By Special Guest writer – Daniel Lipscombe
From the moment the dulcet tones of Mr Stephen Fry fall upon your ears, much like the PS3 version, this is going to be something very special. A game renowned for using your imagination and transporting you to a wonderful land where anything can be made and adventure is everywhere. Taking control of Sackboy, or Sackgirl if you’re of the fairer species, you must make your way through many strange worlds in order to collect the creators of each world and join them together at a carnival and celebrate LittleBigPlanet.
With so many environments to explore there’s plenty to play through. From an Australasian starting point, through the Arctic and even to Hollywood, each level is well designed and will bring a smile to even the most disgruntled person. The levels are full of charm and inspiration, from the rocks that are made of suede to the cardboard clouds that hang from an invisible ceiling with rope. Each and every detail is like a marvellous dream world where you can explore many areas and smile along the entire journey. This was the feeling that the original Ps3 version gave and I never thought that this game would be possible on Sony’s handheld, let alone look and play so well.
Visually the game isn’t too far from the home console, except of course from the Hi-Def resolution, but everything else is there. Admittedly there are a few jagged edges here and there and when bringing up the poppit menu some of the icons are muddy and a bit ugly, but these can be overlooked as the levels themselves are lush to look at and quite honestly jaw dropping. The same high quality opinions can be applied to the audio, as each soundtrack to a level helps to sweep you away into the dream land that Media Molecule created and SCE Studio Cambridge brought to the PSP. Of course it helps that Mr Fry deals out linguistic wit that has you hanging on every word as he describes the next world that you’re approaching.
The game doesn’t stop giving though as with each level you get a well designed romp through a platforming adventure that Mario himself would be jealous of. Each jump is calculated perfectly so that your timing needs to be on the mark for fear of plummeting to your death and respawning to try again. Luckily there is no number of lives, like the PS3 version, as this game can become very tough towards the end. Starting pretty smoothly, running and jumping with confidence, most obstacles are a breeze, but reach the later worlds and you’ll be respawning often and frustration will increase.
However if the difficulty gets on top of you, you can always create your own level or download other peoples creations. Yes, that’s right, even the create a level mode has been squashed into the handheld, and it’s as authentic as the original. Take a blank canvas a let your imagination run free, use the items and stickers that you’ve collected throughout the story levels and build just what /you/ want to see and play. Then when you’ve finished, share it with your friends or publish it and let the world judge your creation and test it to its limits.
If you’re a bit shy and lack confidence in building your own playground, don’t you worry, let everyone else do the work and download some great levels. At the moment the choice is limited as the servers are quiet, but once the masters of level building come over from the PS3 and dabble with the handheld partner there will be some amazing content.
As with the whole game, there are plenty of tutorials to learn how to traverse levels, dress your sackperson and create masterpieces to rival the developers. This makes it easier for anyone to pick up the game and have fun with it, whether you’ve played a platformer or not. Its simplicity is key, with no more control than jumping or grabbing objects, a child, a parent or a grandparent can join in and play. Even creating a level takes no more than a few button presses to place your objects and move them around.
The scale of this game is shown by the ambition of the developers; the only thing missing from this handheld version is online play and teaming up with a buddy. Not much of a problem when everything else is here. If you’re a fan of the console version or not you will love LittleBigPlanet on PSP, it’s hard to believe that the game arrived intact and wasn’t a dumbed down version as it could so easily have been. Get out there, collect the items, collect the stickers and build your dreams.