A new hardware launch is always an exciting time for gamers. The most eager of the North American Playstation Vita pre-orderers purchased the First Edition, which arrived a week early. As a result, these gamers also received a copy of Little Deviants, a mini-game collection packaged to showcase all of the device’s features. Little Deviants was developed by Bigbig Studies, who recently faced an unfortunate fate prior to the game’s launch. While I was definitely impressed with the Playstation Vita, I entered this experience with low expectations. Mini-game collections and I have rarely gotten along nicely, and I expected nothing more than some shallow and repetitive gameplay. What I got was much worse.
Starting on the brightest note, Little Deviants is somewhat charming. Not in character or personality (I found the characters and scenarios obnoxious), but visually. One of the mini-games has your character free-falling from a plane. While the characters and environments are nothing to write home about, the clouds were particularly stylistic. It is rather unfortunate when this is the only compliment awarded to the game. Additionally, the game does not persistently impress with its art style. At times, the game is stylish, but in the blink of an eye it can all turn into a generic mess. The audio is not an improvement either. The character’s noises are annoying and I can’t honestly recall a single track. Little Deviants is as forgettable of an experience as you’d expect.
Since Little Deviants is comprised of about 30 games, the gameplay varies. Most of the time, the controls are the biggest obstacles. I appreciate Bigbig’s effort in introducing the system’s unique features, but most of the games feel broken. There is a Pac-Man clone that requires you to tilt in order to turn. Needless to say, this was nothing more than a failed experiment. In fact, that is the biggest problem. Little Deviants require these obscure inputs. Most of these mini-games would play properly if the analog stick was used. Instead, the game forces a ridiculous control scheme that is simply not practical. In addition, these mini-games are cursed with the fate of overstaying their welcome. Playing a Whack-A-Mole clone is tedious, but is even worse when the game lasts 2-5 minutes. One must wonder why Bigbig condemned the most powerful handheld system to perform the most mundane tasks.
There is not much to say about Little Deviants that hasn’t been said. If singing into the microphone (assumable in public, considering that it is a portable console) and awkwardly holding the machine in order to use the rear-touch panel sounds even remotely satisfying, this might be the game for you. If not, there are better games available. Most of the games within Little Deviants are unoriginal experiments that don’t work. The few unique games are tainted with poor controls and last way too long. After playing the game, it is easy to see why Sony shut down Bigbig Studies.