LittleBigPlanet 3: Okay game, amazing creative tool

December 8, 2014


LittleBigPlanet 3 includes over 150 tutorial videos to lead a new user through the crazy amount of creation tools available in its creative mode. This fact alone should give you a glimpse of the potential that it provides to someone dedicated enough to dive deep and learn the intricacies of its system. Unfortunately, the experience from the perspective of someone that purely wants to play through the story mode of the game falls far short of this potential.

For the creator, LittleBigPlanet 3 offers the most feature-packed and accessible creative suite of tools to be found in any LittleBigPlanet game. The amount of options available for creation could be overwhelming, especially to someone entering this arena for the first time, but LittleBigPlanet 3 does a lot of smart things to help alleviate this problem.

Right next to the main adventure mode, there is a section of the game called Popit Academy. The popit is the main tool that Sackboy uses to create different content for a game world, and through a suprisingly lengthy series of levels, you are taught how to do all of the different things that you would need to do in designing a LittleBigPlanet stage. This mode actually makes learning the designer elements fun, as the various tools are introduced in the context of solving puzzles. The puzzles aren’t mentally challenging in any way, as the real focus is on learning how to use a given tool, but this is a very cool way to teach the usage of these tools to a new user. This academy is in addition to the insane amount of video tutorials available, which present the information in a much more traditional way.


View from the couch

The addition of four playable character classes adds a lot to the local multiplayer potential of LBP 3: Oddsock and Swoop are just plain fun, and Toggle is fun for solving problems. We’ll look for community levels that cater to this crowd, though, because the main adventure — which has to be beatable without four-player co-op — doesn’t do much to test the boundaries of this interaction. – Graham Russell

One awesome thing that Sumo Digital did to aid veteran creators is to allow all the old content from LittleBigPlanet and LBP 2 to be brought into LittleBigPlanet 3. This means that for someone already invested in LittleBigPlanet creation, they begin with access to hundreds of materials, objects, textures and the like. This also preserves any of the paid extra content that these creators might have invested in over the years. Transferring this content proved to be quick and painless. There is an advantage to the player here too, as the inclusion of the old content also allows any previously created LittleBigPlanet level to be played in the community mode. Right from day one, there will already be thousands of amazing levels (and full games) to be played in this mode that have carried over from previous games.

It’s a saving grace that all of this content is available to the player in the community mode, because the adventure mode of the game is sadly lacking. The game is incredibly short, as it can easily be completed in under four hours. It would take much longer than that to perfect every level and collect every collectible, but there is no real benefit to doing this aside from collecting things to be used in the creation mode. The addition of new playable characters is great, and they add a lot, as they each have different styles of play. Unfortunately, though, their additions come by way of different versions of platforming, and there is very little variation in this game type throughout. LittleBigPlanet 2 was inventive in its game types, and there were a number of moments in that title when I was impressed and surprised with a given level. There is really none of that inventiveness here.


One little voice

LittleBigPlanet games have always been dominated by the presence of Stephen Fry, no matter the voice talent pulled in to surround his performance. This time, that’s a bit less true, because Sumo brought in exactly the person you’d want to rival Fry: Hugh Laurie. He doesn’t dominate the story, but his appearances are memorable because of Laurie’s ability to dominate his audience’s attention. – Graham Russell

The biggest thing I felt as I played through this mode was a complete lack of challenge or drive to push further. LittleBigPlanet has never been the most challenging series, and sometimes its largest hurdle has been wrestling with its floaty platforming physics. LittleBigPlanet 3, however, is the easiest of the series by a large margin. There are very few creative “boss” battles, and the levels don’t really distinguish themselves very much by design. There were some levels designed around a certain mechanic, but it often seemed that after I finished the level that taught the mechanic it was never pushed further. I’m sure that the community will remedy this and provide some amazing experiences, but they just aren’t available from the developer at the start.

Cooperative play works well, as it always has, and the game provides a number of opportunities to engage with it. You can decide during each level whether you want to play solo or with others, and even when paired with a stranger there is a lot of fun in completing the two-player sections sprinkled throughout the various stages. These challenges usually involve each player pressing switches or moving platforms for the other, and the coordination required to complete them isn’t so great that they need voice communication or anything like that. It is required to play these sections for 100% game completion, and they are definitely accessible enough that I can’t imagine not wanting to try them.


For the creator, there is a ton of value in LittleBigPlanet 3, while there isn’t quite enough there to satisfy the player. I am very excited to see what kinds of things the community will create with the tools available, and I’m sure that there will be a ton of interesting takes on the LIttleBigPlanet formula there. I just wish that Sumo Digital had done more with its own tools in crafting a fun original adventure.

Pros: Deep creative toolset, accessible creative mode, extra playable characters
Cons: Short uninteresting adventure mode, lack of gameplay variation

Score: 3/5

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