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Little Deviants Review

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On 02/18/2012 at 06:33 PM by Vic Roman

This glorified tech demo fails to deliver an entertaining experience.

For someone who really likes touch- and motion-controlled mini-games.

It is immediately clear that Little Deviants was designed to let you play with all of the Vita’s features. Within the first half hour you will use the touch screen, rear touch pad, motion controls, camera, and even the microphone. The ideas displayed are definitely interesting, but within that first half hour you will have seen everything the game has to offer. By the time I reached my first hour of gameplay I was already bored of all of the mini-games – even the good ones.

Different mini-games use the Vita’s tech in different ways. In one game you will use the rear touch pad to raise the environment and roll a ball shaped character around the map, while another requires you to pinch the front and back touch pads to launch a character around a boxing ring to take out baddies. The most innovative mini-game places you in a hot air balloon and requires you to turn your Vita sideways while using the rear pad, touch screen, and motion controls all at once.

There’s no questioning that some of them are genuinely fun. One game makes you pilot a ship through an on-rails level where you navigate by moving the Vita as if it is a steering wheel. These motion controls work accurately and comfortably as you madly steer to try to collect stars and avoid hitting traps and walls.

My favorite is an interesting variation on “Whack A Mole” where you're in a house and must hit robots that appear behind doors while avoiding children and other characters. The twist that makes this game fun and unique is that sometimes the robots will be facing the screen and other times they will face away from the screen – you either hit enemies with the rear pad or touch screen depending on their orientation. This creates a great level of challenge as well as a creative use of the Vita’s touch capabilities. However, this “Whack A Mole” imitation has one hindering element – if your hands are too small it will be very difficult to go back and forth between the rear pad and touch screen. My fiancée took a go at this mini-game and enjoyed it, but immediately complained that her hands weren’t big enough to cover the area of the screen.

Little Deviants may offer some fun moments, but there is one bad mini-game for each good mini-game. The first offender is the aforementioned game that makes you roll your character around a map with the rear touch pad to collect stars and make it to a check point. When you push the rear touch pad, the area of the map that you are touching bulges upwards on the screen, creating a hill that your character can roll on. The tech works well, but it’s very tough to succeed in the game. It is a blind guessing game of where your bulging hill will appear since you can’t see your finger behind the Vita. This means you will often touch the rear pad to find that your finger placement isn’t where you meant for it to be as you send your character to its imminent death. This makes the game extremely tough to complete and nearly impossible to have fun with.

The innovative hot air balloon game is also one of the worst. This is a mini-game where you hold the Vita vertically while rubbing the rear pad to gain height in your hot air balloon, while using the touch screen to hit birds that try to attack you. While doing this you also have to steer the hot air balloon by tilting the Vita left and right. Lastly, you have to protect the hot air balloon from frost by rubbing the touch screen to heat it up. This game wants you to do five things at once and it actually all works well, but it has one fatal flaw. It’s extremely uncomfortable to hold the Vita vertically and feels horribly unstable. I actually feared that I was going to fling the Vita in the air accidentally while playing this game, so I ended up focused on not destroying my Vita instead of enjoying the game. It was not a positive way to spend time with my new and expensive device.

By far the worst part of Little Deviants is a “singing” mini-game that requires you to make noises at your Vita. You have to sing “notes” at the Vita in order to fight off bottles that are flung your way. There are three different “notes” you have to hit in order to attack the bottles, but it is difficult to find what vocal tone the game wants you to make in order to choose between the three different notes. What really makes this game bad though is that you have to make ridiculously stupid sounds – making it an embarrassing game if you try to play it around any other person.

Another publicly embarrassing game is Little Deviant’s augmented reality shooter that plays extremely similar to Face Raiders on the 3DS. Much like Face Raiders, you have to use the gyroscope to look around your room and shoot robots that are trying to kidnap your friends. However, the amount of frantic twisting and turning that you have to do in this mini-game is way more drastic than in Face Raiders. You will look like a complete idiot to anyone around you as you madly turn in circles with your Vita in hand.

At least the aesthetics are nice. The graphics are cute, bright, and colorful with characters that any child would enjoy watching. The audio is also exceptional and adds to the game's cute factor. Despite this, it still fails to impress beyond the surface. There are no characters or worlds in the game that you will specifically remember. I can’t fully place my finger on it, but it misses a special touch to its visuals and characters that prevent it from being iconic like Mario for Nintendo or Sackboy for Sony.

Little Deviants can take you a few hours to complete all of the levels. Considering that many of the mini-games are not enjoyable or are outright embarrassing, you probably won’t want to finish. It’s a good introduction to what the Vita can technically do, but there isn’t much fun to be had here. Even if you do like most of the mini-games, they just repeat over and over with slightly different backdrops but no new gameplay changes throughout the 4 or 5 hours. For me, one hour was plenty.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Nick DiMola Director

02/18/2012 at 07:08 PM

I get why this came with the first edition bundle, but it seems like something that should've been packaged with all the Vitas for free. If they really wanted to make that bundle attractive to more folks, they would've thrown Uncharted in there.

Vic Roman Staff Alumnus

02/19/2012 at 03:31 PM

Those were my thoughts as well, it should have just been built in on the Vita as a bonus rather than a retail title.


02/19/2012 at 06:13 PM

I tried this and it was neat to use some of the Vita's different inputs. Didn't feel like I needed the game though after playing the demo. I think as a pack-in to all the systems that would have been pretty sweet though.

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