A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game offers three for one price. It's a unique platform puzzle game, a game-creating kit, and a community to share and explore how to make games. Since the community is online, parents might want to explore this community with their kids younger than age 12, because while the community is closely monitored, creative sorts sometimes choose age-inappropriate themes for their work (at the time of this publishing, there is a YouTube video showing a player-created level where Sackboy, the main character, is a little sperm trying to be ejaculated). It's possible for your child to stumble upon something you would rather they didn't before the game monitors pull down the inappropriate content. On the other hand, this is a community where creativity and inventiveness is celebrated. And it's one where you can play with friends or family either online or on the same console (for up to four players).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
LITTLE BIG PLANET is a game that deserves all the hype it has generated. It has three parts to it. First, it's a charming platform puzzler where you control your self-designed \"Sackperson\" as they run, jump, and explore eight crazy wonderful worlds full of Rube-Goldberg-type contraptions and scenery that looks like it was created at a craft festival. Second, it's a video game designing kit where you can design your own zany platform puzzles. By playing through the eight platform puzzle parts, you earn things to put into your game-designing kit. And third, it's a community that celebrates your imagination and the invention of others by allowing you to share your levels with others online and also permitting you to play through other people's levels.
In the first part, known as the Story, you're guided through this world by tutorial videos filled with quirky humor. The world you're exploring has been created from people's dreams, and each of the eight worlds you explore has a different look and feel. You will learn how to collect special bubbles to get a high score and other bubbles to earn prizes. To proceed through each environment, you will run, jump, and grab onto things that populate this world. You will discover that the laws of physics in this world are fascinating -- walk up the side of a triangle and your weight will make it tumble over. Bump up against something and it will move. This is a highly responsive world. After completing the first three levels in the Gardens, you can gain access to MyMoon where you meet others online and create your own levels. Throughout the game, others can join you in a drop-in, drop-out option.
Is it any good?
What makes this game so amazing is that each of the three parts stands on its own merit and yet they seamlessly intertwine. If you aren't the creative type, just playing the Story will be fascinating -- it's like no other platformer you have ever played because the environment is so reactive. And when you're finished with the Story, your fun gaming experience can continue endlessly by exploring new levels created by others online. While EA is policing this content to keep it E-rated, this is a community where kids could run into offensive material before it's ferreted out, so parents might want to join in on the exploration of online content.
For kids (and adults!) who have always wanted to create their own video games, this game gives you the tools to do just that. And they are simple to use, presented with loads of hand-holding in the form of video tutorials. There are pre-made objects like circles and squares, but you can also design your own shapes. You can put them together in a variety of ways including string, glue, or bolts. If you're overwhelmed, the game offers templates to get you started. You can create something simple in 15-20 minutes or spend days working on something to give you bragging rights with friends.
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