“It’s a test, designed to provoke an emotional response.”
— Holden, from Blade Runner
One of the most anticipated games on the PS3, LittleBigPlanet, is a side-scrolling 3D platformer that lets players create their own levels and publish them on PlayStation Network. Sounds simple enough. So why the anticipation? LittleBigPlanet brings a devious weapon to the mix: you have the ability to make your Sackboy\Sackgirl emote. Quite frankly, we are stunned at what this brings to the multiplayer gameplay as up to three friends join you to play through the story levels or travel the user-created levels.
The single-player levels are where you’ll unlock various items, costumes, stickers and the like to use when creating your own levels. You can also unlock hidden areas, some of which are only unlockable when playing with more than one Sackperson. The genius of these of levels is that Media Molecule, the developer, insisted that all levels be created with the in-game editor. In effect, if you see it in the “official” game, you can make it yourself, too. This doesn’t mean the game feels handicapped; in fact, some single-player levels are downright tough, and you’ll soon dread seeing any type of wheel to grab onto.
The editor tool also has a series of tutorials, which help somewhat, but they don’t come close to depth you’ll want. To be honest, we found the tool a bit daunting starting out, but after a series of experiments we started getting better. Still, even if “rolling your own” is too challenging, the user-created levels out there will take your breath away and show what this tool is capable of achieving, so you can still appreciate the level editor to a certain degree.
The controls, on the other hand, are quite simple, as you can jump, grab and pull certain things with ease. However, LittleBigPlanet has three positions on its Z-axis, so it’s a little clunky to switch between the three and can feel at times like you’re fighting the game to do so. With a simple press of the D-pad, your Sackperson can also show three stages of happiness: sadness, anger and confusion. On top of that, you also have control over arm movement, and figuring out the Slap move and combining all three will bring a smile to your face.
Although it seems to rely on user-created content for its success more than its developer-created levels, the implementation of the level editor is nothing short of genius. Simply put, LittleBigPlanet delivers the goods and then some, and you’ll have trouble finding another title on the PS3 that has the same pick-up-and-play and family appeal as this game. In an age where few games deliver the desire to punch your fist into air and yell “YEAH!” LittleBigPlanet does just that. This game is a true delight, making us point proudly to our PS3 and say “THIS is why I play video games.”
Click here to buy LittleBigPlanet at Amazon.com.
- Score: 9.5
— Phil Vollmer