|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCE Cambridge||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
LittleBigPlanet is one of the most original games ever made. I know that's a big statement, but it's a well-deserved one. When I found out the game was going portable, I couldn't have been happier. Not only would I be able to play more of it, but it would also be a great opportunity for non-PS3 owners to experience the game that had conquered our hearts. It's taken 12 months to see our Game of the Year turned into a handheld experience, so hopefully everyone has had enough time to get through the original and prepare for this portable session of LittleBigPlanet; those who haven't well, here's your chance to get back into it, just the way you know it.
Media Molecule, LBP's original development team, hasn't done a whole lot for the PSP version. For the most part, they've just supported Sony's UK-based development team so they'd achieve their ultimate goal: creating a whole new LittleBigPlanet game for the handheld without the risk of getting it lost in translation. SCE Cambridge has indeed done an amazing job with the game, making it feel just like its big brother, but shrinking it to palm-sized entertainment.
The team had a few handicaps to overcome, starting with the smaller display. LBP was made to shine on a big HD screen, and its charming, hand-crafted vibe, as well as the incredible details and textures set this game apart from everything else out there. When you see LittleBigPlanet on the PSP, you almost want to see more. The game is still loaded with great details and textures, packed with original new levels, lots of color, and the same characters we've come to love. You can also unlock new items and bring up the Pop-It menu with the push of a button in order to customize your sackperson, and you can purchase new costumes from the PSN, just like on the PS3.
The 35+ new levels have been carefully designed and decked out with that characteristic ethnic feel that takes your imagination to exciting new worlds, and the unique menu interface couldn't be more familiar. You can also customize the levels with stickers you collect along the way, and even employ some of them to trigger chain reactions or open up new paths. Everything has been done right as far as visuals, yet you want to see everything blown up in size. It feels as if the game is facing its worst enemy: its big console counterpart. If we had nothing to compare it to, we wouldn't have these strange feelings. However, one has to get over that and realize this is one of the best-looking PSP games out there.
Something similar happens with the sound. The game sports an admirable soundtrack with songs and tunes that fit the varied themes like a glove. They are different from the PS3 version and exclusive to this game, as are the new levels. The sound effects have been borrowed from the big brother, and the original narrator, Stephen Fry, does a great job here as well. Unfortunately, despite the high-quality soundtrack we're being offered, the PSP speakers are not quite up to snuff, and even when wearing headphones, the aural experience can't quite compare.
But enough comparisons! All I'm trying to say is that previous LittleBigPlanet fans may feel a bit out of place with this portable version at first, though the wonderful and equally engaging new levels will soon do their job of getting you hooked. The game takes you to seven new locations, from the virgin lands of Australia to China, Egypt, Switzerland, and beyond. The charming new levels have all been designed from scratch, made to fit the typical LBP platforming style, and they're filled with accessible physics-based puzzles that let you advance through the game with just the right amount of effort. Everything is very original and intuitive, and whether you're trying to reach a switch, escape from a dragon, or climb a mountain of disappearing blocks, no one should worry about too much challenge; everything's doable with a little bit of practice.