E3 2011: Little Deviants Preview

We interact with these little deviants in a variety of ways in this upcoming NGP launch title.

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The last time we saw Little Deviants it was a tech demo at the Sony NGP unveiling in Japan. At Sony's pre-E3 event in Culver City, Little Deviants had transformed beyond just a tech demo; it is now a series of minigames that highlight the new NGP's capabilities. Only four levels were available to play during our demo, but we were told that there will be 30 levels by the time the game ships along with the system.

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Not much is known about the little deviants--what they are and where they come from. All we know is that they come in all shapes and sizes and are incredibly cute. The first level we played was called Depth Charge; it was a timed race to the finish line, and every precious second we had left over would carry over to the next wave played as a jellyfish-like deviant that had to navigate through winding underground corridors to get to the bomb and save the children. Why are the little rascals hanging out underground? Who knows, but each race to the bomb gets harder and harder, with more obstacles getting in your way. The highlight here is that you're using the NGP's Sixaxis to control the deviant, so you're tilting and turning to dodge spikes, nebulas, and other hazards. The only thing you want to aim for are the stars that are available for points, but you lose precious seconds if you take too long.

The next level we tried was called Botz Blast, which highlights the augmented-reality feature where you use the NGP's camera to shoot robots that are chasing the deviants around. You'll probably have to stand up for this, because the deviants will fly in all directions around you, and you have to keep them safe. The robots fire slimy goo at you, making it hard to see. But you can wipe it off the NGP's touch screen with your finger. If you've played the AR games on the Nintendo 3DS, you'll find that AR is a neat feature, but it might pose a bit of a challenge if you're playing in public and have to turn around and shoot robots that happen to be buzzing around someone else's head.

Hole Roll Control was similar to the tech demo we saw, where you use the back touch pad to deform the land. By holding your finger along the back of the NGP, you'll cause the ground to jut up, which in turn will cause your roly-poly deviant to move around the area. The goal here is to get it to the portal while avoiding those nasty robots again. This one takes a bit of getting used to because you need to keep your finger pressed along the back and get your deviant rolling, and it's not quite as easy as if you were to use the Sixaxis instead.

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The final level we saw was House of Whacks. It's basically a Whac-a-Mole-style game that takes place in a large red barn. The layout is a three-by-three grid, similar to tic-tac-toe, and each panel will open to reveal either a deviant or a child. You're supposed to touch only the deviants, not the children. The trick here is that you have to touch them on the face, so they could be facing you or you could see the backs of their heads, in which case you need to use the back touch pad to whack them. The children are also dressed in clever little outfits that make them look like deviants, but if you whap them by accident, you're going to lose points.

The levels that were shown gave us the opportunity to mess with the NGP's various features in a cheerful, fun setting. They're all quick, easy-to-play games, so we're wondering what the other 26 levels will entail. We're told that more will be revealed at E3, so stay tuned. Little Deviants is scheduled to be released as a launch title, whenever that may be.

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