To create your free account, please enter your email address and password below. Please ensure your email is correct as you will recieve a validation email before you can login.
To log in to your account, please enter your email address and password below:
To reset your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a link to reset it.
From a little acorn sprouts a genre-defining PS3 must-have...
- Outstanding production.
- Fun-fuelled physics gameplay.
- Endless creativity.
- Some slight control niggles.
- Creation tools can be a little overwhelming.
- You need a PS3 if you haven't got one.
From the creators of the entertaining if slightly off-the-radar Rag Doll Kung-Fu (check it out on Steam) comes the single most anticipated title to appear on the PS3 since it launched. Bucking the typical trend of AAA development, LittleBigPlanet comes from a team just shy of 40 members. But don't let that detract from what is, quite possibly, the first must-have title for the PS3 - you can have your Metal Gear Solid 4s and Gran Turismo 5s, for us it's all about Sackboy and his adventures against the laws of physics.
Since making its mark at the Game Developer's Conference back in 2007 Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet, and more specifically lead star Sackboy, has been waving the PS3 flag. Promising to usher in a new era of user-created content, LittleBigPlanet is at heart an out-and-out platformer in a similar manner to Mario or Sonic. However whilst such iconic characters have had a hard time of late and the genre is far less significant than it used to be, LittleBigPlanet manages to single-handedly push things forward and could provide Sony with its own face-saving, unit shifting, pint-sized mascot.
The minority that sampled Media Molecule's first title will instantly spot a common theme running throughout the UK studio's latest output. Instead of relying upon canned animation sequences or even advanced mo-cap techniques - both costly resources - LittleBigPlanet favours a physics based system that drives everything in the game. As a result LittleBigPlanet and Sackboy himself have a distinct feeling quite unlike anything that's come before. The sense that everything behaves (ish) to real world laws injects the platformer genre with levels of innovation and creativity similar to which Miyamoto-san last bestowed upon us with Super Mario Galaxy. It's done so well that you're left to question why somebody hasn't done this before. Even the simplest and most generic things such as shifting crates or swinging across chains is transformed to the point of feeling like it's the first time we've ever done such things in a videogame.
Sackboy's repertoire of actions is kept blissfully simple, he can run, jump, and pull stuff around, and that's about it. But because of the physics based environments and meticulous level designs, a run in conjunction with a jump turns into a death-defying swing across a fiery chasm; a jump and a pull turns into a desperate clutch of a rotating wheel to stop Sackboy falling to his doom. Its pure simplicity ensures LittleBigPlanet puts a smile on your face in the same way that Super Mario Bros did back in 1985. There appears to be a slightly off-putting delay between the action and pressing the buttons at first, but it soon becomes part of the play and hardly noticeable.
Sackboy makes a grand entrance back in 2007...
Although it's largely a 2D platformer, there are three planes - in and out of the TV screen - which Sackboy can jump between. This element can cause a few niggles, but is generally handled well and comes off particularly stylish once you've spent every waking moment playing and polishing your skills. Sackboy stylishly leaps and ducks between the planes semi automatically, almost instinctively with practise, re-enforcing his stake as the coolest videogame character in years. As TVG always maintains, it's the little things that matter. LittleBigPlanet is awash with these, whether it's changing Sackboy's expressions with taps on the d-pad, or using shoulder buttons and thumbsticks to control his arms, gesticulating until the cardboard cut-out cows come home.
The standard selection of levels that feature on the disc illustrate just how creative LittleBigPlanet can get. Beyond the basic necessity of largely moving from left-to-right, Media Molecule's level designers have let their imagination run riot with obstacles to overcome and challenges to face. Certain sections require you to grab a handful of SixAxis' and share the fun with challenges geared around co-operative play, whilst the many time-based challenges creates a sense of urgency that ideally suits LittleBigPlanet. It's evident that LittleBigPlanet could only come from a development team with an indie spirit and one teamed perfectly with Sony. It's difficult to imagine LittleBigPlanet coming from Microsoft, and whilst the innovation and creativity is reminiscent of Nintendo, the luscious production puts it firmly out of their territory.
Moving beyond a genuinely original and meticulously realised concept, LittleBigPlanet also features tremendous production values that defy the teeny-weeny team that created it, so little in fact that each and every member is featured in the game's introductory level which sets the bar for the rest of the game superbly. It's testimony to the size of the team that the visual finesse is beyond virtually everything we've seen on the PS3 (perhaps only MGS4 rivals it), touching upon a marriage of technology and style that rivals the work of Pixar. This quality extends into the sound, superbly narrated by the reassuring yet slightly mocking Stephen Fry (Pocoyo fans will spot the similarities) and featuring the best soundtrack to ever appear in a videogame. They've squeezed every last bit of the blu-ray disc full of charisma and personality.
But, of course, this is only a fragment of what LittleBigPlanet is about. The game's almost limitless lifespan and true picture comes about when you jump into the creation mode and begin to share content online. The 40 or so stages that form LittleBigPlanet's Story mode are just a means to gaining the materials you need to start, with each stage's collectables coming in the shape of items, stickers, decorations, and other goodies to use. Armed with a considerable array of tools to craft your very own masterpiece LittleBigPlanet is only restricted by your own imagination, whether it's creating obstacle strewn races for you and your friends to compete in, or a devilishly tricky platform level that would have Miyamoto-san nodding in appreciation. If you own a PlayStation Eye then LittleBigPlanet finally provides the reason to take it back off the shelf. Hooking up the peripheral allows you to take photos in the real world, which can then be used as stickers to slap around in your own creation.
So advanced is the level creation materials that you'll need to wade through a series of tutorials, but it's worth every minute and you do have the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry to act as your mentor throughout. We have to admit that it can all be a little overwhelming and slightly intimidating, but MediaMolecule have done their best to ensure it's something that's accessible to everybody. Of course the depth of options available means that you can really create some staggering content, and we're sure this is the key to making the game's longevity almost endless.
TVG Store - Finding you the cheapest price for: