LittleBigPlanet Review

07 November 2008 | ps3 review

LittleBigPlanet is the much hyped (and soon to be over merchandised) playstation exclusive. It’s a community based platformer for up to 4 players and includes a diverse and unsurpassed amount of creative community tools to create and share your own levels, objects, character costumes etc. The tagline for LBP is “Create, Share, Play” and while I think LBP is an amazing game, I’m not sure how well it delivers in the “Play” Category.

Gameplay: 8/10
My biggest problem with Little Big Planet is the gameplay itself. Platformers are great games, but one of the most important thing in a platformer is you ability to jump and move effectively. In LBP, jumping can be “floaty” and take a significant amount of time to master…it just never is as precise as a Mario Bros. Game. The other problem is that LBP is played in 3 planes, the foreground, background, and middle. You can manually jump between these planes, but LBP has an autodetect system that works well for the most part…except when it doesn’t and you fall to your doom and die. These two factors lead to mistakes, deaths, and failure – all of which leads to frustration. That being said, the game is much more forgiving and fun when you have multiple players (aka more respawns). I have had some trouble with gameplay performance online, but the servers just had work done on them…and it has improved. The physics additions to the platforming engine really gives the game some legs and allows for creativity to flourish online.

Graphics: 9.5/10
The graphics in LittleBigPlanet are mighty impressive….though not mind blowing. I really like the overall “pop-up” book visual style. The most important thing is that the sackboys have a great variety of looks, expressions and are fantastically animated. There’s an immense library of items and level building blocks that allow for a diverse range of sights. The developer levels are all diverse and some community levels are quite impressive (especially the Mario Bros Lvl 1 remake which looks pretty spot). The developers have given everyone plenty of tools to keep this game looking fresh for years to come.

Sound/Music: 9.5/10
I am a huge fan of the charming narrator who provides some excellent voicework while you play through your first few levels or watch any tutorials. Word Bubbles pop up in-game and most of the time feature a sort of jumbled/mumbled made-up language or sound effect. Some of these “fake speech” FX are great while others are annoying. The music is very good especially the light fun beats from the early levels.

Lasting Appeal: 10/10
The developers really couldn’t do any more to add to the longevity of this game. All of the developer levels are very good…even if they can be frustrating. You’ll want to play them though because that’s where you unlock a lot of the goodies to decorate your sackboy & create levels. The level editor allows for nearly any level to be created and you can instantly upload your creations to the server. One of the most fun I have had in the game has been browsing the online levels and playing them. The diversity of the levels online is quite interesting – I’ve been Batman, earned easy trophies, or simply experienced the humor of selected Xbox360 as the better console and having to do the walk of shame. Have I mentioned that there’s up to 4 player online co-op? or the fact that you should be able to create levels online with up to 4 people in a future patch? Bottom line is that if you like platformers….you’ll be playing LBP for years to come.

Average: 92.50%
Tilt: + 2.50%

LittleBigPlanet is more of a creative tool than a game. It provides users around the world with the ability to create their own levels, characters, and objects and share them online with the world. The basic platformer infrastructure is really the only limitation (but a lot of people have already found ways around that…see tetris above). The overall presentation, grandness of the idea and fantastic execution allows LBP to transcend its flaws. The game is utterly charming, fantastically unique, and surely a game that will be remembered.

Verdict: 95%

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