The fun and originality LittleBigPlanet offers is BigBig!!

User Rating: 9 | LittleBigPlanet PSP
LittleBigPlanet is a unique and original adventure game for the Sony PSP, the premise behind it is quite cool. All of the unused ideas people come up with float out of their heads and up in to outer space, culminating in the creation of the aforementioned LittleBigPlanet. The beings in charge of constructing things on LittleBigPlanet, out of these ideas, are called the Creator Curators. Once a year they have a special carnival and all of the Curators attend, however this year nobody has responded to their invitations. Taking control of a puppet themed hero named Sackboy, your job is to explore LittleBigPlanet, find the Creator Curators, and convince them to come to the carnival.

From the main menu of this title you have four options, the first of which is called "LittleBigPlanet". It is divided up in to three sub-options, the first of which is "Story Levels", the main story mode of the game. When you choose this option you will then be tasked with working your way through seven regions of the planet and the levels they contain, in order to find the Curator Creators and get them to come to the carnival. The regions and levels in this game are: Down Under (The Introduction, Walkabout, Gift of the Grab, Wave Goodbye, Didgerido Didgeridon't, Dreamtime, and Shear Madness), The Orient (Mortar Do, Double Dragons, Dragon on a Bite, Stamp Collection, and Eggstraction), The Bazaar (Cheeky Monkey, Thieves' Den, Ladderal Thinking, Rugs and Kisses, and Monkey Puzzle), Golden Sands (Get the Hump, Out Foxed, Sand Ahoy, Fun Pharaoh, and Sackar Rally), Alpine Run (Mountin' Excitement, Roque n Roller, Peak Performance, Dogged Determination, and Off Piste), Tinsel Town (Stitch Gordon, I Race Dead People, Frying Saucers, The Sewn Identity, Opening Fright, and Leap of Faith) and The Carnival (Crashing the Party, Road to Joy, Golissimo!, and The Procession).

When you go to select a level in this game you may see up to three icons on it. A Sackboy icon means you have previously completed the level, a canvas sack means you've collected all items in that level, and a spade means you have aced that level (meaning you've done it quickly, gaining a lot of points, and not dying much). When you confirm the level you want to play you will then be able view your previous high scores and item collection percentage, a level description, and high scores from around the LittleBigPlanet community. Confirm your choice and you will then be taken to play the level. Most levels in this game are of medium to long length and have you on a search and quest type scenario, but there are some shorter levels that are more like mini games as well, at least one or two in each region. Successfully complete all levels in the game and you've won!

The second sub-option under LittleBigPlanet is "Downloaded Levels". Here you can play any levels that you have downloaded from the LittleBigPlanet community. These levels don't cost anything, but they do take up great space on your memory stick. The third and final sub-option here is "Purchased Levels", and is where you go to play any additional levels you've purchased from the PlayStation Store.

Back to the main menu the second option you'll find is "My Moon", there being only one sub-option, called "My Levels". This is where you can build and create your very own LittleBigPlanet levels and then play them afterwards.

Third on the main menu we have the "My Pod" option, there being just one sub-option called "Me", which is further broken down in to even more options, which is weird. Anyways, the first of these is "My Sackperson". Here you can make changes to the appearance of Sackboy, making alterations to his skin, head, eyes, glasses, hair, moustache, mouth, feet, hands, legs, neck, torso and waist. The second of these options is "My Avatar", where you assign yourself a small avatar to be displayed beside all your high scores and what not. The last of these options is "My News", which is simply a portal to receive news and updates on the LittleBigPlanet franchise.

The fourth and final option from the main menu is called "Community Moon", which is divided up in to two sub-options. The first of these is "Go Online!", which itself is broken up in to three more sub-options. The first one is called "Community Levels", which is where you go to download levels created by other LittleBigPlanet users. The second of these is "My Published Levels", where you can go to view any levels that you yourself may have created and let loose in the LittleBigPlanet community. And third is the "Collect from Friend" option. This is just an Ad Hoc mode where you and a friend can communicate between PSPs and share creations. The second sub-option under Community Moon is simply the "Collect from Friend" option again, not sure why they did it twice.

