Back in 2008, developer Media Molecule made its mark on the gaming world with LittleBigPlanet. In 2011, the developer did the same with LittleBigPlanet 2. Fast forward to 2014 and the LittleBigPlanet reins have now been passed onto developer Sumo Digital. While Media Molecule is still praised for the first titles in the LittleBigPlanet series… does Sumo Digital have what it takes to live up to the past achievements of Media Molecule, especially when it comes to the beloved world of LittleBigPlanet? Well, it’s time to find out!
One of the most familiar things about the LittleBigPlanet series is indeed the intro sequences. These intro sequences, voiced by the extremely talented Stephen Fry, remind us that LittleBigPlanet is all about imagination, exploration and creativity. One of my biggest concerns, when Sumo Digital was announced as the new developer, was the fact that most developers tend to sway away from the initial concept and idea of a game. This happens more often than not, and usually leads to a title that fails to impress. Thankfully, Sumo Digital has kept with the original idea of LittleBigPlanet as well as added its own ideas and mechanics in order to improve upon the series.
One of the biggest changes, introduced by Sumo Digital, to grace the world of LittleBigPlanet is the addition of new characters as well as a fairly decent storyline. Yip, that’s right… your little Sack Person no longer has to face the latest threat to the Imagisphere alone. This time around, Sackboy is transported to a new planet called Bunkum, a creative paradise where abundant ideas drift through the sky. Unwittingly, Sackboy helps release three mythical creatures called the Titans who aim to ruin Bunkum and transform the world’s most unskilled Creator, Newton, into a terrible monster. To restore balance to the land, Sackboy is going to need help in the form of Bunkum’s ancient heroes: Toggle, OddSock and Swoop.
While the storyline of LittleBigPlanet 3 is fairly simple and straight to the point, it does however have a tendency of keeping the player engaged for a much longer period of time than the previous titles. When I look back at LittleBigPlanet 1 & 2, I see them as competitive titles, especially while playing co-op; however, this time around it is not just about who can get the highest score in a level, or who can collect the most collectibles, but it also leaves a lingering feeling of what is going to happen next. This is great to experience in LittleBigPlanet 3 and hopefully Sumo Digital can expand on the experience with upcoming DLC.
Apart from new characters, Sumo Digital has also introduced a set of nifty tools that your Sack Person can utilise while traversing some of the devious, yet brilliantly designed levels featured throughout the game. The Pumpinator gives the player the ability to either suck in or blow out air. This helps when you need to pull down or move platforms as well as move strategically placed gears. In addition to this, players also get a nifty torch that can be used to uncover hidden stickers and accessories. To add to this, players also get to use a portal styled device called Blinkball as well as a host of other tools that really expand upon the overall gameplay experience.
Apart from the new gadgets, Sumo Digital has also expanded on gameplay by giving OddSock, Toggle and Swoop different abilities. OddSock is quite fast when it comes to movement and can double jump off walls in order to reach previously inaccessible areas. Toggle gets his name from being able to “toggle” between Big Toggle and Small Toggle. Toggle can essentially fit through smaller spaces as well as walk on the surface of water. Swoop can fly around levels, which gives the player the freedom to explore levels in their entirety.
While Sumo Digital has done a great job with LittleBigPlanet 3, I couldn’t help notice that the game is far glitchier than past titles. While playing co-op, there were often times where a Sack Person would spontaneously disappear. Furthermore, characters would stuck in walls on occasions or fall straight through the floor or a body of water at times. While this is not entirely a game breaking issue, it does become annoying at times.
Graphically, LittleBigPlanet 3 looks absolutely superb. Each level is vibrant, colourful, and remarkable to view. To add to this, the team over Sumo Digital have done a spectacular job when it comes to the game’s character and enemy design. To further compliment the game’s visual appeal, LittleBigPlanet also features a fantastic voice cast who really keep things entertaining until the very end.
When it comes to creating new levels, the process is very similar to that of past LittleBigPlanet titles. However, Sumo Digital has done a great job in explaining the fundamentals to new players. Furthermore, LittleBigPlanet 3 also features a Puzzle mode, which stars Larry Davinci from LittleBigPlanet 2.
Sumo Digital has done a fine job with LittleBigPlanet 3. Not only have they kept the core roots of LittleBigPlanet 3, but they have also added in a bit of their own flair and creativity to the mix in order to expand upon gameplay as well as improve on the overall experience. Furthermore, the addition of the new characters, power-ups, and gadgets was exactly what LittleBigPlanet needed.
While LittleBigPlanet 3 does suffer from some rather annoying bugs and glitches, it is still a well deserved sequel in the LittleBigPlanet series.
Review by Darryl Linington