Tiny Troopers Joint Ops review for PS3, PS Vita

Platform: PS3
Also On: PS Vita
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Kukouri Mobile Entertainment
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

It seems pretty reasonable to me to expect that Tiny Troopers Joint Ops should be at its best on the PS Vita. After all, it was developed by a company with “Mobile” right in their name, and its gameplay and mechanics seems like they were tailor-made for short, pick up and play sessions and the handheld’s touchscreen.

Here’s the surprising thing, though: the Vita version of the game is kind of terrible. It relies way too much on touch controls, particularly considering it’s a dual thumbstick shooter that doesn’t even use half the buttons at its disposal. (It won’t be remembered in the annals of bad design or anything, but expecting players to be able to move their squads around wth both thumbsticks while at the same time using extra weapons via touch controls is kind of ridiculous.) Consequently, because the controls are so bad, the level of difficulty borders on impossible, with even the easiest levels being filled with unbeatable enemies.
Tiny Trooper Joint Ops 2

Which leads to the other surprising thing: Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is way, way better on PS3. To some extent, I guess this shouldn’t be such a shock — after all, if gaming is better with buttons in general, then it stands to reason that the version of the game that uses buttons instead of touch controls will be better than the one that tries to incorporate a touchscreen. Still, it’s pretty remarkable how much better the game is on a console. With the controls more balanced, it naturally follows that the difficulty level is suddenly a lot more fair, which in turn means it’s possible to actually enjoy the game.

Tiny Trooper Joint Ops 1

True, the levels on the PS3 version are identical to the ones on the handheld, which means that if you go into it expecting some kind of lengthy experience, you’ll be a little disappointed. But a tiny bit of disappointment over a game’s length is infinitely better than endless disappointment with a game’s general terribleness, which is what you’d be getting if you pick up the game on the Vita. So my advice: ignore the fact the game is cross-buy, and just look at it in terms of getting a good, solid PS3 (and eventually PS4) experience. It won’t be the most essential purchase you ever make, but it will still be worthwhile.

Grade: B