Tuesday, June 30

LittleBigPlanet Game of the Year Review

I played on: PS3
I paid: £5 (eBay)
Available on: PS3
Notes: There are games called LittleBigPlanet on both PSP and PS Vita but these are not the same as this original.

LittleBigPlanet is a wonderful game full of charm and creativity. With the Announcement of Sackboy's big adventure, this feels like the perfect time to return to this delightful series. LittleBigPlanet packed a double whammy with a zany platformer and powerful level creator. This felt like a breath of fresh air in 2008 but does it feel as novel today? Short answer, yes. Long answer...

Let's start with the presentation, which is fantastic. From the joyous soundtrack to the fun and goofy sound effects this game nails the sound design. The visuals follow suit with everything feeling bright and just silly enough to make your inner child smile. I love how everything looks like it's been lovingly put together from pieces of felt, cardboard and plastic. The entire story mode feels like your playing in someone's diorama passion project.

Next up we have the gameplay which really is the heart of LittleBigPlanet. For the most part, this is a standard 2.5D platformer. You have 3 layers you can move between allowing for objects and characters to overlap each other. Of course, you have your jump which allows you to scale the traps and threats in each level or jump on enemies to take them out. You can use certain pickups such as the jetpack or paintinator simply by running over them. The Jetpack does what you would expect it to, allowing you to fly around. Most the time these are restricted to certain areas but some online community levels are entirely based around them. The paintinator which is part of the Metal Gear Solid DLC is a paintball gun and allows for simple shooting within levels. Playing through the DLC missions with it is a blast, especially taking out Metal Gear Rex with it during the final level. You won't find it in any of the base game levels through so it gets most its use from the community levels online.

Then you have where you will spend most of your time playing this game, the level creator. Boy oh boy is this thing great! Now I will admit I'm far from talented with it but making even simple levels is a joy to behold. You're able to create almost anything you can think of with so many tools, objects, decorations and so on that it's pointless even trying to name them all. What I will say is all the levels in the base game and the DLC are made with this same creator. The complexity of these gorgeous levels shows what a talented hand can manage. If you want more examples of what is possible then just jump online to the community levels and marvel at what has been achieved. The creativity of this game's players is brain boggling. I've played haunted house levels that were honestly creepy, a remake of Resident Evil 2 and much more. This really is something that has to been seen to be believed.

All of this being said this game does have its flaws. There were points where my character would auto-switch layers at the worst times leading to my death. I also had issues with the difficulty spike towards the end of the game as it gets really hard out of nowhere. The frame rate also dipped during a few community levels but this could be due to poor optimisation on the creators part. The tutorials on the creator mode are hidden within different menus. The idea, in theory, is that when you find a new tool in the materials, tools or sticker menus you have to play a short tutorial. After finishing that you then unlock new tools and objects which are in their respective menus. The problem, in reality, is that until you use one tool you don't unlock the next one so you really don't know what you're missing. This was improved in later games but it's still an issue here.

Overall these nitpicks don't harm the game enough to make it any less than an unforgettable and unique experience. If you own a PS3 then you really do need to play this classic!

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

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