Too cute to pass up: a LittleBigPlanet 2 review

18 01 2011

The second game in the LittleBigPlanet series released on Tuesday in North America for the Playstation 3. The Pause Button’s own IncreaseBlue was able to get a copy of the highly anticipated game and offers her review below.

LittleBigPlanet was a game produced by Media Molecule that became famous for its simple, but effectively fun game play and encouragement of user-generated game content. Safe to say, LittleBigPlanet 2 keeps to this formula to create a strong sequel that has very few faults.

The main story of LittleBigPlanet 2 follows Sackboy on a mission to save Craftworld from an enemy known as the Negativitron, which has been sucking up all creations in the world and utilizing them for more nefarious purposes. Sackboy teams up with numerous side characters found in separate regions of Craftworld, each with their own distinct look and feel when played through.

LittleBigPlanet 2 features multiple side characters that bring Sackboy into several visually distinct and stylish regions of Craftworld.

To say this game is simple and complex at the same time seems to be a bit of a paradox, but in the case of LBP2, it fits perfectly. The game play controls mainly revolve around simply jumping between two-dimensional planes in a side-scrolling 3D environment. Sackboy can swing, jump, push objects and occasionally fire specialized weapons that help him traverse the planes that are set up in a puzzling, yet dangerous manner. The complexities lie within the level creation and graphics.

Levels in the Factory of a Better Tomorrow play with dark textures and neon lighting for a quirky overall look.

These levels are without a doubt, where the graphic and visual balance shines. LBP 2 mixes light and dark neon colors that clash well from a side-scrolling perspective. Areas such as the Factory of a Better Tomorrow and Victoria’s Lab utilize a clash of harsh neon colors with darker textures to create fantastic looking levels of LittleBigPlanet 2. Even bosses and creatures Sackboy comes up against in the fray look somewhere between steampunk-meets-scrapbooking and it works beautifully, making each stage a visual treat for the player.

The custom level creator tool is more refined and user-friendly, but doesn’t skimp on the massive amounts of detail a player can put into their own creation. Items, materials, and stickers are unlocked through story missions and can be incorporated in any way to custom levels. The controls also make it easier to manipulate plane-to-plane items and materials, so you’re not stuck stamping out individual blocky pieces in order to make something bigger.

The only shortcomings to the game are that the controls sometimes do not respond as fluidly as one would like, making switching from plane to plane a bit difficult at times. Sometimes button inputs have to be a bit more deliberate than normal in order to get Sackboy out of a particular plane and he can sometimes get “stuck” in background planes or not jump properly.

Although the levels are visually stunning, the puzzles and boss fights aren't very challenging.

Another issue is that the game feels almost too easy to play. Any enemy you come upon can usually be easily defeated by jumping on their heads or throwing objects at them with no problem, and any puzzles you come upon can be solved rather quickly. This may be a challenge to players to create their own levels with puzzles higher ranking in difficulty, but it made the game feel as if it was afraid to truly challenge players for fear of stumping them.

Despite these shortcomings LittleBigPlanet 2 overall accomplishes a feat that should always be in the forefront of games: it is quite fun to play. With the wildly imaginative levels in the main story mode coupled with multiplayer versus and side stages, as well as the custom level creator feature, players can literally pour hundreds of hours into LBP 2 and enjoy every minute of it.

Versus games, side missions, and level creation adds a tremendous amount of replay value to LittleBigPlanet 2.

Final Verdict:

Although this game is not completely without faults, it is an incredibly refreshing experience. The simplistic style of game play allows the player to really have fun without worry, but it might bore players looking for a real challenge. Just as with Modnation Racers or the original LBP, it might be worth waiting a little while after release for some good user-generated content to stir up, but LittleBigPlanet 2 is definitely worth the $60 USD and, for the sheer depth of level creation it has, worth buying instead of renting. 9/10

LittleBigPlanet 2 is currently available in North America for $60 USD. The game will release on January 19 in Europe, 20 in Australia and 21 in the United Kingdom.

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