LittleBigPlanet 2 thrusts us once again into the wonderful and charming world of adventure with Sackboy. The story unfolds as a mysterious vacumn appears over the blue sunny skies of LittleBigPlanet threatening the inhabitants and sucking up Sackboy. A strange guy will huge 3D glasses and a weird accent appears named Larry D Vinci from a semi secret organization called ‘The Alliance’ and offers a helping hand to Sackboy, saving him from ‘The Negavitron’. The Negavitron is an evil robot vacuum that is determined to suck up all the creations and destroy Craftworld.
During the main story, the gameplay is similar to the original game in some places yet totally different in others. The main story does a great job of showing off the new and amazing levels that can be created this time around, with whole new gameplay mechanics being available. But more on that later. Sackboy is still as cute and vulnerable as ever as he journeys through the eight themed worlds which cover around 30 levels with bonus levels included. The music and graphics are still as endearing as they have always been and there are still a huge amount of collectibles and outfits available throughout the game. The choice to change your outfit and customize Sackboy is still a main feature of the game, allowing players to be creative and dress their character up. Collecting bubbles and stickers is a main priority for unlocking new outfits and areas. New features such as ‘The Grabinator’ allows Sackboy to swing from grabbable objects. Personally I found this not to be as precise as I would have hoped for and frequently left my poor little Sackboy getting toasted in Lava. Sackboy also has the chance to use the ‘The Creatinator’ which was a hat that Sackboy could wear and fire various objects throughout the game.
One of the new ideas introduced by Media Molecule are the Sackbots which are non playable characters that follow Sackboy around once you have released them from their prisons. They are seriously cute and act kind of like Lemmings with the player having to guide them to safety. Sackbots can become emotional at times and sometimes fear falling from great heights or even losing each other.Inevitably some may get lost, dropped or fall to their doom during your journey, but it is up to the player to guide most of them to the final marker. If you manage to save enough of them, they are then sucked into a big machine and the level is complete. If you have the required amount of Sackbots you will then be rewarded with many stickers, goodies and outfits.
Playing co-op is fun and enjoyable and some of the levels require two players for extra goodies and bonuses. There are a number of levels that will see the players going head to head, such as when you both ride giant caterpillars, trying to grab golden apples that appear on the screen. These multiplayer bonus levels offer a huge variety of different game types in a fun and often frantic manner.
The level of creativity is paramount in this game and exceeds the original in every aspect. I personally enjoyed the fact that Sackboy could ride on various animals throughout the game including a giant soppy looking rabbit who bounced almost uncontrollably around the screen and a crazy hamster ball which flung you around some of the levels. During gameplay you have the chance to ride upon a giant fuzzy bee and must grab a Sackbot from the designated place and transport them to the required area, trying very carefully not to get singed and fried on the burning hot coal that has been precariously put in your way on your way up to Elysium. In an example of the games diversity, the Bee also makes an appearance during a level which offers up some classic side-scrolling shooter action.
During the story, the player will come across a video game arcade aboard the ship, in which they will find a collection of arcade machines such as Breakout and Pong. Players can enjoy these machines either solo or with a friend. Certain aracde machines had keys above them to unlock other goodies. The retro arcade had a classic gaming feel to it and there was even a giant claw machine. In the machine were various prize bubbles and the player had to operate the claw and move it into the correct position to pick up the bubbles and drop them into the chute. Although the claw was intially easy to operate, it was devilishly difficult to pick up the bubbles inside, how video games replicate real life so well. Inside were some good prizes, if you were lucky enough to win, you need a patience of a saint but it’s totally worth it.
Another level of note was ‘Invasion of the body Invaders’ in which you had to purge Dr Higginbotham’s body of an infection. During this level our hero was shrunken down to atomic size and inserted into the patient’s body, where you had to make your way to the brain on a giant bug. Using R1 allowed you to grab a white blood cell and pressing R1 a second time launches the blood cell at any of the bright pink infection.
Although the main story was both exciting and inspiring, it seemed shorted than before. Or maybe it was easier and so went byÂ a lot quicker. I am not sure. But as with the original game, the main focus of Little Big Planet 2 is “Play, Create, Share”. A huge number of new mechanics have been introduced in this sequel that allow players to make pretty much any type of game that they can imagine, and then offer them up to the other community members. We have seen top-down and side-on racing games, remakes of classic RPGs, even first person shooters. The players’ imagination really is the only thing holding them back now. Re-playability is certainly not a problem with the massive number of player created games that are available to download and play through the community. The only real issue that I have with all of these additional games is that there is little integration into the main game as a whole. This gives the community games a more “party game” feel.
Little Big Planet 2 comes packed to the rafters with all manner of unlockables which can be used in creating your perfect levels. But this doesn’t only apply to playable levels, as many creative types are making short movies using the tools provided. These are certainly entertaining, to a degree, but the sheer amount of content, both within the menus and the community screens, can make it a little difficult to navigate, especially if you are looking for something in particular.
The entire Little Big Planet 2 package is quite impressive to behold and will certainly be a must buy for all of the creative types out there. Make your own game and show the world what you are capable of. That being said, players looking for some more classic platforming action from the main game may well be slightly disappointed by the length and the number of different gameplay types, as there is much less emphasis on the platforming that made the first game so much fun. However, with a little exploration players should all be able to find something they enjoy about Little Big Planet 2.