Review by TakaRagranok
"Big fun in a Little package!"
Ah, LittleBig Planet. Easily one of the best games I have ever had the joy to play. Filled with quirk and charm, LittleBig Planet takes the player on a ride that will not soon be forgotten. You'll climb, run, shove, and hang in one of the PS3's best exclusives to date.
In short, what makes LittleBig Planet so special are its varied and challenging levels, high replay value, and its robust (but easy to use) level editor/creator. Almost all of these features can be enjoyed either solo or with some friends, which makes it even better!
LittleBig Planet is a gem in terms of gameplay. It's simple controls are the first of many shining qualities. I never felt confused while playing. Ever. That's HUGE! Most games, while giving you a tutorial, toss you into the water and hope you can swim, with a bit of trial and error involved.
However, in LittleBig Planet, the first three (four if you count the SUPER introductory level that shows the devs) levels are devoted to helping you learn the controls. This is something that is so wonderfully implemented, you hardly realize it is a tutorial. How many games can you honestly say that happens in?
As a platformer, LittleBig Planet (from here on LBP) is a bit of a challenge. Some parts will be simple, aimed at catering to newer gamers and newbies to the platforming scene, while other parts are frustrating even for some platforming vets. Combine these with a few simple puzzles, and loads of collectibles that require you to be crafty (and pull crazy stunts to reach), and you have a satisfying formula for fun.
My only beef with this was that there were some areas (specifically that section in the mines) that weren't clear on how to proceed - you might not be able to tell if some material can be grabbed, for example.
The tracks have a simple elegance that must be mentioned. Whether it is the simple gardens theme or savannah theme, you tend to get a feel for it. Combine this with the fact that you can tinker with about seven of these tracks in the level creator to get a certain beat or feel from each, and you have a winner.
Another cool thing are the tracks from bands and not the devs. You might recognize one (Left Bank Two is the name of the song, I think) as a prominent song from Nintendogs, if you ever played that DS game.
Such a simple but robust sound system is a winner.
This game looks good. Obviously not as good as something like Killzone 2, but still an excellent-looking game. The backgrounds are usually sharp, unless the level is supposed to be at night or in fog, and this makes everything prettier.
Another good thing is that, even though LBP is so sharp, it is still responsive. No lag, unless you are opening 10 prize bubbles every second. Even while moving at a high speed, the levels look decently detailed.
One of the only things I can possibly (and this is a rare complaint) groan about is how some materials look a bit similar to lethalized materials (light-bluish materials and electrified materials, for example). This is very rare, and only becomes a problem if you stop paying attention completely.
Replay Value: 9/10
This has a lot of replay value. This is because there are so many materials, objects, sack-person materials, costume pieces, and other bits and bobs for you to collect (there are really "bits and bobs" in-game.). This makes you rethink exactly what you do as you move through a level, take alternate paths (if there are any), and so on, just so you can get that last structure that fits your own level perfectly.
Another neat thing (although it sometimes gets annoying) is that some items can only be found if you have 2+ players on the level. For instance, one person might hold a switch while another person goes up the stairs that appeared to hit another switch, which releases the prizes to the ground. Some of these multiplayer puzzles can be done by one player if timed right, however. (this adds more replay value, as you want to try to outsmart the puzzle)
Multiplayer Support: N/A (in short, it seems like it would be good, but this reviewer does not have a lot of experience with the game on this end)
I can't say a whole lot about this, as I generally don't play with a lot of people. However, when I do, it is a blast. Two players share a checkpoint, so you don't want to die and cost both of your chances of finishing the level. This is also the way to get past most of those multiplayer puzzles mentioned earlier.
Now, this is not MediaMolecule's fault. Part of this is due to a not so amazing internet connection, and another part of it is due to how long it takes to load the REALLY well-made player levels (or levels that just have a lot of prize bubbles). In short, online is fun, as you can play other people's levels, from all over the world. This makes it a literal LittleBig Planet. However, one thing you should be prepared to face, if you publish a level, are all the "h4h" requests that fly around. This means "Heart for heart", which is used to help someone get a certain trophy. This majorly detracted from my enjoyment online.
Level Creation/Editing: 8/10
That rating is for the average/below average, Everyday Joe. This is because, while the editor is very simple and intuitive to use, it is still difficult for newer people to make really kick-butt levels. With practice, however, it becomes easier, and you figure how to think outside the box to "wow" people. You can also create your own objects to give as prizes or use as obstacles in any level you make. You can also link levels by adding "keys" to levels, which immediately opens up other levels you've published to the player.
The story of LBP is simple and charming. It appeals to the kid in us all, and the ending (and the final boss battle) is something everyone should remember and live by. it takes the player through various locales, such as an English Garden and African Savannah, via connections the story characters have with one another. As you go all around the world, you find characters wackier than the last, as well as more structures, fabrics, and so forth. As deep as a Final Fantasy game? Not really. But enough to get the job done.
The thing I like most about LBP is that everything gives strength to another element of gameplay. More games need to do this!
IN CONCLUSION: This game is must-have for any PS3 gamer's library. Filled with platforming stunts, good sounds, good graphics, and a robust online and level creation mode, this game will satisfy every gamer's platforming itch. If more games had this kind of polish and charm, gaming would be an even more entertaining hobby than it is today.
With all of the above being considered, this game recieves a 9/10 in my book for its excellent features, ease of controls, and wonderful platforming ability.
Cheers, and happy playing!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/06/09
Game Release: LittleBigPlanet (US, 10/27/08)
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