All the imaginative dreams of everybody in the world float upward to a fantastical place called LittleBigPlanet: dreams of candy and rockets and holidays and, well, just about everything cool. What if you could use all these things to make your own game, one that’s fun, easy and creative? That’s what LittleBigPlanet, the game, is all about.
Sony/Media Molecule for PS3
Replay Value: 9.0
Overall Score: 9.0
Pros: Make your own game; share it with others online; cute yet deep.
Cons: Stopping your character takes some getting used to; some downloadables are too expensive.
MORE THAN JUST FUN
LittleBigPlanet might look cute. You create your own platform game with the doll-like Sackboy and his cheeky pals. But there’s more than fun to the levels you make. It’s about being your own person, a true individual. Your fascinating adventure is only limited by your own brain.
As you play through the first level, a helpful British voice tells you how to use all the controls in the game. Happy music plays in the background. A world full of kings with big red lips and flapping birds with green feathers awaits you. The voice even tells you what to do if you get stuck in a canyon with no way out. (Just press a couple of buttons and you’ll be whisked away to your last checkpoint. Thankfully, there are many checkpoints.)
SHARE THE LOVE
Since everybody has a unique story to tell, the games you create with LittleBigPlanet will probably be interesting to other people as well. That’s why Sony lets you upload your game to the PlayStation Network so others can indulge in the whimsy you’ve worked so hard on.
The bonus? Your labor of love conceivably can be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. You can check out the work of others, too, and play for free.
Once you find a level you want to explore, just click Play Online with your controller, and you’ll be transported to that brand new world. You can invite your friends to play there, too.
REALLY OWN IT
You can customize your game by taking pictures of your favorite things with the optional PlayStation Eye camera and inserting them. Images of your fave posters, pets, gadgets, toys, heroes and places can be backgrounds others encounter as they move through your personal action-filled fantasy world.
You probably won’t want to make a game right away without getting the hang of things. First, you’ll climb inside your POD space station, which is kind of a cross between a bedroom and a secret tree house. You can decorate it any way you want. There’s a handy virtual PS3 controller in your POD that acts like a computer. Step up to it, press X and you’ll get into the single player Story Mode.
Story Mode is full of wild environments with lush backgrounds that seem to be made from colorful scraps someone had lying around the house. It’s guaranteed to get you in the mood to design a game. As you play through the levels, you’ll unlock items you can place into the game you’ll eventually work on.
In the My Moon section, you can construct your project through the Create mode. The PopIt Menu is a cool tool that floats above your head when you press the square button on your controller. This tool helps you make your own running and jumping game. It also lets you access the items you’ve collected in Story Mode. These items help you make your level and decorate it.
Copy the objects you like and place them throughout the environment. You can delete the ones that don’t quite fit, too. You’ll use bolts, pistons, string, rods, glue, elastic and winches to make all kinds of machines. You can add danger spots, ones full of toxic gas or shocking electricity.
While it sounds a little complex, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of it. The game’s colorful booklet is helpful with instructions and tips. And so is that guy with the British voice.
LittleBigPlanet lets you add free downloadable content to your characters. For instance, there’s a jack-o-lantern mask for those who like Halloween year round. Love outer space? There’s a spacesuit, too. There are other downloadables you pay for, and some of these are too expensive.
You can only put so many materials and objects into a level, though. When the thermometer on the left of the screen is full, you’re done.
REAL, WEIRD SCIENCE
One of the best features in LittleBigPlanet is the attention to physics. The weight of your character and all the objects in the game move like things in real life do. So when you swing on a rope from, say, one ice cream cone to another, there’s nothing fake about it.
The only problem I had with LittleBigPlanet is a minor one. SackBoy doesn’t really stop on a dime. Just as in real life, momentum has to slow before you halt—as if you’re putting on the brakes. So until you get a real feel for your character, you’ll fall from a cliff more than once.
Overall, though, LittleBigPlanet is one of the year’s best games. Like the best movies or books, it takes you into its world, making you believe that world is an actual place. Unlike movies or books, you can make this planet into your fantasies. You’re not just in control of a character you can customize. You’re in control of a world you create from the bottom up.