Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nothing "little" about it: Little Big Planet review

Shameless plug: My PSN is eternalecho and the first level I created is called "The wall." Go play it!

I’ve only had Little Big Planet a week, but I’ve sunk 20 or so hours into it already. Having experienced the full spectrum of the title's Share, Play and Create features, I figure it’s time to give my review.

For me, almost everything about LBP is pure, unadulterated fun. The characters are adorable and extremely customizable, the worlds are charming and often astonishing and the soundtrack is catchy. Controls and navigating the game's three levels of depth takes some getting used to, but a little practice solved that problem for me.

At its core, LBP is a platformer. Aside from a few body movements, Sackboys can run, jump and grab onto stuff. That’s it.

Thanks to this simplicity, LBP works well as a pick-up-and-play title for those who are new to gaming. However, with the inclusion of more than 500 pick-ups and some surprisingly deep play mechanics built into many levels, LBP also offers a nice amount of challenge for the seasoned vets. Online or off, alone or with friends, the act of playing the game is a lot of fun.

When it comes to creating, it’s boggling how much players can do. Everything you see in the game was built with the ginormous number of tools at your disposal and figuring out how to use most of them proved quite easy. Plenty of initial mess-ups and obscenities, but after I got the hang of it, building levels became a joy. I think I may even be more addicted to building than playing at this point.

That’s probably the best thing LBP has going for it: imagination. If you want something, just figure out a way to build it. The sky is very nearly the limit.

Even better, once it’s been built, sharing is a snap. You simply post your level online and let the masses have at it. For those who prefer to stick to the running and jumping, this means the amount of new levels (coming out daily, mind you) are infinite. Sure, some player-created content is pretty bad. But the point is that it’s getting people to think, be creative and take part in a sort of community revolving around the game.

Of course, there are also a few missteps with the title. Online is still getting a few kinks worked out, but I’ve played almost problem-free for the past five days of my first week.
While the level select screen is cute (patches stuck all over the world representing player-built levels), the organization leaves much to be desired. I’d give anything for a simple list with various search criteria.

While building, several of the icons are too small to tell what they are. Not a problem if your inventory is small, but it can become a hassle once you start collecting several hundred random bits and pieces.

Finally, LBP uses a keyboard like that of the old PS3 firmware. You know; the cell phone style? I HATE this in a videogame. It makes typing a chore and I don’t understand why a proper board was not included.

Well, look at me going off on a rant yet again. Like I said with my Dead Space review, I only do this when I really, really like a game.

LBP is astounding. Period. The replay value is endless and what comes already on the disc is well worth the 60 bucks. I highly recommend you pick it up.

If you’re online, please be sure to give “The wall” a try.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

*Sonny Chiba voice*
Riddle Big Pranet? Heh! There's nothing riddle about it!