Finger poking fun…
Little Deviants follows the story of a bunch of troublesome intergalactic creatures that have crash landed on the strange world of Whoman, and are being pursued by the evil botz. These mischievous creatures are called Goopher, Blobber,Freezing, Frosty, Pyruss and Nucleor, and each of them have different personalities and abilities that can be used throughout the game.
The weird world of Whoman is split into six different regions, each offering a variety of thrilling, and often frustrating, challenges. Your objective is to repair the Little Deviants broken spaceship by travelling through 30 of its mini games and gathering the required parts. The first game you’ll try out is one called Rolling Pastures in which you get to utilize the PS Vita’s rear touchscreen to manipulate the landscape environment and make the Deviant move. It’s a really strange experience to begin with as you carefully slide your finger on the rear touchscreen, which has the effect of seeming like you are poking your finger through the environment, resulting in your Deviant rolling around the screen. So you need to roll the Deviant carefully around the levels finding the scattered items that are needed for you to eventually open the green portal and progress. The items range from clocks which give you extra time, to stars that boost your score.
Moving through Rolling Pastures, you’ll need to avoid the evil Botz, who are constantly moving around the levels waiting to damage you. The whole rolling of the Deviant around the level by manipulating the environment has a distinct Monkey Ball feel about it, and it can get quite frustrating due to the lack of control and the various scenery behind which it is all to easy to get stuck.
By collecting the stars to boost your score, you can earn a bronze, silver or even gold award. Trying to collect everything on a level can be quite addictive, but the green exit portal does have an area of effect and on more than one occasion I found myself being sucked in as I was innocently passing by to grab the last few goodies. It didn’t stop me from trying to collect everything that I could and complete a level, but it was frustrating when it happened. If you happen to have plenty of patience, then maybe you would succeed in collecting everything, but I would imagine many gamers wouldn’t bother.
The collection of 30 mini games make use of most of the PS Vita’s new functions. For example, playing Shack Shover will see you having to tap the back of a Botz using the rear or front touch screen of the PS Vita, depending on which way they are facing. They are all standing behind window shutters within a building and the doors randomly open to reveal where they are hiding. If they face towards you, you have to tap the backscreen, but if they have their back to you you have to tap the front screen, all the time trying to avoid throwing Whomans or Deviants out of the window. You only have two minutes to get it right, before you progress to the next stage. It’s frantic mini game fun as the window shutters open in quick succession and eventually you find yourself tapping back and forth from the front and rear touchscreen like your life depended on it. It’s a great use of the PS Vita’s touchscreens and it’s an incredibly intense experience as you try and second guess where and when the next window shutter will open.
Another mini game is Cloud Rush and in this you must guide Goopher Deviants through a selection of green rings using the PS Vita’s motion sensors. Tilting the PS vita, it’s quite difficult to guide your little parachute Deviant as he throws himself from a plane, head first into a series of green rings. You can use the left and right shoulder buttons to speed up or slow down, but he always seemed to miss the rings completely for me.
The storyline in Little Deviants is generally played out through a collection of bold and bright cut-scenes in which the cute little characters are more often than not running for their lives. The game is very pretty to look at and both the presentation and in-game visuals are vibrant and crisp. The entire package is wrapped in humour, resulting in plenty of moments that will leave you smiling to yourself.
But despite the top notch presentation and the interesting use of the PS Vita functions, the gameplay itself was too fiddly and too frustrating too much of the time to be fun for more than a short gaming session. The game has potential, but ultimately left me feeling slightly shortchanged.