Review: One of the PS3's greatest games is a 2D platformer. Whoa!
I have to be honest. When I first heard of LittleBigPlanet
, a platformer, exclusive to the PS3, where an anthropomorphic burlap sack collects little bubbles and tries to get from the start to the finish, I thought the game, and the PS3 for that matter, were doomed. Completely, utterly doomed. As more details started to pour out, however, I became more and more interested in what the boys at Media Molecule had to offer. The E3 2008 demo during Sony's press conference blew me away, showcasing the seemingly limitless power of the creation mode. Luckily, when the game finally reached my hands, all of the things I wanted to be in this game were there, along with so much more. LittleBigPlanet is an amazing experience, and easily one of the best on the PS3.
The game looks beautiful. Each of the different environments have their own unique attributes, from the cacti and tumbleweeds of the desert to the tulips and bushes of the garden. The most impressive detailing, however, is on Sackboy himself. Each of his costumes are vibrant and colorful, with the same subtle stitching as our hero. Each of the fabrics that make up Sackboy look just as they do in your bedroom dresser. Want Sackboy to look like a pair of jeans? Pick the blue denim and be amazed. The game is a sight to behold, but it is the other aspects that make it truly shine.
The gameplay is classic platforming, reminiscent of classics like Super Mario World and Kirby Super Star. Like those, you control the hero (Sackboy) through the world of LittleBigPlanet collecting items (score bubbles) for points. However, what sets LittleBigPlanet apart is the added challenge of three planes of travel. For example, an obstacle might only be blocking your path in the front plane, but with two taps of the stick down, Sackboy will move to the far plane and walk right past it. It's that three-plane approach that adds a whole new degree of difficulty to some of the obstacles in the game, but it also makes the game that much more fun. Aside from that inclusion, LittleBigPlanet is classic left-to-right (or sometimes vice-versa) platforming at its best.
The soundtrack to the game is great, a mix of alternative tracks and instrumental interludes. The original instrumentals are perfect for the times in which they're heard, my favorites being ?Cries in the Wind? and ?Gardens Music.? The licensed alternative tunes are great as well, as they add a human touch to a world completely devoid of actual humans. Jim Noir's ?My Patch? and The Go! Team's ?Get It Together? are great examples of the featured tracks. The sounds of the game are a nice touch as well, from the zipper sound that you hear when you change Sackboy's material to the rewarding sound of getting that last object in a level. All of the audio offerings are there to add to the upbeat, cheery world of LittleBigPlanet, and they do so with great success.
The game looks great, sounds great, and plays great, but the meat and potatoes of the LittleBigPlanet experience is the create-a-level tool. Throughout the single-player story mode, there are hundreds upon hundreds of objects and stickers and costume pieces and whatever else to collect, all for the purpose of customizing your game. Boxes, creatures, plants... if you can name it, you'll find it in LittleBigPlanet.. Not only that, but the Playstation Store is continually being updated with new costumes and level pieces for you to pick up. Once you have all the objects you want, it's time to create. Anything can be placed anywhere, the level can be as short or as long as you want it to be.
It is this create-a-level mode that adds hours upon hours of replay value to the game, as you'll be building and sharing levels for many days into the future. When you run out of level ideas, you're able to go online to the LittleBigPlanet community, play other LBPer's levels, then go back to the drawing board and try to top them. This game gets the creative juices flowing unlike any other, and it is that creative imaginative stimulation that makes it so appealing.