Play. Create. Share. That’s the general theme behind Media Molecule’s latest Playstation 3 exclusive, and the game delivers in every aspect. The main character of LittleBigPlanet is an adorable, little burlap sack of a person, aptly named “Sack Boy”, who must navigate over 90 pre-made levels, as well as whatever wacky, intricate level designs the community can come up with.
Players will use the same basic commands throughout levels – jump, grab, drag, etc – to reach the end of the level. Levels are littered with your typical platforming hazards, such as bottomless pits and scrolling enemies, in addition to various vehicles. Along the way, you collect blue orbs, which go towards your score for the level. You can also pick up new items, decorations, and stickers, which can be used in creating your own levels. You can play through levels – competing or helping each other - online or locally along with three other friends. Some levels will even require extra players to gain access to certain items or sections of the level.
The game opens up with a few tutorial levels that ease you into the game at your own pace, so you can get your footing. The learning curve is incredibly fast because the control scheme follows a typical platformer control scheme; you move with the analog stick, jump with X, and grab with R1. The square button opens up your “Poppit”, which allows you to perform various tasks on the fly, such as customizing your Sack Boy’s costume, using the text chat feature, or covering levels in stickers or items. The menu is accessible at any time during a level and it’s a breeze to navigate.
The poppit is also used when in the “Create” mode, where users are allowed free reign to craft their own levels from scratch. As you progress through levels either in the story mode, or online, you gain more and more items that can be used to create your own levels. The level creator is incredibly extensive, and will require going through a considerable amount of tutorials before you can really get the hang of it. However, after some hands on time and practice, it will become immediately apparent how fun and impressive the level creator is. You have the ability to create any type of level you want, from a standard platformer, to a racing game, to a bank heist. You can even hop into the create mode with up to four friends, who can help you work on your levels. Less creative users will still be able to access all of the content generated by their fellow gamers, as well as the main story levels.
Visually, the game is gorgeous, whether playing in high-definition or not. What makes the visuals more impressive, however, is the endearing art design. The game looks incredibly unique, and each level has it’s own artistic visual flair to go along with the adorable patchwork of your Sack Boy. The game also features a pleasant soundtrack, full of various tunes to fit any level. The songs are all catchy, all fitting, and there are even a few memorable ones. The soundtrack is accompanied by hilarious sound effects either directly from your Sack Boy, or from all the different aspects of a level.
The main draw to LittleBigPlanet is the game’s ability to transcend genres, and even create new ones. While the main game is a varied platformer at heart, the incredibly in-depth level creator offers endless possibilities. In the short time the game has been available, I’ve seen faithful recreations of beloved stages from gaming past, new and inventive platformers, levels that, aside from being fun to play, are down right hilarious, an actual working calculator; even levels that will play music for you note by note as you ride along a manmade vehicle. The sheer amount of possibilities to be explored is endless, and with a bevy of user-created content being uploaded on a daily basis, you could play this game for the rest of your life and never be bored. Each and every level is essentially its own game.
When LittleBigPlanet was announced for the Playstation 3, it promised to revitalize the faltering platformer genre, as well as provide one of the most unique experiences the video game world has ever seen. The game has already made good on those promises, and can only be expected to deliver more and more unlimited, amazing content. There isn’t anything like LittleBigPlanet anywhere. It’s an incredible game, and an even more incredible creative tool, putting immeasurable power in your hands. It truly is a near-perfect game.