Little Big Planet 2: Muppets Premium Pack|
For those of us who grew up in the eighties, Jim Henson’s Muppets played an integral role in our development. Between their early work on PBS’s children’s show Sesame Street, and their prime time variety program The Muppet Show, between their full-length cinematic films and countless TV appearances, the Muppets were more than just puppets to the children (and adults) of our era – they were actual personalities that we loved.
When Jim Henson passed away unexpectedly of bacterial pneumonia in 1990, the world was stunned. Not only had the world lost one of the best creative puppeteers in the entertainment industry, but also the trademark voices and motions of the characters he helmed. The future of our felt friends suddenly became unclear. Thankfully, Jim’s loving family and cast of dedicated assistants maintained the Henson legacy to the best of their ability – continuing their work with PBS and in film, even as film making has moved away from puppetry and stop-motion animation and more toward the digital realm. But as we 80’s kids started to hit college and get married and start families, the popularity of the Muppets began to wane, and the films became further in between, and the characters a bit less personable, and all that was left was Sesame Street.
Snap to 2012, and the Muppets are back. Riding on an award winning film, the fuzzy characters are winning their way into the hearts of the younger set and warming the hearts of nostalgic parents. In honor of their triumphant return o the big screen, the folks at Media Molecule have delivered an incredible DLC package for Little Big Planet 2 called simply the Muppets Premium Pack, listing for $10. It is important to note that this Premium Pack includes two individual costume packs and one level pack each of which sells for $6 individually, so getting all three via the Premium Pack is quite the bargain for Muppets aficionados.
Featuring a huge cast of Muppets costumes, five new gameplay levels, and an all-new gravity-defying development tool called Attract-O-Gel – the Muppets Premium Level Kit is one of the coolest walks down memory lane for middle-aged gamers, and a great instruction to the world of the Muppets for the younger folks. First off, while I am not usually a fan of the costume kits for my Sackboy, Media Molecule has delivered some of the best costumes with the Muppets Premium Level Kit.
These are not just costumes; these are full-featured skins that make Sackboy look remarkably like the fan-favorite characters. To list a few: Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Statler and Waldorf, Dr. Bunson Honeydew and his assistant Beeker, Rowlf the Dog, Floyd and Janice, Dr. Teeth, and yes – even Animal. As always with the Sackboy costumes, there is the appearance that our Sackboy is always staring towards the ceiling, but that is easy to overlook considering the costumes are remarkably accurate in their detail. Even now, I still cannot decide which character is my favorite, although the comedian Fozzie Bear and Gonzo have always held special places in my heart, so I find myself reverting to their costumes quite often.
The five gameplay levels are based around the Muppet Show variety program from the 80’s. Featuring popular segments like “Pigs in Space,” “Muppet Labs,” and “The Great Gonzo,” fans will traverse their Sackboy through themed sets and unique storylines. A huge cast of characters make cameos in short wordless cutscenes that rely on witty gestures and emotive noises (think Lego Star Wars). Gamers will crack up as the grumbling Statler and Waldorf through a barrage of unintelligible denigrations or Beeker squeeks his way into another accidental explosion.
The level pack also introduces the newest development tool, called Attract-O-Gel – a bit like a gravity gel that can be placed on a variety of surfaces upon which Sackboy can walk horizontally, vertically, even upside-down. Depending on the programmed level of attraction (holding power and range) the gel can be set to allow characters to simply jump and get pulled into its field, or have to come in contact before taking hold. In addition, the gel can be set to allow gamers to simply jump off as needed, or to hold indefinitely. The gel is used throughout the five playable levels, and can be utilized by gamers within their own user-generated levels.
Needless to say, as a 40 year old father of three who grew up watching the Muppets and wanting to pass along the legacy to my children, I am absolutely enamored with the Muppets Premium Pack DLC for Little Big Planet 2. The degree of quality and attention to detail is astounding, and it has served to simultaneously rekindle my interest in the Muppets characters and in the Little Big Planet franchise. Job well done, Media Molecule!