LittleBigPlanet 2 PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Media Molecule – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1-4 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

LittleBigPlanet was a modern marvel in the way that it gave us, the players, power to build our own levels. Indeed, it wasn’t only a delightful platformer that had enough character to make even the most serious person smile, but it was also a suite of excellent tools that, in the right hands, could be used for some truly amazing things. If you had the imagination, the time and the patience, you could come up with something that many would play and love.

So, did we really need LittleBigPlanet 2? Well, I would have been happy to pay full price for a batch of new Media Molecule levels, but throw in easier to use creation tools and the fact that you can now make a lot more than a simple platformer (without using some of the clever tricks that certain people managed in the original game), and you have a package that very much deserves to exist.

Yes, you can actually create things like this.

Let’s start with the story mode. In the original, this mode not only showed some of the things that were possible with the design tools, but it also showed exactly what could be brought to life with imagination and attention to detail, with some truly excellent level design. The sequel also has some level designs that have been expertly put together, and the mode is even better than it was in the original game – there’s more variety, checkpoint placement is less devilish and level design is even more impressive.

Less positive is the actual platforming. The jumping still feels overly floaty and a little glitchy at times, but this, like the original, was hardly enough to spoil my enjoyment. The game has such a level of charm and playful attitude that even the end of the world wouldn’t spoil the amount of cheerfulness and enjoyment that resonates from it. It’s just that, with such an end to the world, there may not be enough people left to deliver the community levels, and we can’t have that now, can we?

Yes, it’s mostly the community and the creation tools that will add to the lifespan. There’s a never-ending stream of levels from community creators (including those created with the original game) and it’s possible to find some that are up there with Media Molecule’s best. Look through the creations and you’ll find everything from side scrolling shooters, tower defence, racing, FPS, fighting, RPG and platformer games. There’s even the opportunity to create cut-scenes and I’ve seen some real funny ones involving everyone from the simple sack folk to Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk.

So, the creation tools: how do they compare to those of the original? Well, they’re obviously very similar, but they have been made even easier to use. LittleBigPlanet 2 once again makes creating fun and user friendly – there’s a comprehensive and entertaining set of tutorials, voiced by Stephen Fry, that can be easily accessed if you’re wondering how to implement or tweak a feature of your level. This time you have access to new additions such as sackbots (AI sack folk that can be instructed in any manner), springs, the ability to link levels and more. You’ll come across all of this in the story mode and it all can, of course, be used in your very own creations as well. The drag and drop tools are very intuitive and, if you’re not already familiar with the creation side, you’ll soon pick it up and might even dream up a level that will be considered LittleBigPlanet art for a very long time. Of course, you can also create a more diverse range of game types now, which is sure to pique the interest of those who wanted to create more than a platformer without having to use some clever tricks. I really appreciate the amount of time and testing that the best creators must put into their beautifully designed levels, as the tools may be easy to use, but it’s another thing to dream up a theme, stick with it and then find the extra depth in the creation tools.

The visuals are once again very charming and certainly very unique.

It may have slightly funny jumping, but LittleBigPlanet 2 is still a triumph in more ways than one – not only do we get a set of story mode levels that are masterfully designed, but we also get the opportunity to play others from the community that have the potential to be just as good, then, of course, it’s possible to create your own. It’s a superb and charming package that deserves the attention of those seeking lovely level design as well as from those who want to dream up their own stages.