LittleBigPlanet Review - January 19

Is Media Molecule's 2nd ever title, LittleBigPlanet, the supposedly triple-A social-platforming phenomenon, really 'next-gen'?

The term ‘next-gen’ is used in almost every one of our articles here at TGSN. Usually in a negative way, when a title is not actually ’next-gen’, but just a game that could be done on a PS2 with somewhat worse graphics. Fortunately, Media Molecule realised that gaming needed to follow a different route than this usual FPS affair.

LittleBigPlanet is a cutesy platformer that puts 1-4 players in the sacks of a sackboy or sackgirl. The players can then customize their avatars to however they wish, using unlockable stickers, costumes, decorations or pictures taken from the PSEye. There are so many possibilities to dress up your sack character that you could spend days deciding on whether to put your own face on a box that covers their head, or go for the latest Ryu/Street Fighter costume that you downloaded from the Playstation Store (at a rather cheap 1.59).

The varitey in the levels is great, plus, the Zebra-head outfit is hilarious

To control the sack people, you must use the left analogue stick for generic movements, the D-pad for emotions (up for happy, down for sad etc.) and X to jump. Obviously, it all sounds like Mario, but you can grab onto objects/other characters with R1 and manipulate your left/right arms when holding L2/R2 and using the left analogue/right analogue sticks. This adds for hilarious outcomes, whether you're slapping your mates silly, or holding each others legs whilst swinging over pits of deadly fire.

Obviously, the sack people need a playground, and that’s exactly where you come in. Using your initiative and ‘intelligence’ you can construct literally anything. The only requirement is that you must move left-right and along 3 faces (which you can move in and out of). You make stuff from basic materials (such as wood and metal) and can add pistons, spikes, fire, string, chains and even brains to make them dangerous or move how you wish. Amazingly, you can even tweak how all the additions operate to create the exact feel that you want. The basics are that sponge can be grabbed, fire burns you, rockets make things move fast, switches operate whatever they are fixed to, and the scoreboards are at the end of levels. It sounds incredibly straightforward, but when you head online to check out other player’s levels, you’ll be amazed. Underwater, Jaws-inspired levels will leave you speechless, and the working calculator is truly surreal. Even Stephen Fry can’t explain how much LBP has captured imaginations across the world, but he can narrate tutorials and the opening level to this fantastic game. Sure, it seems random, but his soothing tone makes great work of the jolly atmosphere and explains to beginners just what each part can be used for.

Vehicles spice the game up even more, though this doesn't look too safe!

Making levels can be a real pain if you have LittleBigCreator’s block, but once you have an idea, it can be transformed and executed in the cute world, provided that you have enough time to finish it, as it can be very, very time-consuming. One of the downsides to this game is that it takes a whole lot of perseverance to finish an original level, as it’s so overwhelming at first, to try and put everything in one level. It can also be frustrating if something should go wrong, and it ends up destroying your own level, but luckily you can rewind all actions with the press of a button (left on the D-pad). The whole process is all worth it, though, once you publish it online and the whole world can enjoy your Indiana Jones inspired tomb, or race level (keep the levels suitable for the youngsters, folks, or Media Molecule will delete it and send you a moderator message!).

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