue here is that for a portable system that is supposed to be for on-the-go usage, why do so many mini-games in Little Deviants make it so you'd look like a fool playing them in public? This isn't like "I'm too insecure to play a portable gaming system in public", it's more like "I already suffer from mental illness-- I don't want to make myself look crazier in public than I already am."

Don't mind me. I'm just spinning around
in the middle of my block like a madman.
Now not all of the games are hindered poorly by shoehorned use of the Vita. There's a mini-game where windows open on a series of apartments, and your job is to tap either the front or rear touch screens depending on where they face. Of course, you have to be careful of hitting friendly characters, as you will get a time penalty for every friendly you smack.

No vacancy for you evildoers!
Regardless, outside of the controls themselves, what makes many of mini-games so annoying is each one's duration. The majority of games in Little Deviants take upwards of five minutes to pass them, and that's not including trying to go for the rare gold trophy, earned by scoring a massive amount of points on a given mini-game. If you're a completionist, you'll most likely continuously need to play each mini-game just to slowly boost your score each time. This is a major time commitment and makes many of the mini-games feel less mini and more crazy.

Like Pac-Man, but with tilt controls
thrown in for bad measure.
Furthermore, when one thinks of a mini-game collection, they most likely think of something for the whole family or a group of friends to sit down and play. Little Deviants deviates from this norm by only containing single player for all of its games. All you get with this title are friend leaderboards and a means to takes jabs at others for besting their scores. Disappointing is an understatement, to say the least.

I bet this is a better product than the WWE these days.
Little Deviants is what you get when a developer gets a little too ambitious and takes every feature of a new piece of hardware and makes a collection of tech demo mini-games out of them. Such an end result of this is what you see with Little Deviants. With myriad times where traditional controls would work better than what is provided, no multiplayer at all, and most mini-games taking way too long to play through for the player to receive a respectable score, Little Deviants is a difficult mini-game compilation to recommend. For a better introduction to the features of the PlayStation Vita, and a free one at that, the already included Welcome Park application is where owners of Sony's portable need to turn to. 

[SPC Says: 4.0/10]

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