Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sony Entertainment
Platforms: PS3, PS4
Reviewed on PS4
LITTLE Big Planet 3 is a beautiful thing to look at, like peering into the Grandmother’s sewing box as a child, full of creative wonder.
Though, similar to the sewing box, as soon as you dig your hand in, a needle under the nail scares you away.
For those new to the series, Little Big Planet is a platformer (like Mario) with a huge amount of variations on the standard run and jump formula, the signature of the series is that the game is bundled with the tools used to make it.
The new developers, Sumo Digital, have done an excellent job of taking over from their predecessor, Media Molecule.
The charming art directions and intricate level designs return in top form and the possibilities in create mode have become even more bogglingly numerous.
Unfortunately, this is not the polished creative Nirvana that Little Big Planet 2 was.
The Story Mode follows a straightforward “here’s the bad guy, go get him” plot that won’t be winning any awards but the narration of Stephen Fry and the voice of Hugh Laurie as the villain do win points for eloquent British charm.
The level design is simple enough to breeze through but with enough hidden collectibles and puzzles to more than double the amount of gameplay hours.
Where Sumo Digital have stumbled is with bugs and glitches.
The game never feels truly held together with a variety of different bugs rearing their heads every hour or so.
One saw a character named Toggle activate its ability to shrink, only to disappear completely, die and then respawn as a different character entirely, complete with a customised costume that hadn’t even been unlocked yet.
In the later levels, where the pace is much faster, the bugs become more frequent, meaning that on several occasions a restart will be necessary to complete a level; frustrating.
I also found that complex online levels from Little Big Planet 1 and 2 are close to unplayable.
Little Big Planet 3’s biggest new feature is the introduction of three new playable characters, a size changing heavy weight (Toggle), a dog (Oddsock) and a bird (swoop).
The designs of these characters don’t have the personality of the original sackboy, in fact they’re quite ugly and seem to have been lazily created, thankfully their appearance is customizable but it is definitely a missed opportunity to create a new iconic Sony mascot.
The game is colourful and maintains a steady resolution on both PS3 and PS4, the PS4 version has marginally better visuals and slightly shorter loading times but it’s not really a ‘next generation’ improvement.
Little Big Planet 3 is still a heaped bucket of collectibles and fun (if not slightly overwhelming) creative tools but the game still feels like it needed some TLC before it was ready.
Sumo Digital have ultimately carried on with the series’ signature feeling of a hand crafted experience yet have thrown in a spanner of disappointment.
They should have focused more on quality and beta testing rather than having another entry on the shelves before Christmas, especially since they were responsible for one of Sony’s lead exclusive titles.
+ The way the possibilities make my brain bubble
+ Impressive art directions
+ Quality level designs
+ Stephen Fry
– Bugs are just about everywhere
– Weak narrative wastes the cast
Try if you like:
Being creative – Fez – Mario platformers – Modnation Racers