LittleBigPlanet Reviews

LittleBigPlanet Vita review

LittleBigPlanet Vita review

Handmade, handheld.

It shouldn't make sense. What place does a game in which a chew toy jumps through shoebox dioramas filled with peeling wallpaper, worn rugs and offcuts from grandma's fabric drawer have on some of humankind's most technologically-advanced entertainment hardware? Sony's task is usually to cover up the joins in its work - to arrange the plastic, glass and buttons to resemble sleek, black pebbles popped straight from the future. It seems curious that a game hand-stitched in Guildford should have ended up the poster boy for Sony's corporate wonder-conjuring.

While no game would be better suited to sale on Etsy or a stall at an artisan fête, LittleBigPlanet's handicraft approach runs deeper than mere aesthetic - and it's here that the secret to the synergy is found. In play, you often notice the ropes and pulleys reeling past gaps in the scenery as doors open and bridges lower. The curtain flaps open so you see the sticks on which enemies animate into a scene; the craft behind the magic. You spy the machinations of level design, the digital nuts and bolts that work the level designer's ideas.

LittleBigPlanet shows its workings - not least via the powerful level editor with which much of the game's campaign was constructed - because, at heart, it is a game about the spectacle of ingenuity. I can't believe they did that, it hopes you'll say.

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LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet

Now even littler.

"Play, create, share." That's the official motto - or tagline, depending how cynical you are - of LittleBigPlanet. The idea being you play through a series of platforming levels, create your own (with the option to throw in items collected during the platforming bit), and share them online.

That's the idea, but it doesn't sum up everyone's experience of LittleBigPlanet on PS3. For some of us it was more like, "Play, create, realise game design is quite hard actually, give up." For others, "Play, complain about the controls being too floaty, go back to Resistance." LBP may have earned an impressive set of review scores thanks to the charming central character, uniquely realised artistic vision, impressive level of technical achievement and huge scope for creativity, but some people just want to shoot a monster in the face.

If you fall into that category, the PSP version of LittleBigPlanet won't pull you out. Development duties may have fallen to another studio, SCEE Cambridge, but it's clear the team there has worked hard to stay true to Media Molecule's vision. The result is a game which is just as pretty, inventive and enjoyable as the original, and slightly less floaty. Which is of course good news for those of us who were hooked by LBP first time around.

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LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet

The little game that could.

It was the little game with big ideas. A compact, cute PS3 platform game from a tiny indie studio that wanted the world to muck in with its making, using level and object creation tools. But with time (and not very much of it at that), LittleBigPlanet became a very big game indeed.

It took off, like one of its own rocket-propelled skateboards. It became the poster-child for a new generation of gaming; commentators and Sony executives showered it in buzzwords, talking up connected communities creating constellations of content, portraying LittleBigPlanet as Spore in skate pants.

Sony got giddy with all the reflected glory and love. First it promoted the game's Sackboy avatar to platform mascot and ubiquitous totem of cool, and then elevated LittleBigPlanet itself to the status of a triple-A, blockbuster tent-pole of its entire platform strategy. It as good as said that this was the game that would save PS3, and even those who'd loved it at first sight had to wonder whether Media Molecule's funky experiment could take the strain.

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