The original “LittleBigPlanet” was a platformer that let players create their own levels with a robust in-game toolset and then share those levels easily with the rest of the world. At first it may seem like few concepts have changed in the sequel, but the deeper into it a player gets, the more wrong that impression becomes.
The game’s new level creator is the star of the show, allowing players to create a lot of new genres and gametypes — and what some people have created is just short of mind-blowing. Whereas only platformers could be made in the original, now both developers and the community have created racing games, side-scrolling shooters, RPG combat systems and tower defense.
Some of the user-created dual joystick shooters are more fun than the core platforming elements the game has been known for. Since each level has a rating and description, those that are more creative and interesting rise to the top and are easy to find. Over 3 million levels have been made so far, so the playability of “LittleBigPlanet 2” is virtually limitless. But with so many levels available, the loading times online can sometimes be slow.
The level creator is remarkably rich — letting players combine and manipulate objects, fabrics, stickers and more — and allows for literally limitless customizability. The game even allows players to create music for their levels. Inventing full gametypes and quality levels takes an extraordinary amount of dedication and ingenuity, so patience is required when approaching that aspect of the game.
Despite the new gametypes players are making, “LittleBigPlanet 2” is still primarily a 2-D platformer, and a good one at that. Most platforming levels have a clever design that can become challenging but never overly frustrating. New game mechanics, like the grappling hook, have been introduced that open up the level design in both the story mode and online.
The story mode is delightful. Stephen Fry’s English-accented narration is incredibly endearing, and the dialogue is cheeky and silly. Visually, the game is absolutely beautiful, with realistically textured fabric and wood, making the game world look like a giant diorama come to life. The music is eclectic, ranging from orchestral scores to thumping techno to female a cappella.
There is a host of combative multiplayer game types for two to four players, and many are a blast because of how frantic they are. Some of the story mode levels have cooperative aspects in them as well, which are inventive and well implemented.
The only major complaint that can be lobbied against the game is that the controls are not ideal. The grappling hook allows more variation in the gameplay, but it can often be unwieldy when trying to be precise. The jumping in the platforming sections feels a little too floaty and slippery, which can be slightly annoying at times. It’s far from a deal breaker, but it’s one of the few things holding “LittleBigPlanet 2” back from perfection.