LittleBigPlanet or LBP for short is about to be released in October, so with the release just around the corner, I managed to secure a code for the currently ongoing LBP BETA. Just let me warn you, it’s good.
For those who don’t know, in LBP players control a small character (nicknamed Sackboy. I suppose you could call it Sackgirl depending on your ‘sacks’ appearance), each of which can jump, move, and grab objects. Players can use their abilities to shape and develop the highly manipulatable environment (and I mean highly manipulatable) to build custom spaces – maps to me and you – either individually, collaboratively, and/or competitively. In the BETA you get to do all of these.
When you first boot the BETA up you are straight away thrown into your main menu which Sony have called the POD. In this little POD you can move and jump around but that’s all the fun you can have in here. There’s also a giant – compared to the Sackboy – PlayStation 3 controller, which once pressed start, your Sackboy will operate the buttons as you click them. This doesn’t effect anything in the game but it’s still a nice feature to include. From there you will select what you want to do. Story Mode, create a space or head online to play with or without a buddy on other peoples spaces.
Story mode allows you to take on 3 very easy to easy spaces. Your aim in the spaces (in any gamemode) is to get from A to B, picking up as much points as you can. You get points by collecting bubbles. Some bubbles are harder than others to collect, and some spaces are more difficult that others. Most of the fun in the BETA isn’t to be had in the story mode however, it’s playing online with one of LBP’s major focus’s, the global community. You, me or even Joe Blogs can create any map in the world (slight restrictions obviously) and post it up online for other users to use and play. This does take a lot of creativity and patience. Watching the video tutorials available are a definite if you want to create a decent space. Already I have seen some really impressive spaces available online.
The custom made spaces can be altered in many ways. Objects can be made from things like wood, felt, sponge and metal, all acting realistically the way they should. Standing on felt changes the shape of the felt, whereas if you were to stand on wood it would remain solid. You can also change the object properties by adding ‘dangers’. These dangers include setting the object on fire, putting volts of electricity through it or even freezing the object. Again changing the properties of the object alter the way the Sackboy interacts with it. If the object is on fire and the Sackboy runs into it, the Sackboy will get singed and hop a few steps to the side in pain. The physics in this game are just unreal. My favourite part in the game so far was the inclusion of a giant skateboard in which your Sackboy can hold onto as you fly down the course.
At any point throughout a space you can also decorate the scenery with a host of options. Funniest of which include using the PlayStation Eye camera. You can take a picture of anything you want and slap that sticker onto an object. You can also abuse your Sackboy by painting him yellow or pink. All good fun. You can do this at any point within a space by using the ‘Pop In’ function.
Playing the maps with friends is definitely one of the highlights in the BETA. You and up to 3 other mates can all join in together, both online and off, to create and play levels. Especially fun in levels where you require more than 1 person to complete. I found myself using the grab button to hang onto my mate, who was hanging onto his mate, who was hanging onto the other guy who was holding onto a foam swinging ball. Really enjoyable to watch and even more enjoyable to play.
Overall you get a real good feel in the BETA on what to expect when the game is released. This game is just crying out to all gamers who love to create levels, and to all gamers who love to play puzzle games. It’s truly breathtaking what they have done here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the idea introduced into other games in the future. The content and game physics alone win me over in this LBP experience. If I was asked to give it a provisional rating right now. It would be very high 90’s. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to it’s release in October.