underthewether's LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3) review

Must Have for PS3

After completing the single player and trying some level creation, I have to say this game is great. The amount of creativity afforded is astounding as each level is more ingenious than the next. I absolutely love how everything has a hand-made look, a very distinctive departure from virtually every platformer ever made. LBP reminds me in many ways of Super Mario Galaxy because they both surprise you with their scale and the amount of variety they can pack into a level. Overall both games are very accessible, but also feature some genuinely challenging stretches.

Gameplay wise LBP takes some getting used to. For years I've gotten used to platformers like Mario or Donkey Kong Country where characters run and jump in certain ways. Not so in LBP. Since LBP takes place in a physical world, unlike any other platformer I have played, everything obeys the laws of physics. Objects have inertia, can gain and lose momentum, and most detrimental to platforming, can't stop on a dime. It is very easy to run off the edge of platforms simply because you are not accustomed to stopping your character's forward momentum. Even so I really like the benefits that a system like this gives you. For instance to reach high objects you simply ride a platform that rises and falls. If you jump just as the platform reaches its apex your upward momentum adds to the force of your jump, propelling you higher. There are some challenging and fun jumping puzzles involving platforms on bungies that use this principal to perfection.

I wanted to finish the single player first in order to acquire as many materials and objects as possible before I tried the level creator. At first it is very intimidating and I spent a couple hours just watching the tutorials and experimenting. What's fantastic about the level creator is that if you have a good idea and the time to realize it, you can build virtually anything you can imagine. The downside to this is that it takes A LOT of work to make a good level. Still it's better to have the ability to make something great than have something simple and easy to use that is ultimately thin on utility. I have also spent some time playing levels that others have created and posted in the LBP system. Some of the levels are very creative (escape from Alcatraz, Metal Gear Solid homage), while other levels are more simple fun (ride a roller coaster). I can't wait to see what people come up with after this game has been out a while more users have had time to master the level creator.

Aside from a few annoyances with getting used to the jumping I have thoroughly enjoyed my LBP experience so far. If you like platformers and have a PS3 Little Big Planet is a must have.

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