Little Big Planet Review
Little Big Planet blindsided the industry back in early 2007. Since its initial unveiling it has stolen the hearts of the industry and its poised to become a new big hitter franchise for Sony. How well does Media Molecule’s first game hold up? Lets find out
The Little Big Planet(LBP) story is still pretty vague, but more coherent over the beta. Essentially you are a sackperson who inhabits the world of LBP. You travel around the different areas, 8 in tall helping the different curator’s of each section. Each area, or world if you like has a specific theme, for example The Savannah is based on Africa, Metropolis on big cities or The Wedding based off of, for the lack of a better term, Emo culture.
The fact that each world has such a unique theme makes the gameplay seem very unique going from one world to another. Before we get too far into that lets discuss how the game actually plays. At its playable core LBP is a 2D platformer. To be more specific its a 2.5D platformer with a 3D engine. The game moves from left to right with you controlling a Sackperson. The sackperson can also move across 3 plains, known as the x,y,z planes. These planes come more into play when creating than actually playing as Medial Molecule uses pretty much just one plane the other two for decoration and things of that nature. The planes are also used to hide/hold prize & point bubbles. The price bubbles are really the goal of each level and collecting each one will give you more objects to use in create mode as well as complete the game more. (Netting you some Trophies)
Anyway back on topic, some of the Media Molecule levels really blew me away with their level design. A perfect example is the completely unique “The Darkness” level that comes in The Wedding. This was such an extreme change from the previous levels that I was just blindsided, in a good way. Some of the levels are just epic in scope and complexity and if you take the time to stop and look around you’ll appreciate the level design, especially once you start to create your own.
Create mode is where a lot of time will be spent, especially if you wish to create an engaging level. The prize bubbles collected in story mode will give you new materials, objects, and stickers to use in your creations. How much you get out of this part of the game is equivalent to how much you put in. Putting in little effort will make for bad levels, while giving it time, planning, and patience, can create some real masterpieces. That’s not to say if you don’t put in the time you won’t have a good level, but those who really put in the time will create amazing levels. The actual act of creating is very simple, but deep with the amount of options available to you. Get used to it, and you will have a blast creating levels, the time will fly by like nothing as I have spent 20 minutes at a time tweaking my level and not even realizing.
The online in the game is split into publishing/playing user created levels and co op play. Now to set the record straight, there is offline co op, I just felt like keeping the co op together. The co op whether it be online or off works well, aside from some lagg issues when a player joins a game online. Now onto the user created goodness. The game calls user generated levels, Cool Levels. These are where the user generated levels are kept and played. Since many levels were kept from the beta there are already a variety of new and old levels that range from a trophy hunter’s paradise, to truly unique and inspiring levels. I’m actually surprised at the lack of trophy hunting levels and very much relived as some of my worries were that it would just be filled with them.
The game really succeeds in these departments with excellent 3D visuals that bring a unique charm with its art direction. Everything has this, playful “when I was 5” feel to it and just feels like your in a giant toybox. However, outside of the impressive visuals, is the more impressive soundtrack. Little Big Planet has one of the best soundtracks in a game I’ve heard this year, hell in the last few years. I’m really hoping they add this, as well as many other soundtracks, to the PSN as the music is a real treat.
Little Big Planet is one of those games that comes around once every few years that just brings everyone together. Its a game that both the hardcore, like myself, or the recent influx of casuals can enjoy. It sparks creativity, a rarity in games and is really one of those games that is hard to hate. There are a few issues like the first day of online, troubles with changing planes and a few other minor problems, but nothing that really detract or harm the game in anyway.
The game really has something for everybody as I’ve played in many different circumstances, of playing together, competing or just smacking each other around for fun. There is really something to do for everyone and everyone should own this game, it will bring a smile to your face, guaranteed.