Sony Computer EntertainmentDeveloped By:
SCE Studios Cambridge / Media MoleculeGenre:
E (Everyone)Release Date:
November 17, 2009Screenshots: LinkAmazon: Buy Now!Written By:
On October 27, 2008, Sack Boys and Sack Girls touch down on our Little Big Planet and began to explore, create, and customize their way to glory. In just over a year, these Sack Persons have risen to greatness and explored where no human could – but now they venture into yet unclaimed and un-Sacked territory…your Sony PSP.
LittleBigPlanet PSP is an incredible stand-alone game that delivers the perfect mixture of the original’s game play and all new content. More often than not, the portable version of a title is simply a watered down, Diet Coke version of the original classic. To a very small extent, this is true of LBP PSP, but I believe fans will be pleased with this faithful and perfectly executed transfer to the portable. All of the key features that made the original LBP a groundbreaking creative juggernaut are still present: expertly crafted physics, seemingly endless character/level customization, and collectible items adding to the already endless replay value.
When players switch on LBP PSP, they are instantly greeted with a warm narration and imaginative cinematic. The stage is set for a game filled with creativity and imagination. One small complaint at this point is the fact that this opening cinematic will load every time the game is launched, and the load times for this particular title are obscenely long. After watching the opening players are greeted with Stephen Fry’s warm and humorous (spelled with a “u” in honor of his heritage) narration. These narrated tutorials are so pleasant and comforting I was almost tempted to put my PSP on my pillow and let the narration lull me to sleep.
Players are introduced to the world slowly - at first only being able to go to an SCEA created “walk-a-bout” level that teaches the basic mechanics of the game. After some brief instructions on customization and basic game play, things speed up and, unlike the original, players have access to the online content after just a couple of tutorials. After finishing the first world, players are also able to create their own levels- thus allowing full access to all of the key features of LBP.
LittleBigPlanet PSP has a pretty weak story, but it does serve as the perfect vehicle to introduce players to the game’s wacky, imaginative levels and signature game play. Basically, Stephen Fry informs that these Creator Curators are going to attend a little shindig and that it will certainly be a lot more fun if as many Curators as possible show up. As it turns out, a few of them have something preventing them from attending this splendiferous gathering! You must visit each of their worlds and solve their issues – which range from finding their prized camel or finishing their blockbuster film. Once you have convinced all of the Creator Curators to attend, all that is left is for you to make your appearance and enjoy the Creator Carnival!
In order to convince the Curators to attend the carnival, you must complete all of their story levels. Levels consist of various platforming jumps, puzzles, and time-trial challenges. Fans of the original will immediately recognize and adapt to the game play noticing one huge difference. The three planes of the previous LBP have been reduced to two. If you are new to the LBP series then allow me to explain. LittleBigPlanet PSP has very simple play controls that can be adapted to a variety of complex situations. Players overcome situations by grabbing, pushing, pulling and jumping over things. One unique aspect of the game is ability to switch planes of depth. The PSP version features only a background and foreground – removing the middle section from the PS3 original. Despite this simplification, the game play’s biggest complaint (indeed a complaint mentioned by the previous reviewer of the PS3 version) has still survived. As players run through a stage, they find their path is often blocked, but they will automatically switch their level of depth or manually be forced to do so. The problem is that this transition isn’t always as smooth as it could be. Several puzzles in the game will require players to shift from front to back quickly to avoid instant death, or they may even require the switch be made mid-jump to reach a platform. The mechanics don’t always work as they should and this often results in an instant and somewhat frustrating death. Once players get used to this, this little quirk becomes much easier to deal with.
Another small gameplay issue is that sometimes the collection of prize-bubbles is inconsistent. Players will have to get used to just where on their Sack-body the bubble needs to touch for it to register as a successful collection. Finally, there are times when pieces of the level can actually fall apart- requiring a complete restart. This happens very rarely, and the only 2 times I experienced it was while pulling on a sponge connected to a balloon. They somehow became disconnected and even dying did not make them reset.
One fascinating aspect of the gameplay is the fact that your Sack Person’s abilities never change, but rather it is the level itself that provides new abilities. Through the entire game, the Sack Person can jump, jump higher, grab, push/pull, and occasionally hover (with a jet-pack). Based on triggers placed in the level, this can however turn into switch operating, toboggan riding, or even boss-defeating! (Collecting the bonus point bubble embedded in the “enemy” effectively kills it). Other platforming games will have entire stages where the character has different abilities- a water level, a vehicle level, a shooting level, etc. LBP has all of these and more, but without ever changing the rules. In other words, the vehicle level is achieved by having a toboggan that, once grabbed, is set into motion, or a cannon that when tugged on, will fire a shot, etc. Thanks to this unique feature, players are able to create levels with just as much complexity, creativity and fun as the original story mode.
Just like the original, the music, sound, and graphics are all simply delightful. They are infused with a creativity and originality that perfectly suits this creative and interesting world. In the transfer from big to small, there is of course a small degradation in resolution and a few polygons start to stick out where they were previously smooth. This is still within acceptable limits however, and makes excellent use of the PSP hardware.
For all of its creativity and replay value, this game is a must have. Even owners of the original will be able to enjoy this game. Despite the loss of a multiplayer mode, the ability to take your Sack-world with you anywhere makes this game an excellent companion experience to the console version.8.8/
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