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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Sandbox

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Media Molecule / SCE Cambridge Studio

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 17, 2009

 

 

- Almost flawless transition from console to portable
- Creation system as intuitive as ever
- Charming visuals and sound

 

 

- Sharing content not as simple as on consoles
- Floaty mechanics more noticeable
- Longish load times

 

 

Review: LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

Review: Tekken 6 (PS3)

Review: Katamari Forever (PS3)

 

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LitteBigPlanet

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

littlebigplanet          littlebigplanet

 

When LittleBigPlanet was first announced during a public unveiling in 2007, it instantly became the most desired game for most Playstation 3 owners (and potential owners), thanks to its revolutionary concept of ďPlay, Create, Share.Ē Featuring an appealing mascot in the highly marketable (but barely marketed) Sackboy, the cute visuals were only secondary to the unique and enormous user-created content, which allowed gamers to create entire levels filled with physics, pulleys, vehicles, enemies, and anything else not limited to their imaginations. The

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fully robust level creation system and dedicated fanbase resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of entertaining user-made levels that results in an excellent platformer thatís brimming with new content even years after its release.

 

It should serve no surprise, then, that Sony would eventually move their latest PS3 property to its portable cousin, and since LittleBigPlanetís theme

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revolves around a small sackpersonís journey across a large and ever-expanding world, it seems only more fitting to have Sackboy on the go. But even though Sackboyís portable outing retains the same title as his console counterpart, does the PSP edition of LittleBigPlanet also retain the gameplay and expansive creator tools that originally made it a hit?

 

In Sackboyís portable outing, the diminutive doll must tour across the world and gather the Creators together in time for an upcoming carnival. Thatís about the gist of the ďplotĒ, but in truth the levels serve as professional demonstrations of LBPís creation feature. Aspiring level makers will draw ideas from each stage, while platform enthusiasts will delight in the variety of set-pieces, from Australian outbacks to Arabian alleyways (the Disney kind, complete with magic carpets and genies). The basic objective of each level is to get Sackboy from Point A to Point B, a typical platformer goal, but spliced in-between the usual obstacles (such as spiked pits, flaming debris, and mechanical enemies that electrocute to the touch) are also a variety of secondary objectives and vehicles; from using jetpacks to activate far-off switches, to riding in the back of a rickshaw while fending off against a rampaging dragon, LBP pays homage to many tried-and-true conventions and mechanics found in 2D games, along with a few new ideas here and there.

 

Featuring the same smooth framerate, physics-based puzzles and platforming, along with the cute visuals and catchy new-age soundtrack, this transition from mammoth-sized console to pint-sized peripheral may be the smoothest yet. A few next-gen trappings, including lighting effects, the total number of objects thrown on-screen, and the full analog control of Sackboyís arms have unsurprisingly been nixed, but the overall experience and play style have been retained almost flawlessly.

 

littlebigplanet          littlebigplanet

 

This also includes, for better or worse, the same control scheme. While every bit as responsive as the original, LBPís jumping mechanics still feel as floaty as before, lacking the same precision found in Nintendoís classic Mario games. The ability to shift between two planes, the background and foreground of each level, is also a returning feature that hasnít been fine-tuned, thus leading to several instances of becoming stuck (thereís a reason the game has a self-destruct button), but neither of these two mechanics reach game-breaking frustration, and merely require some adjusting to properly utilize them.

 

As for the series-famous creation system, itís also back and nearly as intuitive as before. The learning curve is also as daunting, but is also made easy thanks to the step-by-step tutorials. A few new items and templates have been included, while others have been omitted due to hardware limitations, but the biggest limitation as before is your own imagination. Sadly, multiplayer has been removed for both online and local, but user-created levels can still be played among friends and curious online gamers, though the PSP version now requires that each fan-made level be downloaded to the systemís memory before you can sample them. Fortunately, the levels take up little time to download and even less space to store them.

 

It remains to be seen if LittleBigPlanetís portable community will be as dedicated or creative enough to continually pump out user-made levels, which has allowed the original PS3 version to enjoy repeated success even years after its launch, but regardless of whether you own both consoles or not, Sackboyís portable world tour isnít one you want to miss.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(March 19, 2010)

 

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