LittleBigPlanet 3 Review
At a time when the industry feels hopelessly separated over issues of journaistic ethics and inclusitvity, LittleBigPlanet can draw us closer through playful togetherness. With all of its hyper-niceness, waggling tongues, and soft pun-ny British-accented narration, Sony's creatively overdosed platformer remains importantly genuine.
This is a fairy tale – a chintzy one – but a fairy tale nonetheless. Sackboy, perfected smiles and adorable anger in tow, inhabits the intelligently non-violent Imagisphere. Brought to life by a logical developmental hivemind (this time born of Sumo Digital not Media Molecule) LittleBigPlanet 3 is brightly different. Villain Newton, a literal light bulb of ideas voiced by Hugh Laurie, constitutes the series' heart of overeager ambition and productivity – an incidental scoundrel if you will.
Miniature Sizable Celestial Body to the Third
Yes, LittleBigPlanet is coddling. Death is brisk and non-eventful. Stage designs at their worst feel delicately threatening, and even then it's with a smirk. The messy structure which slips up with a half-in open world is but a brief distraction. It does things wrong, fouls, and even fails. Then Sackboy grins.
Physics have become toned and ripped, slipping away from the frustrations which sent Sackboy (and by default also his latest company, Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop) careening helplessly across levels. Renewed focus on stage designs and a drizzle of licensed music add alluring flavoring to an already charming first-party spectacle.
LittleBigPlanet hoists up a critical shield. So much of what it does (and does well) is still cycling through the minds of its community members. Most of it doesn't exist yet. It grows like a beautiful shapeless blob as creative types finagle new ideas from the delightful core. What they do is what this PlayStation 4 edition will ultimately become.
As such, introverts need not apply. Those seeking alone time are amongst the rare breed of excluded players. LittleBigPlanet is almost preachy with its message of friend gathering and cooperative hangouts. Enriching play should be shared. Few offer a better platform. Even fewer are so nonchalant in their unisex appeal.
Ingenuity powers everything in LittleBigPlanet 3. It's like an electron current running through it all, powering character designs, dialog, and pacing. Last year Sony tried The Puppeteer, an interesting and magnetic platformer with gumption. With time, LittleBigPlanet 3 has done it better. The swinging, the jumping, the cautious layered style; this series has grown up.
There is so much to see through a story few will probably care for short of unlocking a suite of deliciously whimsical stickers. Backgrounds enact chaotic stage shows and themes prey on the concept of miniaturization. Cleverness is applied to use real world objects where possible. Sackboy's world is also flushed with vintage toys, becoming a type of adventure seen only in high-strung imaginations. Cue another reason to share.
The reality is we need more LittleBigPlanet. Lots of it. The sensation of “Look what I did,” and the bliss of finding a splendid, “Look what they did,” level is often incalculable. It is what you make it. With such a malleable engine (Sumo Digital's shows such with smart yet slender mission design), the game is allowed to slip in almost unnoticed against the barrage of brutish target practice sims. No guns allowed here. The Imagisphere shows what else video games can be at their most clear-headed.
“Let's spark together,” LittleBigPlanet 3 asks of us. So lets. Ignore the vileness, the social media bickering, the puerile hate, the swirling accusations.
Let's make something incredible, together, because: video games like this? They're awesome. Let's play.