LittleBigPlanet PS3 Review

2D Platformers have all but been discarded in favour of much more open and less restrictive 3D platformers, but once beloved franchises like Sonic have often been frowned upon after finding that extra dimension, in LittleBigPlanet however, 2D Platforming at its purest and most fiendish, is alive and well. But that’s only one half of the games wonderful whole, as LittleBigPlanet also allows us gamers to get in on the whole creation process too.

Perhaps the first stop for many will be the story mode. This is essentially an old fashioned style platformer, which has more than fifty well constructed levels, each growing in complexity as you make headway through the game. These can all be played in multiplayer (both on and offline) and there’s even areas that are inaccessible to you unless you have another player tagging along with you. Apart from that, it’s fairly standard platforming fare. There’s spikes, electricity and all manner of the usual obstructions to avoid. The jumping occasionally feels a little off, but it’s never bad enough so as to be a huge detriment to the game.

There’s even a – some might say – archaic life system implemented, which during some of the trickier moments can prove to be frustrating. Though a small mercy is the fact that lives are topped up once you reach checkpoints, of which cuts down frustration levels, even if a more generous and modern system would have been preferred.

The story mode is fairly sizable and repeat play of levels is encouraged. Hidden around each one are materials for the creation side of the game, whilst acing levels (completing them without losing lives) has its own rewards, furthermore there‘s also trophies to obtain. So even if you lack the creativity for the other half of the game, there’s still potential for plenty of hours to be sunk into this aspect, without feeling as if you’ve wasted your cash, then of course there’s the chance to play levels created by the community.

The old fashioned style obviously hasn’t crept into the games appearance, save for the camera angle. Everything is made out of regular craft materials, which gives the game a unique look, whilst Sackboy himself is a lovable creation. It’s all very charming and happy, which further extends the games overall appeal and is even enough to balance all the mass murdering you may be doing in other games.

On the creation side, there’s reams of content that the community has already delivered. There’s a lot of obviously hastily chucked together levels in there, but look hard enough and there’s also a fair quantity that have been meticulously put together over many hours, many of which have a level of design and imagination that rivals even the best professionals.

The act of building your own level is pleasingly easy to do and is largely about as simple as it could possibly be, without taking away the considerable freedom that the game offers. It can take a while before everything begins to click, but extensive and helpful tutorials, narrated by Stephen Fry, ease you into this aspect of the game and should you ever need their words of wisdom, they‘re always at easy access.

Building is all done through a complexity free drag and drop interface and you’re even able to create all manner of objects or enemies from the ground up, with the only real barrier in this respect being your imagination. Handily there’s a rewind function implemented, which is useful for when you mess up and everything literally all comes crashing down. Knocking together a fully featured level is a time consuming process, but satisfying to do so, especially if people play and enjoy your finished project.

LittleBigPlanet is easily one of the PS3’s most ambitious and defining of games to date. The platforming half has some excellently designed levels, both from the community and Media Molucule, with only some slightly flawed jumping mechanics threatening to destroy the fun. The creation half is, with a bit of time and effort, accessible to all and is the perfect outlet to show off your level design skills, even if you don’t know the first thing about coding. Each half is equally as good, which results in LittleBigPlanet having a broad appeal.