Reviewed: November 18, 2008
Released: October 28, 2008
LittleBigPlanet has got to be the winner for most unique and inventive gameplay title that has come out in years not only with its fun platforming and great online content but its little sack people. LittleBigPlanet will be sure to not only be a winner for many game awards, it will also win the hearts and minds of players and even parents.
LittleBigPlanet is a simple yet complex platformer that stars a unique character, little sack boy or girl that you can customize. When youíre roaming the levels of various locations you will unlock and win a wide variety of items as well as objects you can stick onto your sack person. You can change their general color, add hats eyeglasses, clothing and so much more as you continue in the adventures and unlock more stuff. Stuff is what this game is all about so here goes, you start with a basic tutorial through many levels to unlock more and more stuff or prizes in prize bubbles.
Each thing you unlock can be on your sack person or in your dorm for decoration and in levels you create later on when you have completed some of the levels and tutorials. This is where things get really wonderful and crazy, you can play the made levels of the game and unlock items to use in your own levels as well as play other peoples levels they have created.
You can also make your own levels and upload them to the servers for others to play on and have fun with as well as show off your creative genius. More humbly you can just have fun playing around with the levels and see what you can create and what others think of them and how they play. The levels you create are simple in basic nature but you have to unlock items in order to create them so you do have to complete at least some of the games already installed levels. The more levels and things you unlock from the game the more tools and items you have to work with so going through at least several levels will benefit you.
It also helps to see the creative work behind the game and how they did some of the levels to inspire and get those creative juices flowing. This helps give you an idea of what you can do and how you can accomplish certain things but many of the platforming stunts in the game is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many levels you can get from the online servers and play around in so you will probably never tire for new and adventurous levels to try your luck at. The levels that are included in the game are a basic set of things showing what you can do with all the various items available.
But the really fun thing about LittleBigPlanet is the small amount of actions you have compared to other platformers and how much you can do with it. Your little sack person can walk around, jump and grab stuff as well as use things like jet packs. No additional special moves or super fast runs with extra boost jumps or anything like that, just plain and simple moves but with a lot of objects for the levels. They have left things simple from the standpoint of what the sack can do but not with all the other stuff.
You start off with some basic maneuvering and work your way toward grabbing items and moving them around and being able to jump and grab onto things. This leads to things like grabbing onto birds and being able to grab things while hovering around with a jet pack and even grabbing spinning sponges to jump to higher levels.
From the start this is a unique and different game when you jump into the first page and have complete control, or almost, of your little sack person. You can of course move them around but you can also change their expression with the pad and move their arms independently of each other holding the triggers and moving the thumbsticks.
During levels you canít get this expressive with your personís arms but you do have the ability to change their expression. I know this is not the most useful move in a game but one that makes this a very kid friendly and amusing little gem of a video game. In the levels that are contained in the game you have a good mix of platforming with plenty of action and some puzzling fun to get to the finish. You also have some excellent replay value with being able to return to unlock all that is contained and explore to get more points.
LittleBigPlanet is not just a platformer but an entire exercise in imagination and creativity which allows the creator to explore all that they can do. The levels contained in the game will entertain for about six hours if you run through it fast. But you will want to explore and get to unlock everything so you can work with more stuff to make your own designs. Once you have tried you hand at the level designer you will see how much there is to work with when you have collected all the things in the levels. You can start off simply by completing some tutorials to show you the ropes of how to design and use the various tools, which are simple.
Level design is not something that can be done quickly and younger children may have a hard time getting the concepts and parts down but it is great fun for older kids and adults. This is the kind of project and game that adds so much to the game when you can create and work on your own creations as well as enjoy others by going online to play them. While I did try some online gaming I found this to be the only area that had little problems and was not as enjoyable. You can play with up to four people online in cooperative play trying to get through the levels or in a four player offline where two or more players are required to perform certain actions and stunts.
While there are four people on the screen the camera tries its best to center everyone but at times your character or others can be almost off screen and hardly visible. This happens when others at the opposite side of the screen are trying to move in that direction and can mean action is sometimes difficult to see or make happen on the part of one or some of the players. This only happens in some circumstances and does not affect the game all that much but it does happen and can sometimes mean you have to wait or move toward the rest of the group. If players are not all acting as a group this would mean that there will be times you have to wait for them or they for you but for the most part this is not that big a deal.
The levels may not seem big if you race through them in the few short hours you could but youíre only scratching the surface this way. Taking one level at a time and really exploring it will take hours and you will have to be retracing steps through levels after completing ones further on.
One design trick they used to open up areas is using the stickers, which you unlock in prize bubbles and can place on any blank surface. Each sticker is a certain item or shape such as a teapot and can easily be placed on any blank surface but some surfaces are made for certain stickers. Find the blank teapot shape and you can place the sticker there to open a new area or platform object that will allow you to further explore a new area.
This means you have to do a lot of collecting of stickers as well as platforming to find all the areas to unlock if you want all those other stickers, items for your sack person and the level objects. Each area may only look like it has a few limited spaces but you have to realize that up and down as well as way further along the camera can be moved can show new areas.
The graphics and sound are great and the voices used for the tutorials and explaining things are great in that cartoon Mister Rogers type of voice of being helpful and informative. The actor giving his voice to the game is more like a kidís instructional video of helping you along in a voice that is cheerful and pleasant.
The background sounds and music are nice and none genre specific so there is no real genres or type of music in any one part. There is music appropriate to the backgrounds and types of levels but not anything that you could say is a certain genre or type of music like rock or pop.
Graphics and colors are the realistic type that looks much like a crafters mall scattered across tables with all kinds of realistic looking materials. Your sack person looks like a knitted boy or girl until you opt to go for a new material and the objects are all some type of real world material.
They did a great job with everything and I would suspect that most if not all of the textures and materials are based on real pictures of real objects. The world of LittleBigPlanet is an almost 3 dimensional one but there is a two dimensional aspect when you can only explore or move forward or back so much.
The game would be great and not much more if it not had been for how well they not only created the levels but the entire concept and design of the game. From menus and initial ideas to how well they completed the whole project LittleBigPlanet will be sure to impress anyone who stops in for a little while and finds themselves staying for days.
LittleBigPlanet is a fantastic platformer game that many people are sure to love with its wide variety of elements and content. Level design may not be for everyone but you are sure to have plenty of levels with the community as well as those in the game.