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Goodness knows what the ‘Little’ in LittleBigPlanet’s title refers to. Its appeal, ambition and achievements are all massive.
It has managed to turn unknown British developer Media Molecule into a household name and restore faith in the PS3 (the only console it’s available on). The other rather humongous thing is the amount of hype that has been steeped upon the game’s release and its potential to revolutionize the way we see the platforming genre. Hype that the finished article more than deserves.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, customization is key and this begins with your own playable character, called a sackboy (or girl), who you can dress in anything from a wedding dress to a baseball helmet and puffy bunny-tail. Even in story mode you are encouraged to personalize levels with stickers and other decorations – there are very few surfaces you cannot improve with an oversized lobster sticker – but switch into ‘create’ mode and you’ll be amazed at the extent to which you can realize your ideas.
Armed with your ‘popit’ (basically a menu containing all your tools and materials) you can craft entire levels, complete with music, backgrounds and AI creatures. It’s only when you and your sackboy get stuck in does it become truly obvious just how extensive this experience has the potential to be – everything from the springyness of a spring to the size of the rocket propelling the cardboard go-kart you’ve just fashioned is adjustable. The fact that all the levels that make up the story mode of the game are
However, impressive as all this creative freedom may be, few hearts have ever been won by raw console power. So, like a veneer on every brilliant feat of technical excellence LBP displays lies an even better feat of exuberant charm that reminds you that you’re sitting at your console to be entertained, not awe-struck. The best example of this being Stephen Fry’s - yes, the Stephen Fry - fantastic tutorial for the game, which is so full of enchanting chatter that you’ll never realize he’s essentially the equivalent of that manky paperclip in Microsoft Word.
by Kate Bryant
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