Little Big Planet 2
Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: January 18th, 2010
- Limitless potential for level creation
- Simple, yet addictive side scrolling
- Variety of customization makes Sackboy your own
- A clean, enjoyable break from the hardcore titles
- Simple pick up and play
- The more you collect, the bigger hassle it is to find in the menu
- Platforming at times can feel slower and sluggish
- Attempted story falls flat
- Joining another player's session can be more trouble than it is worth
Little Big Planet was much more than a simple platformer, it was practically a game developer giving you his giant package of code before exclaiming; "Have fun!" as he skipped away. A nice breather from the super competitive slew of titles we typically get, LBP was a love letter to fans of platformers as each world offered challenging physics puzzles to overcome. LBP 2 takes the tools of the first and perfects them, offering more customization, more options in level design, and fun that brings you back to your childhood.
A Vacation to your Imagination
Little Big Planet 2 attempts a story this time around, with your Sackboy at the helm. You must assist the Alliance in taking down an evil being known as the Negitivitron, an oversized space vacuum cleaner, from sucking up everything in Craftworld. Despite the colorful cast of characters, it isn't a story that will make much of an impact.
The real gem of Little Big Planet 2 is simply escaping the typical. From the look, to the gameplay; in its simplest form this is a game about fun. In a time where kill/death ratio reigns king and achievements are a must, it is nice to have something simple. Anyone can pick up and play, lives are unimportant for most stages, and teamwork is encouraged.
The basic idea of Little Big Planet is essentially a platformer with style. You and your friends navigate your way through various worlds, toppling physics puzzles, dodging electrical hazards, and battling towering bosses along the way. The Campaign itself has a decent set of levels at your disposal, each providing a unique element to overcome. These range from using the grappling gun with jump pads to sling yourself to a platform, to obtaining a gun that shoots cupcakes to aid in platforming or pulling down bridges.
In addition to new levels are new features and equipment. This time around there are "vehicles" you can procure that mix up the platforming further. These can shift the gameplay from side-scrolling to a top-down arcade. There are also AI bots, which add unique escort missions to single player but truly open possibilites in level creation. The addition of new equipment is always welcome, as the grappling hook provides fun for all ages, allowing you to swing from platform to platform.
The biggest appeal of Little Big Planet 2 is the user created content that is continually churned out for your entertainment. Even after the main game is finished, users can access the online mode that will let you play through anyone's created level for even more fun.
The amount of content to explore is insane. They range from unique side scrolling levels, to reprised classics, to actual old arcade titles re-made with a Little Big Planet twist. A personal favorite of mine was a remake of the Old NES Legend of Zelda dungeon. Down to the teeth, this guy had made it work and provided the same enjoyment the classic game held. The addition of AI bots in the game has allowed you to create anything. There are mini-golf games, first-person shooters, 2D fighters, basketball; the list goes on.
If you don't find something that strikes you as entertaining, you can simply create your own. The level designer comes with a pretty good tutorial to give you a good start. Your level can be as simple or as complicated as you desire, but expect to invest a lot of research and time into the more complicated levels.
While the new additions are nice, there are enough small irritating elements that I still wish would have been improved. The platforming can be, for all intents and purposes, slow. When I jump, I feel like I have twice the weight as a usual. Even the grappling hook just doesn't feel right. Small tweaks would make platforming much less troublesome.
To my surprise, attempting to hop into player sessions became more trouble than it was worth. You request to join people, and if you are really lucky, get the OK. You are then faced with a loading screen that on chance, can fluctuate for some weird reason. Once in a game, you must hope the player you join isn't focused on a "perfect run" restarting the level over and over. A simple lobby system or drop-in, drop-out might have alleviated this.
Despite the few flaws, this game is just blatant fun. The levels are enjoyable, the atmosphere is jubilant, and there is more content than you could possibly explore. It is a game that you put down and walk away happy from every time.