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Platform: PS3
Category: Platformer

Sony was kind enough to give us a beta key to the upcoming platform centric LittleBigPlanet. Upon downloading and installing the game I fired it up with some anticipation as I was finally going to get a personal taste of what Sackboy and his crazy world was all about.

I have to say that the gang at Media Molecule is one creative bunch. This was evident right from the start as you take Sackboy through a very level. What you will notice is that as you make your way through this introductory level you are actually viewing the game’s credits and pictures of all the folks at Media Molecule who made the game possible. I usually dislike having to read credits, but the way it is presented here is very ingenious, somewhat cute, and really sets the tone for the game to come.

After learning who was involved in making this game possible I was introduced to a narrator who was all about helping me figure out what to do. He reminded me of the narrator from the original “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (the British series, not the movie). Maybe it was his staunchness or the tone of his voice, but the bottomline is that is who he reminded me of. I was then introduced to my “Popit” menu which allowed me to access my customization options. After putting on a striped shirt and a pair of glasses on Sackboy I continued on my journey until I was then introduced to my “Pod” which is best described as a navigation screen. Here I learned to control Sackboy’s reactions (e.g. happy to sad) using the d-pad while also learning to control his head, hip and individual arm’s using the SIXAXIS and analog stick.

Upon learning what is what with Sackboy, I was then treated to a few levels of what the game has to offer. Once again the narrator showed up in order to take me through the motions teaching me how use new moves to progress further through the levels. Paramount to my adventure was such things as running, jumping, riding vehicles, and of course moving objects. This is a great way to learn the basics and you will find your self having a lot of fun even while learning such.

The levels themselves are not particularly difficult, and so they shouldn’t be as this beta should give you a taste of what is to come. However you can die, so don’t get to smug as you play. There are ample checkpoints along the way though so if for some strange reason you do die, you won’t have to start too far back.

LittleBigPlanet also offers a co-op mode, which I did not play too much given that I was the only lucky one to get the Beta Key for our office. Besides, I was more interesting in just exploring what the game had to offer in terms of the creative levels. This leads me to the next part of this preview, the creation mode and user-created levels.

In terms of creating your own levels, for reasons that are to be expected this was very tutorial driven as you learn the ins and outs of constructing your own levels. I tried to create a level or two but I have come to the conclusion that I am not the most creative person, no matter what LittleBigPlanet offers me for items to put in my level(s). However, it was pretty cool to play around with the editor and try my hand at making levels. I had a bit of satisfaction when I was able to take Sackboy through the level(s) that I created knowing that these were something I did. Many hours will be spent here once the game hits retail shelves.

The beta for LittleBigPlanet also supports user-created levels to players to try out. After playing a few levels that were done by fellow Beta Players, I have to say that there are some really creative people out there in PS3 Land. If my own ability could only scratch the surface of the creativity in the user-created levels that I have experienced then I would be able to do something wonderful. Another thing that I questioned is where do these people get the time? Regardless, playing user-created levels is the aspect of the game that is going to provide so much more replay value then those from the game itself. You will find some really original levels and even levels generated to look like those from other games from other consoles (Hello Mario, welcome to the PS3), the possibilities are endless. Trust me folks, once you get a taste of what people out there can do you will find yourself playing this a lot more then you thought, I know I did. Oh yeah, it has been recently announced that user-created levels from the beta will be transferred to the final game. BOO-YAH baby, this is great news as all that work of others during the beta has not gone to waste.

In the end my time with the LittleBigPlanet beta has made me only want the final retail version of the game that much more. I have to say that Sony seems to have a winner here. LittleBigPlanet is scheduled for release on October 21st and we should hopefully have our review done somewhere after that date. Until then, you’ll have to wait, but I think the wait will be well worth it.

Kirby Y


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