What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that LittleBigPlanet for the PSP is very similar to its like-named sibling released last year for the PlayStation 3. Its side-scrolling action involves only a modicum of violence: your sack boy avatars can be singed by lava or electrocuted, and you can jump on enemies to boot them off screen or make them disappear. Should players choose to use the level editor it can become a very creative -- perhaps even educational -- experience. They can design challenges of their own making using a robust set of tools, then upload and share them with other players. There is no multiplayer mode, but there is potential for mischievous players to upload levels with offensive visual designs (though we haven’t encountered any).
What's it about?
LITTLEBIGPLANET for PSP is very similar in look and concept to its forerunner, LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation 3. Players guide a cute, customizable sack boy (or sack girl) through two-dimensional side-scrolling environments filled with fun and imaginative physics-based puzzles. Some gravity-oriented tasks include pushing weighted blocks, swinging on ropes, balancing on seesaws, and taking rides on little carts. When players tire of the story mode they can use the items they’ve collected in their adventures in a robust little level editor to create their own challenges, which can be uploaded and shared with others online.
Is it any good?
If you enjoyed the PlayStation 3 version released last fall, there’s every reason to believe you’ll have a splendid time with its small-screened sibling, which captures almost perfectly its predecessor’s atmosphere and imaginative spirit. Players should be aware, though, that there are a few key differences between these two games. For starters, there is no multiplayer. Consequently, the ability for players to use their sack person’s arms to make communicative gestures has also been removed. Plus, the levels of depth in the game’s environment (which allow players to, say, walk in front of or behind objects on the two-dimensional plane) have been reduced from three to two (though, honestly, we hardly noticed). Even with these limitations, LittleBigPlanet for PSP is a good-natured, warm-hearted, and enormously enjoyable play. It’s clearly one of the year’s best for Sony’s handheld PSP.
Online interaction: Players can upload their own levels for other players to play. There is no multiplayer, which means no voice, text, or visual communication. However, there is potential for children to stumble across offensive designs uploaded by mischievous players (though we have yet to find any).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about careers in game design. LittleBigPlanet is a good introduction to level design, but designing games as a job takes a lot of training and a fair bit of talent. Do you think you might have what it takes? Did LittleBigPlanet make you think it might be a fun job?
Families who’ve played the original PlayStation 3 edition of LittleBigPlanet can discuss the differences between versions. Did you mind having only two levels of depth as opposed to three? Did the lack of multiplayer bother you? Do you think one version is superior to the other?