Preview: Playstation Vita

This is probably going to be a short one, despite playing on the Vita twice, I got about 15 minutes with it in total.

The first game I played was Sound Shapes, a platformer with a heavy focus on music by Jonathan Mak, creator of Everyday Shooter. You play as a a sticky ball and the aim is to collect dots that are scattered around each level. As you collect them the world becomes more alive and more elements are added to the music. You have to do this while avoiding the many hazards which also move to the rhythm of the music. I got to try two levels which were both a bit easy but I imagine they were early ones. It was quite fun and fairly straightforward, you can move, jump and climb up walls. It’s a simple game with some good puzzles.

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There’s also a “sound lab” which is pretty much a level editor. You use this to create your own levels which can be shared with friends or online. This also means that even after you’ve completed the game, there’ll be plenty more levels for you to try, a lot like LittleBigPlanet. I had a short go on this, using the touch screen to make levels was really nice, it worked well and it was very responsive. I’m not very much of a music person so I wasn’t able to create anything too good. I guess that is one problem but I can still see myself having fun with it.

Next up is WipEout 2048. I haven’t played much WipEout before, last one being 2097 on the PSOne. It was really fun to play but it hasn’t changed much, though that may be a good thing. I can see myself using the buttons to play it more often than the motion control. The motion controls were fairly good but a bit flawed, it felt too awkward trying to turn corners, and using the touch pad on the rear to accelerate was a bit fiddly. The touchpad controls are fairly basic, you just press down on it to accelerate, it felt like it was just thrown in there to make use of the touchpad. I didn’t get to play this one as much as I would have liked to but it was fun and I might pick it up when I get a Vita.

As for the Vita itself, it was really nice to use. It felt pretty solid, it fitted in the hands well and the controls were easy to use especially the analog sticks. They were certainly much better to use than the PSP’s analog nub, the analog sticks on the Vita actually felt like the analog sticks you get on controllers, just smaller. The Vita wasn’t too heavy either, obviously not as light as a PSP-3000 but it didn’t seem like holding it for long periods of time was going to be a problem. I didn’t really have any problem with it at all, I kept putting my hand on the rear touch pad at first but it didn’t take me long to get used to it. I would like to have had a go at using the system’s OS but they weren’t showing that. The graphics were easily the best I’ve seen on any handheld, while Sound Shapes wasn’t exactly pushing the system to its limits, it still looked great as did WipEOut 2048.

I look forward to seeing more of the PS Vita in the future. With its game line-up already looking good and the price being reasonable it looks like Sony has learned from the PSP launch mistakes.

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