Despite minor complaints over floaty controls and somewhat unfair comparisons to the moustachioed king of platformers, LittleBigPlanet has always been on hand to offer Playstation users a charming and unique platforming experience, with some devilishly good level design and a wealth of creative tools for users to experiment with. So with the third major entry in the series coming from Sumo Digital, and not original developers Media Molecule, can they do justice to the series’ legacy?
The answer is not immediately obvious, as the first impression the game gives off is one of comfortable familiarity. Stephen Fry’s dulcet narration leads you through the opening tutorial as usual, soon passing you off onto newcomer Newton, a talking light bulb voiced by Hugh Laurie, who does his best to introduce the story. I use the word story here in the loosest possible sense because as soon as you realise the world you’re trying to save is called Bunkum, you know the writers had no lofty ambition.
Nonsense story elements aside, the game gets off to a somewhat slow start and it’s not until an hour or so in that Sumo Digital start to show their hand with the introduction of three brand new playable characters, Odd Sock, Toggle and Swoop. Each new character brings their own skills to the table. Odd Sock, the first to be introduced, is fast, can run up walls and wall-jump. Toggle can change size at will and Swoop, as the name suggests, can fly.
For a game that has always been so heavily grounded in its physics engine, these characters slot easily into that environment. They each feel great to control while also adding numerous new gameplay possibilities and puzzles to the mix thanks to their slew of skills. Sackboy doesn't get ignored either with several new power-ups at his disposal that let him blow hot air, teleport through portals, swing along zip wires and boost through the air.
As well as the new gameplay possibilities these additions bring, there’s also a fresh game mode to play through, pop-it puzzles. Tying together traditional-style campaign levels with elements from the creative tools, these stages see you puzzling your way through to the end check point by manipulating the world around you; adding, moving, deleting and resizing objects to help you reach your goal. It’s a fantastic introduction to the creative side of the game without being overwhelming. Helped immensely by the slow but steady drip-feeding of new tools and tutorials as you progress.
The creative mode is still very much in existence and itself includes a whole assortment of new tools to play with and settings to adjust. While my inept fumblings with the mode amounted to very little, I blame my lack of imagination and don’t doubt that the community will get to grips with it better than I and produce some fantastic new experiences.
So to answer the original question, I think Sumo Digital have done a great job. The game’s not likely to set the world on fire, and this instalment won’t necessarily convince those that have already written off the series to change their minds, this is still LittleBigPlanet after all. What the developers have done though is make sensible, appropriate improvements and included additions that not only work well in the course of the game, but provide plenty of scope and opportunity for further development by the community. It’s a title I can see myself checking in on often to see what’s new in Bunkum.Reuse content