Among PlayStation Vita’s long list of features, the rear touch pad is by far the strangest. This interesting piece of plastic, located opposite the five-inch screen, is similar in size and quite sensitive, allowing users to interact with supported games by placing their fingers directly behind the system.
For now, the most popular game to incorporate the touch pad is Little Deviants, Bigbig Studios’ collection of mini-games. One, in particular, tasks players with directing a ball from point A to point B by raising the virtual world, slowly dragging a finger along the touch pad to make mountains erupt from the ground.
Although it remains to be seen whether this title will whet gamers’ appetites, other developers will also find great uses for the touch pad over the course of Vita’s life.
Right away, Super Monkey Ball seems like a perfect fit. Sega’s popular action/puzzle series tasks players with guiding a monkey encased with a semi transparent ball to the goal by physically tilting the stage. Vita’s analogue sticks fit the bill, but we’d prefer to use the touch pad, which would allow us to control the game without pressing buttons.
This could become one of Vita’s biggest selling points.
The touch pad would also come in handy for throwing grenades. At the moment, Uncharted: Golden Abyss works in tandem with Vita’s touch screen, letting gamers plot a grenade’s trajectory, but doing this forces them to remove their right hands from the face buttons, leaving them open to enemy fire. With the touch pad, they could perform this task with their index fingers while keeping those thumbs where they belong.
Then we have turn-based video games, where the touch pad would prove useful in painting multiple targets at once before launching a special attack.
Over the next several months (and years), we look forward to experiencing new ways to play with the touch pad. We just hope it’s the type of feature developers plan to take advantage of moving forward, as we’d hate to see its potential wasted.
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