LittleBigPlanet PSP: catchup review

LBP PSP title

When LittleBigPlanet was in development a lot of people laughed at it; people said it would fail, tragically. Why would you want to have to make your own levels? How could a side scrolling platformer survive in this world of CoDs, GTAs and Drake’s Fortunes? Well, now that it’s had time to root itself into the PlayStation community what we see today tells a different story, one where LBP has amassed a ton of fans and if two million or so levels won’t convince you of its popularity then we’re lost on how to persuade you of it.

Following in the original LBP’s footsteps comes the PSP version, and from the moment you switch it on and hear Mr. Fry’s voice, you know it’s going to be fun. The first level from the main selection is sure to make you smile, as the similarity to its bigger brother is uncanny. What you see on-screen is as close to the PS3 version as the PSP could possibly muster and that is a very good thing. As you traverse the levels, you’ll find them to be a little trickier than what you might be used to and the omission of a third ‘plain’ will become obvious within the first twenty minutes to those who have played this on PS3. Not that this is a terrible problem, but what it means is that the developers have had to come up with some devilishly cunning level design to compensate.

LBP Screen 2 PSP LBP certainly carries the same charm and warmth as its predecessor and you’ll soon find yourself leaping, grabbing and pulling switches quite merrily like there’s no such thing as a PS3. No doubt on your journey you’ll be left looking at the screen with a quizzical expression resembling the old Cat Vs Balloon conundrum while wondering how to obtain those out-of-reach prize bubbles from time to time, but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you can return for them later. Themes within the levels are similar to the first game but diverge with things such as Egyptian, Australian and Hollywood themes, all of which encompass varying degrees of fun stuff ranging from construction sites, camel and dragon rides, theme parks, giant robots and even Mission Impossible parody levels. These are stuffed with tricky platforms (but never too tricky) and silly humour that will keep you playing right through to the end.

LBP Screen 3The level creator is where you’ll likely be heading to straight after (or even before) you complete the other pre-made levels. Now before we go any further, we’d like to point out that we’re not saying the level creator is broken exactly, just a little under par with what we’re used to. There are the perfectionists amongst us and nowhere is that more obvious than in the PS3 LBP online community levels, if you feel you’re one of them then you’d better listen up: First off copying and pasting objects with ease is out! You’ll have to capture it, poppit, select it, then paste it, no more L3-ing for you! Also, once you’ve made that object – that’s it stuck at that size. If you want a smaller version then you’ll have to make it all over again. Stickers will only go on the front of objects, they won’t wrap around them and they won’t stick to score bubbles, entrances or continue doors. Our biggest problem with the level creator; you can’t draw shapes! You can’t draw or make something just by moving the nub around and holding ‘X’, to make a unique shape you’ll have to draw out the basic outline with a small square or circle attached to a locked grid then use the corner editor to mould the basic shape into what you want. If the shape is too complex (which is often the case) the Line Re-shaper tool can get a little confused, not only making it difficult to make natural looking shapes, but changing them with any precision can be frustrating. Really we only found other small limitations concerning the creation aspect, things like not being able to change the size of the score or prize bubbles, and it seemed we could only put our own creations in prize bubbles too. Our other gripe was not being able to skip the tutorials; luckily we find Stephen Fry to be rather amusing, so we didn’t complain too much! With all that said, the ‘Static’ and ‘Dynamic’ selections are a welcome change. Choosing the Static option will allow any material to hover/float like dark matter from the PS3 game which we found rather useful.

LBP Screen 1If you stick with it all of the above can be forgiveable (it just makes the creation aspect of LBP a little longer and more fiddly than it should be) but once you re-programme your brain to compensate, creating unique and fun levels will glean the same pride and sense of accomplishment as it once did before, or if you’re new to LBP and don’t have a PS3, ignore everything we’ve said in the last few minutes and just get creating! If you get bored of that, or if creating isn’t your thing, then there’s a load of other pre-created levels to download made by other people too. Failing that, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff to download from the PSP network including costumes, level kits and other stuff.

What all this amounts to is one of the most expansive games available for the PSP, and at a general price of £25 you really can’t go wrong with it.

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Written by R.Furie

Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He's what we now refer to as "Old Skool" because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he's sure VR can't be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

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