LittleBigPlanet PS3 Review

If there is one sign you could use to accurately pinpoint a great game, it would have to be its proficiency at relentlessly retaining your attention throughout the course of the adventure at hand. Any game that can rise to that task, and achieve this usually problematic feat, most certainly deserves attention. It is however when a game goes beyond this calling that we as gamers get our hands on something very special. And that end result is usually a product that deserves the plaudits of critics at large, along with the staunch attention of the gaming community, regardless of what console, developer, or company they choose to blindly pledge their allegiance to.

In truth, there is no solitary way to define LBP. However, the much used promotional lingo of ‘play, create and share’ is probably best. For once, this marketing drivel speaks the truth, as the game is formed around these three intrinsic ideas – which have been interwoven to create the final product. However, lets not forget that the game is still a platformer at heart, albeit one with innovations so dazzling, hidden by an extravaganza of bright colours, ideas and the cheeky grin of Sackboy, that you hardly realise how traditional a game it is below the surface. Core to this innovation of the longstanding genre is Sackboy’s ability to grab onto certain objects in the world. At the most basic this lets you move about blocks of a certain size, but it quickly turns to more complex lifting, swinging, and hold on for your dear life mechanics that remain the basis for many of the game’s puzzles as you journey forward.

Referring to the game as a platformer does give rise to the one slight off-putting aspect of LittleBigPlanet though, as the game does not control as you’d initially expect it to. For most platformers something like this would be inherently game breaking, as if you don’t feel confident in judging the movement of your avatar, and if controls feel too floaty, then you can’t time jumps correctly. But in the case of LBP, this fault is at worst more of a slight inconvenience, as it’s possible to quickly adjust to the game’s physics based uniqueness, and find the quirkiness of the controls a better fit to the game than something more conforming to the genre. Aside from that one minor gaffe, there is honestly not much more to criticize, with everything else on show so astonishing and absorbing that this small misstep is relegated to being inconsequential.

Surprisingly, the developer made levels on show are much more spectacular and varying than you’d initially expect them to be, at times threading typical generic platformer ideas, although executed with a unique flair true to the style of the game. It is however when the levels progress beyond this restrained approach that they evolve into something truly memorable and unique, with a superb soundtrack included that is the equal to every bit of stirring graphical flair you see.

Like many other platformers, the challenge of the vast majority of these stages is to reach the end without dying. Aside from that though, it is startling how much variety there is on show as you venture through, and reach the final goal of each of these 50-or-so levels. The scope, cleverness and downright shrewdness of many of them is a fantastic measuring stick to showcase the talent on show at Media Molecule.

Multiple playthroughs are a necessity too, as there is so much to do, so much to see, and crucially so much to find. With levers, buttons and hidden passageways keeping most of the game’s secrets out of sight. Each level also contains a number of score bubbles dotted all over the place, which is another great intensive to further replay levels, and top previous tallies notched up during earlier run-throughs. When played in multiplayer thing get even better, as you and up to four friends competitively fight for a high score, and at times work together to find illusive multiplayer only items. Combine this with a well thought out menu system that tells you how much you’ve located on each stage, along with online leaderboards, the replayability of this portion of the game is upped considerably.

Additionally, due to the fact the developer-made levels are fashioned using exactly the same creation tool given to users, the option for us to create similarly spectacular, and distinctively unique levels are a possibility. Sony’s promise that anyone would be able to design something special has not come true though, as a vast amount of skill and time is needed to create something truly exceptional. However, there is no rule that says every creation has to be precisely planned, eloquently drawn out, and planed to the nth degree; levels built from children’s imagination, regardless of if they contain a multitude of inescapable chasms or not, can still be entertaining in their own way – especially if the youthful creator had fun making it

All things considered, there is only one reason why you’d not choose to add LBP to your collection, and that would be if you refuse to set your PS3 up online. If so, you are in turn missing out on far too much, and in truth, there are many other titles available to better suit you should you take that approach to gaming. In contrast, it is quite the reverse for just about everyone else, as LBP will continually offer many complementary extras with each day that passes, thanks to its dizzying myriad of online options. Because of this, you should always find a new level to entertain each and every day, and could very well stumble upon something to amaze every now and then should the community continue to be up to the task as the weeks go by.

In the purest sense of the phrase, and when directly compared to greats in the genre, LBP is not a perfect platformer. Nevertheless, the developers should be applauded for creating a profoundly personal work that still overtly appealing to the audience at large. But even though it is not the best platformer out there, the game can quite easily be classed as something entirely original for the genre, casting off a brand new tangent filled with wondrous sights and provocative ideas that are enchantingly imaginative and creative enough to be considered truly exceptional. Ultimately, it is one of the few games that could honestly be considered all things to all people, and as a result should be ceaselessly playable for years to come. If that is not the sign a great game, then I really don’t know what is.

10/10

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Version tested: PS3

Developer: Media Molecule

Publisher: Sony

Genre: Platformer