So what about the "Create" bit? Well, there's a fully-fledged level editor in the PSP game. You can create a design from scratch or use templates based on the levels you've completed in story mode. The range of materials and items available to play with is huge (wood, metal, cardboard, fabric, flowers, cannons, rickshaws, koalas, lemons... To name but a few). You have total freedom to let your imagination run wild and create whatever you feel like.
The problem is, do you have the skills? And are you willing to put in the time? Creating a level which looks half-decent, let alone one which is fun to play, takes serious commitment. With such a huge number of variables to consider it can feel like hard work. However, the "Create" aspect has also been slightly improved for the PSP. It's now much easier to undo errors and the shortcut system is better. These changes aren't enough to get the truly impatient or unimaginative producing instant masterpieces, but they should enhance the experience for creative types willing to put in the time and effort.
And there are plenty of said types about, it would seem. By August last year more than more than one million levels had been created for the PS3 version of LBP. That doesn't include all the ones which had to be deleted due to copyright infringement or dancing cocks, and that does include a lot of old toss, but as wise reader SeesThroughAll once pointed out - even if 99 per cent of those levels are rubbish, you're still left with 10,000 decent ones.
There's just as much potential to "Share" levels in LittleBigPlanet PSP, happily. You can swap creations with nearby PSP owners on an ad hoc basis, or go online and choose from all the ones users have uploaded. Downloading content is a straightforward and speedy process. The Community Moon is simple to navigate around, and the ratings and heart systems make it easier to gauge what's worth playing.
So from platforming to level creation to sharing content, LittleBigPlanet PSP has just as much to offer as its PS3 counterpart - with one notable omission. There's no multiplayer mode in the PSP game. This is a shame as it was a highlight of the previous title, but according to producer Mark Green, it just wasn't possible to include multiplayer in the PSP game.
"It's a trade-off," he told us earlier this year. "The system is physically capable of doing multiplayer, but perhaps not with the full physics system. On the technical side of things you lose a third of the processing power or a third of the system memory just to do multiplayer at all. With those limitations we couldn't achieve it."
Cynics might say that sounds like an excuse for cutting corners, but cynics ought to play LittleBigPlanet PSP first. Then they might see that this is a game which has been crafted with love, care and meticulous attention to detail. Yes, a multiplayer mode would have been welcome - but multiplayer was not the feature that made LBP a triple-A game.
The point about LittleBigPlanet PS3 was that each element stood up on its own. You could enjoy it as a classic, charming platform game without ever going near the level editor. Or you could focus on LBP as a giant toybox, full of tools and fun stuff for realising your own artistic visions. Either way, you also had access to an endlessly updated stream of free downloadable content, created by some of the greatest amateur game designers in the world.
All of the above applies to the PSP game too, plus there have been some neat improvements. The tweaking has been done with a careful enough hand to ensure everything still looks, feels and plays just as it should. SCEE Cambridge has done Media Molecule proud and fans of the original game won't be disappointed. PSP owners who missed out first time around should be sure to give it a go, as LittleBigPlanet is undoubtedly one of the standout titles for Sony's handheld.
9 / 10