Cute sack people, a cheerful soundtrack, a brilliant art style and challenging levels to play through were what made this game an instant hit. It also featured a Create Mode where players could create their own levels to play in and share with the rest of the LBP community. Over 3.5 million levels have been created by players. Designers, Media Molecule and publishers, Sony Computer Entertainment have released a direct sequel aptly titled, LittleBigPlanet 2. It seems that the creative genius behind the first game carries over into the sequel.
The story of the game is pretty simple: the inhabitants of LittleBigPlanet are sucked up into an inter-dimensional vacuum cleaner after it appears in the sky. Unfortunately, Sackboy suffers the same fate and ends up in a place called Craftworld. Here, he gets rescued from “The Negativitron” by a group called “The Alliance” and its leader, Larry Da Vinci. The Alliance is dedicated to fighting and defeating the evil Negativitron before it ultimately destroys Craftworld.
LittleBigPlanet 2, just like its predecessor, is a 2.5-D platform game at heart in which you make your way from Point A to Point B. You dodge obstacles, jump on enemies, pull levers and swing across gaps to get to your destination. You collect bubbles in levels to earn points. Sound familiar? Well, there’s more. LBP2 tends to mix things up in the levels a bit more than in the first game. In one level, you may be running throughout the level and in the next, you might be riding on the back of a bee, firing honey. You may even find yourself going vertical on the back of a caterpillar. There are also new gadgets and devices that will make completing a level just a little more fun. Firstly, there are jump pads that launch you high into the air to reach ledges and other possible secrets. Secondly, the “Creatinator” is a hat which Sackboy will wear that can be adjusted to fire any object that the player chooses. Thirdly, the “Grabinator” will give Sackboy the ability to grab and throw any object that is able to be grabbed (Did that make any sense?). The levels have really become more interesting than in the first game; making them unpredictable and ultimately more fun.
Replayability will not be a problem for this game, not at all! You might be able to beat the story mode in a short period of time if you play continuously, but you can bet that you will come back for more. There are high scores to beat, outfits to find, hidden stickers to find and challenges to unlock. The game also offers personal pins for different challenges so you have something to show for your effort and maybe just brag about how awesome you are. Also, just like the first LittleBigPlanet; LBP2 has multiplayer. You can play cooperatively with up to 3 other players so that means 4 players in total within a game. Also, what’s really great is that LBP is very easy to pick up and play so it’s suitable for all ages. The beauty of the multiplayer is that it can be played locally or online. For challenging other players, you can play games like basketball, pool and air hockey, which are unlocked through the Story Mode. I only had one real problem with the multiplayer. If playing a co-op game locally and one player decides to run ahead of everyone else, the camera will zoom out to try and keep track of all the players. This makes distinguishing your Sack person very hard. Also, the players left behind might be killed off and will only be able to rejoin at the next checkpoint.
Fans of the first game will know that it has a Create Mode where you are able to craft your own levels out of scratch. It was praised for its addition but not for it’s execution in certain areas as some people felt that it became too complicated. From what I’ve experienced, the Create Mode has been simplified for easier level creation. It also has so many more options for the player to choose from such as creating a racing level, one that incorporates shooting and you are also able to add cutscenes to your created level. However, things can become a little tricky when trying to use certain elements such as making projectiles actually register as projectiles. It can be fixed by digging into the Create Mode’s settings but it couldn’t really help with the complicated features. Not necessarily a big issue as it didn’t take that much away from the experience.
Not much can really be said about the graphics except that the game’s engine has shown some improvement in terms of lighting; it just looks better. The visuals are truly superb and show off some of the PS3’s potential. The level design is typical LBP style; very cute and colourful.
The audio in the game is great! Ranging from sound effects, to voice-overs of gibberish, to the soundtrack; everything is very well done. If you’ve played the first LBP, you’ll know what to expect from the soundtrack. It’s made up of cheery songs but not the kind that will drive you crazy. It’s the kind that is very catchy and will have you humming along while you play. You can also use the sound effects and tracks in your own created levels. Another great feature is that you will be able to record your own samples if you want your levels to be narrated. This can be done by using a headset or the Playstation Eye microphone. Fans of the first game will be pleased to know that Stephen Fry has returned as the narrator.
As I mentioned before, more than 3.5 million levels were created after the release of the first game. Well, I have some good news for you; LBP2 has backwards compatibility, enabling the player to enjoy all those levels plus all the new additions. Also, uploading your own created level is a breeze. Playing other people’s creations is simple but unfortunately, the load times can be quite long.
In conclusion, LittleBigPlanet 2 is an excellent game. The developers took a formula that worked and mixed it up a little to improve on that formula. You just won’t know what to expect while playing through a level. It could be a racing segment or even a segment that involves shooting. I was not able to test the PlayStation Move with this title but hopefully in the near future. Great for all ages, LBP2 is great for playing with friends or family.
Predominantly reviewed on PlayStation 3.