Review by SaikoMelon
"Little Big Planet, Plenty Big Fun"
Little Big Planet is one of the reasons I bought a PS3, and I'm very pleased that it has not let me down.
Little Big Planet is an amazingly fun platformer, with sharp, intuitive controls and a minute's learning curve (for playing, not building.) Such a simple game, however, surprises you with it's creative level design and impressive array of platforming obstacles and possibilities. I found myself constantly thrown into new situations and having to perform new tasks and find new means to solve puzzles, and sometimes having to act fast or lose a life. Repetition is minimal, and the game feels constantly fresh. Puzzles in the game range from in-your-face simple (standing on buttons) to some that require a bit of thinking and tricky timing. No puzzle, however, can be considered difficult or head-scratching. The game moves at a light and breezy pace, with enough time to soak yourself in the amazing graphics and action without holding you back by tedious puzzles. The difficulty can be considered rather easy to moderate at best. Not the hardest game, that's for sure.
The co-op gameplay works well, but feels unnecessary. I actually experienced a slowdown while playing co-op. The slowdown becomes especially obvious when as little as two local (same console) players load their "poppit"s (in-game real-time dress/sticker menu). Disruptive loading times ensue as each player selects items. The only reason I felt I needed to get friends together to play was to solve multiplayer puzzles, such as 2 player or 4 player puzzles. These puzzles are usually short and simple, but are necessary to solve in order to unlock more content such as in-game stickers, objects and costumes/accessories. Apart from these 2 or 4 player puzzles, the rest of the level always feels best played with a single person. The single player mode feels more fluid, easy, and immersive. When two players stand far apart from each other, the screen pans out to accommodate the distance and it may become hard to see obstacles and the like. Pressing grab when trying to grab an in-game object may result in grabbing another player instead if another player is standing by you. This can prove to be annoying, especially in situations where death is looming over. The worst thing is, lives are shared among players. If you meet with a random uncooperative clod online or have been forced by your mom's book club to play with you infant cousin, enjoy replaying the stage over and over again.
It cannot be said that I didn't have plenty of fun playing co-op though, because silly sticker placing and accidentally killing off one another by setting off traps or unnecessary grabbing certainly brought out some good laughs. With a good friend or two (or three!) you could be having the funnest platforming time you've had in a while. I certainly did! There were nonstop laughs, uncontrolled shouting, screaming and complaints from neighbors.
The level creator have simple and intuitive controls, and is made surprisingly easy to pick up thanks to dozens(and I mean over twenty of thirty.. gosh I lost count) of tutorials that come in the form of practical lessons or videos. The videos are made amusing though, so no worries that you'd fall asleep or be bored to death. The only thing you're going to feel is that tense urge to quickly skip through everything so that you can get to level-building already. I had plenty of fun making my own level, and I feel that the power I was given in the process of level creation was truly limitless and fearsome.
The story is light and dream-like, not seeming the least bit serious. It gives you instruction to go from level to level, but the story is forgettable or insignificant at best. The most engaged you'll feel in the single-player story would be in the last area, but even then it's light-hearted and silly at best.
Graphics are spectacular and amazingly life-like at times, but the one card this game's graphics play well is the fantastic art style. There art style blends an indescribable mix of "Hey! This feels like stuff I find in my home put together with bolts and painted to look like things!" and incredible creativity. The art direction can be described as dreamy and psychedelic, with bright colors and immersive themes.
Sound and Music
Sounds are comical and cute, with a light-hearted cartoon theme. Things may not sound exactly how you'd expect them to, as they may sound comical. It fits in perfectly though, and makes the experience all the more immersive.
Music in the game is very good. Not only are the tunes very well made, the tracks are diverse and fit different themes, each pleasing to the ear. The music never struck me as repetitive, neither did I feel it was grating at any time.
The single player mode is rather short, and can easily be completed in a day. If you have friends to play with, the single player mode can serve to amuse them and provide a tad bit more replayability. There will be plenty of secrets and items to return to each stage for as well, and getting them all will require some time. To ace each stage also reaps a gift or two, which will take even more practice to achieve. Overall however, the replayability offline is not very great. Unless you have plenty of friends who come to your place or who you visit that you can share levels with. Then you can unleash the monster of replay that is the level-creator.
The main meat of the game lies in the immense replay value that is the level-creator and user-created content. While not much user-created content is available at the time this review is written, the level-creator has been fully explored and I am very sure the user-created content that ensues will be nothing short of endless, both in terms of possibilities and number. Objects can be shaped at will, in varying thicknesses, no less. Anything can be made lethal, anything can be made to be a platform, or generate sounds. EVERYTHING is truly at your disposal, and it truly is possible to create your dream level. There is nothing holding you back except for the few dozen tutorials you have to go through in order to learn the tools of the trade. Level creation, while blankly simple, can still take hours for the simplest hundred meter dash to days if not weeks and months to complete. The fun you get from sharing it with friends, that would be priceless.
Buy or Rent
This game is definitely worth a purchase. If you have doubts about the level-creation modes and user-created content, then perhaps you may want to rent as a try first. Those looking to play alone or just the single player mode will not find as much value in a purchase, and may prefer to rent as well.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/28/08
Game Release: LittleBigPlanet (US, 10/27/08)
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