While out and about in the levels of this game there are three main things to watch out for, the most prevalent of which are score bubbles. These are tiny blue/clear bubbles that will be randomly scattered throughout each level and are the main source of your points in this game. Another is the item bubbles. These bubbles appear the same as score bubbles, only they are much larger and have an item inside of them. Said items are either stickers or various upgrade items you can use to improve Sackboy. Third are the save point indicators. There are a number of them scattered throughout most levels, after reaching one your progress will be saved up to that point, and if you perish it will be where you respawn from. There are many other items to watch out for in this game, but they are more random. Things like keys, a genie lamp, balloons, and the list goes on and on, it all depends on the level and the situation you find yourself in. Also, many things in the environments of this game can be grabbed and manipulated by Sackboy, such as levers, cranes, vehicles, etc., so keep an eye out for those opportunities.

The game screen for LittleBigPlanet is so sparse it's almost blank! In the top left corner you will see a growing bubble icon with a number inside of it, which represents your current point total. In the top middle of the screen dialog between Sackboy and other game characters will appear when you talk to them. And that's it, pretty uncluttered to say the least! As for the pause menu, when you halt the action you are faced with six options, as such: About This Level (view level description and high score/item collection percentage), Restart Level, Return to Main Menu, Settings (toggle both music or subtitles on/off), Videos and Voice Overs (listen to and read various in game messages you may have seen along the way in this game) and Credits.

Another menu that's important to mention is the Popit menu, a tool Sackboy uses during his quest. When you access it on screen you are presented with three options, the first of these is "Stickers". During your quest you will sometimes be required to place the stickers you find in the item bubbles amongst your environment, in order to advance. This is where you go to select said stickers. The second option is "Customize Character" and is exactly the same option from the main menu where you can trick Sackboy out with all manner of upgrades. The third and final option is "Retry". If you ever get Sackboy stuck in a situation he can't get out of, or if you just want to go back and retry a certain sequence you can't otherwise access, you can choose this option to die and then respawn at the last save point . . . although it does cost you some points to do so.

Now, the controls for this game are very much like the game screen, sparse and simple, which is the way I like it! To move Sackboy around his environment you use the analog button. The X button is used to jump, and also to confirm choices when you open the Popit menu. The Square button opens the Popit menu, while the O button is used to cancel/clear things like the Popit menu or in game messages. Triangle is used to interact with certain other characters in the game and display the dialogue between you. As for the directional buttons, pressing them in their various directions will bring different expressions to Sackboy's face, while pressing them multiple times will exaggerate said expression. The L button is used to lock a desired expression in place on Sackboy's face, while the R button is used to grab on to certain objects or items. Finally, the Start button is what pauses the game.

LittleBigPlanet's presentation is very good, what I like most about it is the unique nature of the game. The different sorts of objects the environments are made of and the almost toy like vibe of the various items and objects within them is so cool and different. The graphics are well done, not much in need of any extra polish, a good amount of colour as well. The sound is great, very zany and wacky effects and music, to go in suit with the generally crazy vibe of the game. The controls are great too, they are simple and easy to use, and respond very well. No issues with camera controls or anything like that either, this game is quite well technically executed, not much left to be desired.

The pros and cons are pretty even for this game. On the good side all aspects of it's gameplay are excellent as I mentioned above. The look, sound, feel of the controls, and just plain fun the game offers makes it quite desirable. The other thing I really like, my favourite part of the game, is just how different and unique it is. It's just so different from most other games that are out there today, the wacky, zany adventures this game contains are just so cool and well imagined!! On the bad side, even though the game contains about 37 levels, it still seems pretty short. Plus overall the game is fairly easy, so you can pretty much just whip right through it. The other thing I found disappointing is that it could have used a better alternate mode(s). Everything else on this game is pretty much going online and downloading other levels, or creating your own. That's all well and good, but it takes up a lot of space on your memory stick, and let's be honest . . . creation modes seem great in theory, but once you get in to them and it takes you forever to build something you even come close to liking, you've already lost interest. A little more depth in this game would have gone a very long way.

In terms of the tips and tricks I can offer potential players of this game, there aren't many to be honest. Like I said above, this game is fairly easy. The trickiest part is being able to find 100% of the items in each level. In order to do this you must leave no stone unturned, exploring every nook and cranny of each level. A lot of the hiding spots seem obvious in hindsight, but at the time not so much. Solving some of the puzzles can also use some of your brainpower, but if you just pay attention, search everything, and use the method of trial and error, you will have no trouble defeating this game.

To summarize, at heart LittleBigPlanet is a unique and exciting adventure game that will leave you wanting more. Although the developers dropped the ball a bit in providing viable secondary game modes, the core game will have you so enthralled it won't even matter. A fun and exciting adventure, to say the least!