LittleBigPlanet Story Mode Impressions
The star of LittleBigPlanet is the level creator and the community aspects surrounding that. But ignoring that for a moment, how good is the core platforming gameplay?
- Playground Feel: The game looks charming and adorable, but what’s really shocking is that the game is more charming and adorable to play than it is to look at. The whole game feels like you are playing with blocks and toys on a playground. The use of physics and materials takes simple simple play mechanics, like swinging over a pit or riding an elevator, which is really old-hat stuff in traditional platformers, and makes them surprisingly fun to play.
- Physics: The gameplay has as much in common with those playground-style Flash-based physics games as it does with a traditional platformer. One really nice aspect of the physics is the material system. There is a wide variety of cloths, woods, metals, glass, plastics, etc and they generally look and behave like you would expect.
- Vehicles: The vehicles in this game look horribly crude next to the ton of racers and modern platformers on the market, yet I honestly have more fun racing the DIY-style rockets or mine carts in this game than I do with a polished HD racer like Wipeout (I still love that too).
- Level Design: Even beyond the cleverness of the overall design aside, the core levels are extremely inventive, funny, and dazzling to play through.
- Co-Op: The co-op works extremely well. The character customization, emotion control, and gesture control really work well in combination.
- Fleshed Out: A lot of new-concept type games just tease the player with the possible potential rather than deliver a fully realized experience. With LBP, that isn’t the case at all. Right out of the box, this game is very well fleshed out. Beyond the core concepts of simple platforming and create mode, this game has a variety of well-executed, fun to play, and create-mode-extendable mechanics.
- Collecting: I really don’t care about collecting artificial points, but collecting custom stickers, and costumes, and create-mode objects and materials is very rewarding and fun to do.
- Passes the Kid Test: Most kids have terrible taste in games. They would rather play utter ad-ware style garbage on the Disney Channel website rather than anything that even warrants being listed on Metacritic. That being said, I was impressed by how well this passes the kid test. My step daughter does not normally like playing traditional games and she loved this one. She also shocked me by telling me all these ideas she was dreaming up for a level. She is not that kind of kid to sit indoors and play video games, much less work on a level, but the fact that this got into her imagination that much is astonishing.
- Short: Obviously, the user-levels will extend the lifespan of this quite a bit. But I wish there was more high quality professional story content that shipped with this game as well.
- Nothing: It’s just that good. It’s definitely not for everyone. Maybe the simple playground style physics based platforming won’t gel with everyone. Even for me, it took a while before it really won me over. I expected the creation mode to be impressive, but I wasn’t expecting the core game to be so much fun.
- Will it last: Right now, I’d hestitantly pick this as game of the year. But will it last? Will I still love this game six months later? Will we still be seeing new, exciting content coming from the user community? Realistically, the enthusiast and jouranalistic community tend to focus on games before launch and give them peak attention at launch, and then forget about everything a month later. I’m personally optimistic, but this is my biggest skepticism. I hope that by the time I can finish a cool level (and I really don’t have the time to invest that I would like), that people are still playing this game.