LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

I’ve been tasked with looking at the absolutely insane new game out on the PS3.
Is a revelation? a new start for Sony? or is it just another platformer with pretentions to brilliance?
Read my Square Go review and see for youself.

LittleBigPlanet

4/5
LittleBigPlanet

If there’s one criticism that can be levelled at the Playstation 3, it’s that practically every major title released has aimed to sate the desires of the hardcore gamers who have the cash to fork out for the heavyweight system. The lack of popular cross-demographic titles have kept it away from the kind of success that has seen the Wii cornering markets and making itself a ‘must-have’ purchase. Well, that’s all set to change.

LittleBigPlanet is the sort of game that consoles have always been crying out for. From the opening intro sequence to the cleverly involving tutorials, easy learning curve and wacky off-the-wall humour, this game has more innovation per square inch than any other release this year.

Sure, there is a collection of standard single player levels, with you guiding a cute knitted puppet around a series of platform-hopping maps on a whistlestop tour of the tools and objects in the game.  But it’s all a clever ruse. Once you’ve started to roam around, you’ll collect items, stickers and materials, which you need to complete some puzzles, as well as to customize your pod (or house) and make your sack-person look unique. By the time you’re halfway through, you’ve already been slyly taught the ways that levels can be crafted and how to use the collected doodads to make it interesting.

What’s more, the whole game is made a bit more of a wheeze by the kindly voice-over from Stephen Fry, providing the real icing on the narratorial cake. He’ll jibe and make silly jokes while chummily encouraging you to explore, craft things and above all have fun.

All of which would make a great family game on it’s own, but LittleBigPlanet is about more than that. It’s about sharing. The level creator is an integral part of the game, and while you don’t have to make any levels if you don’t want to, it’s a jolly good laugh. What’s more, your mates (and anyone else with an internet connection) can then play any levels you knock together. Within hours of the servers going live there were hundreds of user-generated maps ready to play with. So, without ever lifting a finger yourself, you’ve got a near endless supply of new levels and puzzles to play, all varying in style and difficulty. Some are challenges, others are classic platformers, while some are even more abstract.

True, it’s not going to appeal to everyone: the most machismo-laden gamers will no doubt be put off by the cuteness, but otherwise there is enough here to make anyone want to play. Kids will simply love it, hardcore gamers will soak up the challenges and want to create their own, and everyone in between will just plain enjoy it.  It even prompted my game-unfriendly girlfriend to buy a controller so she could play along, and if that doesn’t convice you of how good this is, I don’t know what else could.

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