Little Big Planet

Cute, hard to hate, and a fantastic exploration of everyone’s imagination: could this be the game of the year?

It’s often said that you need to have a little bit of imagination to enjoy yourself. If that’s true, then the team at Media Molecule must be having a ball 24 hours a day & 7 days a week because their title Little Big Planet is all about exploring the imagination of its users.

You’ve probably seen the star of Little Big Planet around as Sony has been promoting the living yarn out of it. Sackboy – as he is known (and is even a contender in our very own Shack Awards) – is the lovable hero & heroine found in Little Big Planet, a side-scrolling storybook adventure based on the worlds created by the staff at Media Molecule as well as you and everyone else making worlds around you.

Yes, Little Big Planet is one of these little genius titles that exists because of the time you and everyone else will put into it. While being a cute side-scrolling adventure, it’s also a very impressive modifiable title that encourages everyone to make levels for themselves. These levels are then shared and the whole “exploring everyone else’s imagination” continues again and again.

It’s not normal that a game takes an approach like this and turns it into pure mastery, but here Little Big Planet is doing just that.

It’s also so cute that it’s hard to hate… like, really hard to hate. If you can hate how cute this game is, there’s probably something wrong with you and I would encourage a trip to the psychiatrist immediately.

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Sackboy is a living breathing yarn-made character who can be dressed up to be whatever you want him to be. The name “Sackboy” is sort of a misnomer as Sackboy is neither boy nor girl. He is “mostly boy” but will look like a girl when you dress him/her/it up to be whatever you dress him/her/it up to be. (For the purpose of this review, we’ll just keep referring to Sackboy as if it were a boy as that’s much easier.)

You can also manipulate Sackboy to move his limbs, change his face, and generally shake him all about in probably the best example of SixAxis to date. Yes, that motion sensitivity has a use in this game and it works surprisingly well. Little kids might find the level-making a bit too complicated but if someone older is handling the controller, they can still get into it; certainly anyone can play it.

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You’d expect great graphics on such a hyped-up PlayStation 3 title and you won’t be left disappointed here. You might be surprised, however, as the graphics are very “childbook” with the textures and objects mostly consisting of the sort of plaything cut-outs and cute little gingerbread house design that a child would love. It’s all so amazing that everything in this world retains this fantastic look and if you don’t love every bit of it, there once again is probably something amiss with you. The sound is likewise as equally playful and quirky.

If it sounds only like I’m praising Little Big Planet, it’s because it’s hard to fault something as well-thought out and exceptionally executed as this game. It’s great fun for the entire family and will play nicely with anyone from age 5 to 105.

Simply put, Little Big Planet is superb and it could well be this year’s game of the year.

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Developer: Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony
Classification: G
Formats: PlayStation 3
URL: Little Big Planet

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark