LittleBigPlanet PSP Review

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Title: LittleBigPlanet PSP
Developer: Cambridge Studios, Media Molecule
Game Type: PSP
Download: 1.3 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

The PlayStation Vita is slowly moving away from the point of saying there’s a scarce number of family-oriented games on it.  We have looked and reviewed many family and child-oriented games on the handheld system.  From Invizimals: The Alliance and Adventure Time to Tearaway and LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, there is plenty for that sort of audience to enjoy on Sony’s handheld system.

The biggest franchise Sony has right now for this audience is definitely LittleBigPlanet.  Ever since the original game debuted on the PlayStation 3, the adventures of Sackboy and Sackgirl have been a beacon of fun for the family experience on systems that are primarily used for other types of games.  As you know, the PS Vita has its own LittleBigPlanet game that proved to be a very fun experience, along with the series’ creators making Tearaway on the Vita (and soon the PS4 as well).

If you take a look further back, though, the Vita has more of Sackboy’s worlds to experience.  The Vita title was not the first handheld game of the series.  Taking a look back on the PSP library, here is our official review of LittleBigPlanet PSP!

Story

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Unlike the PS Vita game’s setting of Carnivalia, the story of LittleBigPlanet PSP takes place on the world of LittleBigPlanet.  As the introduction explains, every idea that every living thing on Earth take form and leave our minds.  On their journey from our imaginations, they form a nearby world known as LittleBigPlanet.  This world is full of wonders of the imaginations of everyone and everything in the universe.

You take the role of Sackboy (or Sackgirl) as they begin their journey of exploration and creation, in anticipation of a Creation Carnival that is set to go into effect, requiring every creator in the world.  Unfortunately, several of those creators have not arrived or responded to their invitations.  Sackboy is then tasked with the mission of exploring LittleBigPlanet to find these creators and bring them to the Carnival.

The story of this game isn’t a bad one, though doesn’t leave a whole lot of memorable moments.  Unlike the Vita game, there is no voice-acting outside of the Narrator, and all of the creators and characters you see talk in the form of thought bubbles and take the form of cardboard-like characters on the maps.  Not to say the story isn’t interesting, but it isn’t nearly as robust and in-depth as the story of the Vita game.

Gameplay

Like every other game in the series, LittleBigPlanet is a 2.5D Side-scrolling platform game.  As you progress through each world, you will be running, jumping, swinging, and flying through a 2D perspective along with two different planes to solve puzzles and progress forward.  This has been the case since the very first game on the PlayStation 3.

When you start out the game, you will be given your tutorial about how the game works and then slowly unlock the different worlds you can explore.  These four worlds are: LittleBigPlanet (LBP), Community Moon, Your Pod, and Your Moon.   LBP is where you can progress through the story and play through various levels of the game, be it Story Levels or Community Levels.  The Community Moon is where you access the game’s online features to upload created levels or download other levels across the PlayStation Network.  Your Moon is where you can build your own levels to upload and play, and the Pod is your home where you can customize your character as well as the area around that Pod.

When you access levels, you have a menu to look through across a 3D Planet, whether it’s for Story or Downloaded levels.  Each level will have some basic information and you can go in to start and play that level.  There is a small load time and you’re thrown into the beginning of the level and can go at it.

Progressing through each level is a mix of platforms and puzzles.  You have a 2D environment (with 3D visuals) to explore like a side-scroller.  You also have 2 planes you can swap back and forth with, one in front of another.  If you’re new to LittleBigPlanet, it’s like the two plans on Kirby: Triple Deluxe, but you can switch back and forth anytime you want.  To get to the end of the level, you have to utilize these two plans to get past objects as well as moving and dragging them to open the way to the next area.

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Another thing you do in levels is collect.  There are bubbles you can collect as you play through the levels.  Some of these defeat enemies, but others increase your score (which can be increased with a multiplier), and others contain stickers and materials.  Stickers can be used for puzzles in the levels and materials can be used to create levels when you’re in Create Mode.  There are specific materials exclusive to each level, so it’s suggested you try to get as much as you can.

The bigger part of this game is the fact that it has a Moon and a Community Moon.  You can create levels in your Moon and upload them to the PlayStation Network for anyone to download and play through.  With vice-versa, you can also go to the Community Moon to download other players’ submitted levels to rate and play through.  There are hundreds of levels to look through, so there’s a ton of content to look through outside of the Story Levels.  We can verify and confirm that this feature still works on both the PS Vita and the PlayStation TV.

Strictly on Story Mode, the game has 7 different worlds for you to play through, each taking roughly an hour to beat your first time through.  Knowing that, it should take you about 7-8 hours to clear the game and many hours after if you want to dig into the bulky library of Community Levels available.  The only thing you cannot access with the Vita is the DLC for the game.  That is not a direct download and also cannot be transferred from a PS3.

Controls

Controlling Little Big Planet is not a hard task.  Unlike the PS Vita game, you won’t need to hassle with the touch screens as you play through this game.  You may put button controls to the touch screen, if you wish.  With the simplistic controls, though, there isn’t really any need to.  The game is easy to play as it is.

The Left Analog Stick is used to move your Sack Person around the maps as well as navigating various areas in the menu screens.  The D-Pad is used for your facial expressions and taunts (tied with the shoulder buttons).  The rest of the game is handled by the R trigger and face buttons.  The X button is used to jump and the Square button opens the in-game menu to change your appearance, costume, and use stickers.  Triangle is used to talk to characters you encounter and Circle is used to exit out of a menu.  Finally, the R trigger is used to grab onto objects to ride them or move them.

The controls for Little Big Planet are not complex, in any way.  The game also has an extensive tutorial level that explains how to do everything as you play through the game.

Presentation

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As far as presentation goes, the visuals took the biggest hit on the transition from the PSP to the PS Vita and PlayStation TV.  The visuals have a lot of jagged edges around your character and some environments.  It doesn’t look blurred but there are a lot of inconsistent lines and models.  On the flip side of this, it is currently the only LittleBigPlanet game that can be played on the PlayStation TV, as the PS Vita game remains unpatched.

The game plays well, for the most part.  All of the levels and animations run very smoothly and there isn’t any lag, even when navigating the Community Levels on PSN.  However, the Load Times are definitely something that take some getting used to.  The initial load time for the game is very long, as is the load time it takes for you to connect to the Community Moon.  These can easily take 30 seconds to a minute, if not more.

Another thing to note is the music.  One thing LittleBigPlanet has going for it against its successor is memorable music.  There are a few songs that can really stick with you, particularly the song in the intro and the Secret Agent music you hear towards the end of the game.  They are tunes I still remembered from back when I first played this game years ago.  The soundtrack is very memorable.

Summary

LittleBigPlanet PSP is: Good
The handheld debut for Sack-Boy makes to be a fun PSP game to trek, be it on a PSP, Vita, or PSTV.  On the downside, the visual presentation has a lot of jagged edges and the load times are very lengthy.  Looking past these, though, you will find a game with a longer game than its successor and a huge Community Moon full of levels created over the past several years to explore. 

8/10

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