|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Media Molecule||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 27, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Are you sure you know what you're getting into? People who aren't very interested in using their creativity may not find a whole lot in LittleBigPlanet, but everyone else...beware! Make sure you have plenty of spare time before you get into this game, because it may be tough to let it go!
LittleBigPlanet, a PS3 exclusive developed by Media Molecule, is a game like no other. It fits the platforming genre like a glove. However, we could say the glove has been stretched out a bit, giving place to an entire new set of features that allow players to take their imagination and creativity to the limits. But, we'll get to that later.
For now, I should probably tell you about the awe-inspiring levels provided in the disc. Just like a regular platformer, each level presents a series of dangers and challenges players have to conquer. Jumping over gaps, grabbing onto swinging platforms, avoiding obstacles, pushing blocks to reach higher areas, activating switches, and detonating bombs are just some of the things that will earn you the ticket to the other side of the stage. Each section of the game, made up of about five stages each, has a different theme. These include the medieval-inspired Gardens, the wild and dangerous Savannah, the awkward and frightening Wedding level, Uncle Jalapeño's hot and inaccessible Canyons and Mines, the peaceful yet restless Seaside, etc.
All these levels have been artistically created as if they were part of a theater or a movie set. Objects are made out of craft materials, giving the game a unique style no one could get tired of. Styrofoam clouds hang from the top, cardboard monsters come in and out of their hidden nooks, birds made out of sponge hang from chains and elastic strips, wooden buildings and fabric plants, flowers, and bushes decorate the backgrounds and sometimes serve as platforms, etc. You can't imagine the amount of detail that's found in the game, which is actually what makes it so exceptionally attractive.
Also, the background music seems to have been carefully chosen to fit each world's visual theme. Not every song will suit everyone's taste, but they definitely suit the game well and blend in with the style of each level. I personally enjoyed most of the songs found in the soundtrack, including the controversial song from the Safari level that caused the game's delay. As if great music wasn't enough, this title really shines with fun and exciting sound effects. The ultra-realistic sound repertoire adds a whole new dimension to the game that should captivate everyone in no time.
So, is there a story to LittleBigPlanet? Much like other games that belong to the platforming genre, LBP doesn't have a strong plot. It's just like a group of story books for kids. Each world tells you a different tale, but the game focuses almost entirely on gameplay; there aren't even cutscenes to watch in between stages. What you see while playing is what you get.
The lack of a deep story is not a real drawback though. The addictive gameplay and attractive settings are what make this game so engaging. Players will be in control of a little sackperson they get to customize as their very own sackboy or sackgirl. Throughout each stage, they won't only get through obstacles, but they will also pick up point bubbles, stickers, costumes, and numerous objects and textures that can be used later on. For example, stickers will help you decorate your own levels, but they'll also trigger mechanisms that will end up dropping even more collectables when you stick them in the right place. Textures can be used to customize your little dude, but they'll also serve to adorn different elements of your user-created levels.
At some point, you'll have so many stickers and objects you won't even know what to do with them or where to find them in the Popit menu (inventory). Luckily, everything is classified in different categories, making it a little easier for us. The thirst for new items adds a lot of replayability. At the end of each level, you'll be able to see how many items you have left behind. If this peaks your interest enough, you'll end up jumping into the stage several more times before you complete the level and reach the desired 100% mark. On the other hand, if you're just interested in getting through the game in its entirety, you can just do that and forget about items you may have missed. You can always come back later and take care of that.