More Little Than Big
Since Sony launched the PlayStation Move in September, some fairly impressive games have been released. I was adequately impressed by The Shoot and Sports Champions. However, a gaping hole in the lineup has been that there are no marquis franchises included. As much fun as I had with Time Crisis: Razing Storm, it’s hardly the kind of series that people will run out and buy the system for.
Since the release, I’ve longed for Sony to break out God of War, Killzone, or Ratchet and Clank to prove the Move’s capabilities. Now we finally have that game, and I’m not impressed with the effort. However, at its tiny price, the unique innovations here are probably worth your time and money.
Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves seems to have sprouted up to fulfill a promise Sony made to its fan base. After they delayed LittleBigPlanet 2, the company promised their fans that they would deliver some additional Sackboy action ahead of the mid-January release date. The game just barely made it in time for Sony to keep their word.
In short: it’s short. Like, really short. Unless you’re intent on collecting every little piece of avatar clothing, then you’re likely to charge through this in about one hour. Now, before you stomp off to complain about this being a ripoff, let’s take stock of the fact that it only costs a mere six dollars. I don’t know any Sackboy-fans who wouldn’t pony up that paltry sum for an extra hour with his-sackness.
There are a few good bits to this meager experience, and fans of Sackboy’s previous romp will feel right at home with the new content. As you may have guessed from the title, this experience takes Sackboy back to the Stone Age! Well, not the actual Stone Age where humans were either starving or freezing. This is more like the Flintstones’ Stone Age, with all manner of dinosaurs and cool stuff.
Each level is populated with lots of dinosaur-themed puzzles, bosses, enemies, and other gameplay devices. However, this is still Little Big Planet 1. Don’t go into this expecting a sneak peek at the upcoming title. This is merely a spin-off of the previous game that happened to arrive in close proximity to the sequel. In that vein, I suppose some people will find the game lacking in new gameplay ideas outside of the game’s fun new innovation.
Any innovation at all is wonderful to find in a six-dollar video game. That price is usually populated only by Bejeweled ripoffs and shovelware iPhone games. This is actually fun too! The game is essentially a two-player only experience, but you play with only one character. What? That’s right. One player controls the motions of Sackboy, while the other player uses the Move controller to manipulate things in the environment. I suppose it’s conceivable that a person could play this game by themselves, but I don’t think it would be a very good time. You’d need to frantically switch between controllers, and often need to be using both at the same time.
The Move controller is most often used to manipulate the environment so that Sackboy can continue on his quest forward. Sometimes a tongue can be yanked out of a dinosaur’s mouth (causing the head to shoot upward and launch Sackboy up); other times it can affect volcanoes. There are dozens of possibilities. This makes it an engaging experience when coupled with another player. The two people have to communicate and work together to get through the level. Although it’s never anything super complicated, it’s sure to induce some laughter and good times when you’re trying to get the precise timing down.
As we’ve become accustomed to with the LittleBigPlanet series, the level design and visual aesthetic are spectacular. It’s a joy to romp through these levels and see what concoctions the level designers have cooked up. These sorts of theme packs offer a stark contrast to the often very eclectic nature of the proper LittleBigPlanet games, and I enjoy the change of pace.
Sony still has quite a bit of work left to do with its PlayStation Move brand though. This kind of effort won’t sell peripherals. It’s wonderfully adorable that Sony wanted to release this game to honor a promise they made, but outside of the LittleBigPlanet community, this effort isn’t going to sate the desires of Move buyers. Millions of people have laid down a considerable sum of money on the PlayStation Move, and sooner or later Sony needs to show their consumers that they’ve got marquis games being developed for the system.
The backwards Move compatibility for games like Resident Evil 5 ensured that gamers would have quality Move games to play on launch day, but that time has long since passed. Sony needs to bring its fan-favorite characters and series to the system, and not just in these small packs. People who bought Move were expecting Sony to put their full force behind the system, and so far we haven’t seen that happen. When Sony doesn’t show off their best games for the system, it displays a lack of confidence in the product (real or imagined). And if Sony doesn’t believe in the peripheral, why should we?
Whatever your feelings on the PlayStation Move, Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves is a decent, if extremely brief, little adventure. Its coop play is new and innovative, but unless you’re a die-hard Sackboy fan, then you’ll likely be pretty turned off by how quickly the adventure ends. Other than that, this is Sackboy as you always knew him. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, but other than that he’s still the guy we know and love.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
The new dinosaur-ridden aesthetic is a lot of fun, but it still feels just like the first LBP. 4.0 Control
You’ll need a second person to pilot the Move controls, but otherwise Sackboy controls like a dream. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
LittleBigPlanet became well-known for its awesome soundtrack, and this game is no different. 2.5 Play Value
There’s some fun to be had here, but even the most fervent LBP fan will be a little put off by how little content there is. It’s a fun game, but it’s over before you can blink. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best