* Awarded Extreme Gamer's Best Platform Game of '08, Most Innovative Title of '08
Best Character (Sackboy) '08, Best New I.P. of '08, PS3 GOTY '08
The tag line of “play, create and share” is the most appropriate description for Media Molecules innovative platformer Little Big Planet. Powered by the Playstation 3 and the Playstation Network, Sony has started to define their own niche in the on going console war. Not only is Little Big Planet a landmark in innovative game design, it's the face of the Playstation 3.
I want to go to Vegas with the executives that gave Media Molecule the go ahead to make their unique platforming game for the Playstation. Betting on the little developer with big ideas has paid off in double because Little Big Planet is one of the premier games of 2008. Little Big Planet (LBP) has also given the PS3 a mascot character in Sackboy, the sack marionette character that you control in LBP. Innovation is what we need to start seeing in gaming advance as an art form and in this respect Little Big Planet has taken a leap forward. Its interesting approach to platforming and user-generated content creates an eye-catching, imaginative diversion from all the other games currently on the market. If you're looking for a alternative to the norm, I suggest you put a little sack-loving in your heart.
Little Big Planet is an anomaly in gaming. This standard side-scrolling platformer has crossed over from its simple roots into a gaming version of creative art wrapped into a fun level-by-level game. The action takes place like a 2D side-scroller in a 3D world. The comparison to any side scroller like Mario would be fair, however as you can tell from looking at one screen shot of LBP is that has much more than Mario can offer. I`m not saying LBP is better than a Super Mario Game because in judging them against each other from a pure gameplay standard, LBP doesn`t measure up. What LBP accomplishes that no other game has done is take the concept of a platforming game and provided the user to become a creative member by inputting their own indignation into the game with one of the most competent level editor ever added into a game. Besides adding your own imagination to the mix, LBP offers up one interesting and dynamic platforming experiences we've seen in a long time.
For a simple conceptual game of side-scrolling platforming, LBP can be a real challenge. This sharp fun platformer will surprise you with the level of complexity and challenge that has gone into each distant level. Things start fairly slow in the main story mode and then ramp up into some of the most puzzling tight levels seen in a modern platforming game. The levels created by Media Molecule showcase the unique physics and graphical capabilities of LBP while providing some wild imaginative levels that border on pure genius. Around every corner a new obstacle will pop up making LBP an interesting challenge. When you start moving on to the later levels you will probably find yourself cursing the poor little Sackboy like it was his fault. LBP can be tricky at times which only adds to the fun. For all LBP cutesy looks, it can be real monster.
Co-Op game play has also been included in LBP which transfers to online co-op play. The co-op portion of the game works well and is a treat online with a group of people, but the main campaign doesn`t lend itself perfectly to multiple players. Some slow down can occur when playing online depending on your connection speeds and a lot of the maps feels like you have a tag along instead of a partner. The best part of co-op is how silly it can get with all the customizable options on your personal Sack person and what you can do with the game space together. A few sections are designed to take advantage of two-players; however these are few and far between. Little Big Planet is fun with friends, but it really looses some of immersive qualities when your coordinating multiple players at once. Worst of all your lives are tied together, so if a friend is constantly dying you`ll have to pay for their missteps.
The character you control is LBP is your vary own customizable sackboy, or sackperson (if you want to be politically correct). Sackboy is a very mobile creation that can leap and run across the world with speed and grace. Besides running, walking and jumping Sackboy can cling to certain objects in the game world that allows you to swing and hang over and across un-jumpable regions. The controls are overly simplified which only adds to the playability and charm of the game. The levels are the difficulty aspect of LBP, so thankfully the devs kept it simple with Sackboy. The only tricky part can be navigating between the boards which can be up to three levels deep. At times it can be a hard to know where you character sits on the level. This is usually correct once you start moving, but it can see it frustrating some gamers.
If you have ever had the aspiration to be a game developer you can take a stab at the basics with LBP. The intuitive level editor that is provided in LBP gives all the tools to create your own levels that can rival the developers own creations. The beauty of the editor is that tutorial that walks through each step of the process. Once you learn the basics you can jump into creating your own levels to share with the online community. The only limitation to what you can create is your imagination. Judging from the amazing creative designs Media Molecule has created anything is possible. The only resource you need to create spectacular levels online is a good idea and some free time to create and test your creation.
Once you have made a level and uploaded it to the network. Gamers can play through your level and rate it on a five star rating system which also includes a number of words you can associate with each created level. This works for your level and other levels you play online. Even though LBP has only been released for a week the online community has been supporting the online section vigorously and we have seen a few memorable levels in the early stages. While none really rival the in-game levels at this moment, Media Molecule themselves hope gamers will create some outstanding that surpass the ones the devs have created.
The story behind LBP is set up that the substance of your dreams creates another realm in the cosmos. Given that premise, LBP hits the perfect chord with the associated sound, music and graphic contributions. A great amount of detail has been added to the Little Big Planet world with some really interesting objects and designs. The art style is definitely on its own level by taking a large pool of psychedelic themes and realistic objects and merges into one immense form. The dream-like state that Media Molecule captured feels other worldly and always interesting.
The music contributions follow suite with some groovy musical tracks and diverse selections. This ties in with the off centered sound effects which lend themselves perfectly to other offset and often strange visuals. The audio doesn`t feature voice over work, so you will hear a lot of nonsensical gibberish, but it works. Everything about LBP seems to fit together like an obscure abstract puzzle.
The one major negative point towards LBP is that the single player mode can be completed in a few settings, if you don`t get frustrated along the way. After the main segment is finish there are still a lot of reasons to hold onto LBP if you are into the whole idea of playing, creating and sharing levels online. If you don't fall into the "developer" aspect of LBP and you only like running through the main campaign of a game, then you likely be a little disappointed and should think about renting Little Big Planet over purchasing the game straight out. All other games, you will likely fall in love with the little sack person and his absurd journey.
LittleBigPlanet is one of the years most stimulating games to be released. Exclusively designed to run on the PS3, fanboys will love the fact that Xbox owners won`t get the chance to "play, create and share." Although, LittleBigPlanet isn`t a perfect game and falls into some pitfalls along the way, but as a whole product the project is larger than life and immersive. The greatest asset to LittleBigPlanet is its motto which allows you to unlock your imagination and create your own creations within the game. Media Molecule has made a stamp on the gaming community with a unique entertaining action platforming game that takes the genre in a new direction with its blending user created content with an artistic flair. LittleBigPlanet is one title that you can`t miss out on and a must-have for all platforming and budding game developers around the world.
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