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Dec 23, 2008

Review: LittleBigPlanet

Sony Computer Entertainment America, Media Molecule
Available on Playstation 3

While Nintendo has held the attention of the young at heart gamers for quite a long time now, Sony has finally thrown their hat into the ring with their own delightful child-like, yet challenging game, LittleBigPlanet. Media Molecules’ long awaited Playstation 3 exclusive platformer finally came out this October into the hands of all the eager Mario fans wanting to test out the different side-scrolling fun and to all the creative artists looking forwarded to diving into the level design features.

Diving into the world of LittleBigPlanet, you are given a little Sackboy to journey through all 51 levels in story mode as well as all the user content levels and your own created levels. This little Sackboy is yours to dress up as you see fit in the outfits and accessories provided by the game. New outfits can be found in later levels or downloaded and purchased from the Playstation Network each week. You can even make your Sackboy show emotion or move his arms and head if you wish to give more life to him during your journeys. How cute!

The story mode levels have you running through themed platform areas collecting bubbles, stickers and items for points, all while racing against the clock towards the end of the level. A certain amount of points are awarded at the end of level depending on how well you completed the course. Each level has you running, jumping, falling, and working with the physics of the level in order to survive all the traps and obstacles that lay in wait for you. Some levels even have race points worked into them which awarded you items based on how quickly you finish them.

Though you may think by looking at LittleBigPlanet that this is some cute little kid’s game, be warned that it was created for young at heart and not the actual young. The levels were designed to be difficult and the obstacles hard to survive. I spend hours and hours just trying to get past the first level on the third garden, all because one spring board kept falling over on me. Timing was everything and I didn’t have it.

The level creation is where the game gets even more complex. While I have seen some of the most creative levels ever designed by gamers on LittleBigPlanet, it took me 2 hours just to get through the tutorials alone and I can’t even fathom how many for my actual level which was created and deleted in the beta version of this game. Yeah, imagine my pain when I found out my level would be deleted after the beta closed.

The level creator for some people has been the cat’s meow and all you need to do to see that is log on to the user created levels and play a few. Some are absolute pure genius but for the artistically retarded like me, the fun was all in the story mode and playing the user content. Honestly though, I might have enjoyed the level creator more if I had more time to put into it, instead of just designing by the seat of my pants.

I did have some fun decorating my pod which is the little tree-house building where you can choose what area of the game you want to play in. Here you can use all the stickers and items you’ve found throughout the game to decorate the pod any way you want. I covered mine in fabric flowers and sea shells.

Stylistically this game is a design student’s wet dream as each level is covered from start to finish in the stuff dreams are made of. No one object is created from just one material; its almost like someone robbed a junk yard to design all the items in this game. Being that this game is just so beautiful to look at, I almost hate that the level designers decided to make the game so difficult to finish. How could they make something so wonderful in so many ways, so frustrating to play? They made my Sackboy cry!

The music in this game is a mixture of different artists from around the world and the soundtrack will probably have you seeking out some of the songs on iTunes before long. Luckily you’ll find the whole soundtrack available for download which I highly recommend. I love it when a game studio takes a risk and inputs new music into their game; it’s even better when it pays off for them too.

I know the gaming market has been a flood of hyped game titles over the past few months and with the lack of money in everyone’s pockets right now, purchases are more frugal than ever but I can’t stressed how great and important a purchase like LittleBigPlanet is. Company’s like Sony tend not to publish games like this and if they don’t sell, they tend not to publish them ever again. Games that spark the imagination and bring the community together like this are worth making and worth buying, so for once put down your first person shooters and fighting games and trying something different. There’s a lonely little Sackboy out there that will love you for it.

Rating 9 out of 10
Buy it!

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