Sony’s flagship creative platformer makes a new-gen appearance.
Welcome to the world of LittleBigPlanet 3, where we take Sackboy on a new adventure in the third installment of the LittleBigPlanet series. This time round, Sackboy is transported to the beautiful world of Bunkum, a creative planet that has been drained of all its imagination and creativity by three mythical beasts called the Titans. Their objective is to completely ruin the planet and transform light-bulb antagonist Newton into a horrible monster. It is down to Sackboy to restore peace and balance to the world with the help of three ancient heroes – Toggle, Oddsock and Swoop.
If you’re a fan of the LittleBigPlanet series, you’ll be familiar with the comedic narrative by Stephen Fry and his ability to make the world of LittleBigPlanet a wondrous place to be from the very start. So you’ll be delighted to hear the wise words of Hugh Laurie in this next installment. LittleBigPlanet 3 makes you feel very at home, almost like you never left, and instills everything you need to know with a useful step by step guide, if you’re not familiar with the surroundings.
LittleBigPlanet 3’s structure and dynamics are a little bit different this time around. Whereas in previous games you would complete one level and continue to the next, this time round the structure is more based on a hub level, with a selection of different levels and challenges laid out for the player to find.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is beautifully crafted and filled with a huge amount of creativity, making it very easy to feel immersed in the world. The adventure mode allows you to be swept away in this beautiful craft-world and enjoy all the various game-play styles on offer. You’ll meet some strange characters along the way such as Nana Pud, an earl’s tea leaf guardian, and light-bulb antagonist Newton, who’s more than a little bit wacky.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is a charming platformer, and introduces players to new characters Oddsock, Toggle and Swoop. These enchanting characters are incredibly fun and enjoyable to play, once you’ve unlocked them with three marbles each.
Oddsock is a cute four legged dog-like character, who can run considerably faster than any of the other characters and has the ability to wall jump, if a bit precariously at times. With this boundless energy, he can jump from wall to wall with reasonably good precision, enabling him to reach higher areas within the game. His ability makes him a true winner for those of us that like to run through levels at lightning speed. However, it’s easy for him to run and slip, sometimes completely missing the landing area.
Toggle can transform from being large, cumbersome and slow to being a smaller, lightweight and faster character. Toggle is a cute character who dwells in the caves beneath Ziggurat. As Toggle in your larger form, you become a lot stronger, which is useful in some areas of the game. However, in small form, Toggle can swim through water and squeeze through tiny gaps.
Swoop is a charming bird character who has the amazing ability to fly and grab other players, as well as various objects to aid you in your adventure. Swoop doesn’t really do much in the grand scheme of things, aside from hovering around clouds, perching and performing birdie activities.
Each character has new abilities that you can play around with and, although you can’t switch between characters by a simple click of the button when you want to, they are a lot of fun to play with. At the end of the day, they add a new element to the game, giving game-play a different dynamic.
Sackboy has a whole new set of useful gadgets and power-ups to play around with inside his sack pocket. The Pumpinator, allows you to use a hairdryer-style gadget to pump out or suck in air to move various objects in the game. For those hard to reach areas, the Hook Hat that is attached to your Sackboy’s head, which then can be attached to a wire overhead. There are five gadgets to unlock; Pumpinator, Blink Ball, Hook Hat, Boost Boots and Illuminator. The illuminator is a torch which can illuminate dark areas to discover some much sought after goodies.
The illuminator can be unlocked if you purchase five outfits from Zom Zom, a shop keeper in the emporium store. Outfits can be purchased by collecting the gold bell baubles scattered in the hub. The hub itself is fairly extensive, and your curious nature, will make you want to wander around finding unexplored areas filled with outfits, stickers and goodies. There are some great costumes to be unlocked and purchased, my favourite one being the adorable pug outfit.
The platforming levels are great and offer a mixed selection of game-play areas to get excited about. From calm and serene craft-worlds to terrifying and tense areas, that have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Puzzles can be perplexing at times, but the solutions are usually obvious. LP3 still has that element of quietly drawing you into his picturesque world and lulling you into a false sense of security, before deciding to pull out your stuffing and watch you scream to your death as you spontaneously com-bust from a lump of lava. It’s good like that…
I have never had the time, or felt the need to, create in the LittleBigPlanet world, even though there are endless ways to create and share with the community. However, the sheer amount of content created by others means I am never at a loss to try other people’s creations. Even now, before launch, there is a wealth of content available, but mostly from the previous LittleBigPlanet titles. With much more advanced creation tools available, and 16 layers to create in compared to the three from the previous games, I really do look forward to seeing what the more creative players come up with. This level of creativity is what brings players back time and again for a long time to come.
That being said, I was given a taster in the world of creating during the main game, when you have to construct a vehicle to win a race. You’re given the chance to choose a chassis, such as a pumpkin or a standard water bottle. It’s here you can then add your wheels, and maybe a gadget or two. It’s all physics based, so it’s a matter of discovering the right balance. It took a few times to get the formula right, but we got there in the end.
Throughout the game I noticed improvements to the original formula, but also some little bugs that were simply annoying. On the good side, although Sackboy is still a bit floaty at times, he does seem a little more controllable. There also seems to be more checkpoints placed in the game and they seem much closer together. It is also nice that you can import all of your stuff from the previous LittleBigPlanet games.
However, on more than one occasion I had to restart from a check point when my Sackboy got stuck or lost somewhere. One example was while having to make a milkshake with strawberry and banana. Each time I chose to slide down the banana tube, my Sackboy disappeared, leaving me unable to do anything. I performed this action twice with the same results before I chose to go down the strawberry tube, which seemed okay. Patches are sure to be rolled out, there has already been one, to fix any problems that crop up down the line.
I must admit to being disappointed that you could only play Toggle, Swoop and Oddsock in there specified areas. I would have much preferred to swap in and out of the characters. The majority of the time, you’ll still be playing as Sackboy, but it’s nice to see other interesting characters in this patchwork world.
I love LittleBigPlanet 3 and its beautifully crafted world. Sackboy is still loveable, and the new characters of Toggle, Oddsock and Swoop bring some variety to the game-play. The core game is short, with the creative community set to provide most of the content, but enjoyable with perplexing puzzles, precise platforming and bizarre characters. There are a few technical hitches, which will hopefully be fixed with a day one patch, but it is amazing to see that, even though this is the third LittleBigPlanet game, it has not lost any of its magic or imagination. Hold onto your hook hat, because you’re in for an imaginative ride.