‘LittleBigPlanet 3’ is Sony’s baby. Sackboy has become as much a part of the PlayStation brand as Killzone or Gran Turismo and that success has been in no small part down to its creators.
Well the bad news is… those creators have left. Game developers Media Molecule made the decision to go in a new direction. While it meant leaving Sackboy behind it ultimately paid off resulting in the wonderfully unique Tearaway on PS Vita.
With Molecule gone, the reigns were handed over to Sumo Digital to keep the kids entertained while getting the rest of us lost in a world of happy-go-lucky terraforming.
There is good news too, however, and that is that Sumo haven’t let the side down. While the innovations they bring are actually more slight than they appear at first glance, this is by far the best LittleBigPlanet yet.
For starters Stephen Fry is back on board for another stint on the voiceover mic, something that for many will be an immediate no brainer. As with all things LittleBigPlanet however the assumption is that you’ve never played it before — so if you have, then you may want to skip through Mr Fry’s wonderfully cheery but admittedly long intro credits.
The game’s premise follows on from previous titles, differing only in the sense that you’re now visiting a new world who in turn provides you with a new ally.
This ally is Hugh Laurie. That’s right, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in a video game together. Now while that may pass over the heads of some younger players, it absolutely didn’t pass over ours and we’ll be honest, it was a glorious moment.
Laurie plays the lightbulb-headed Newton, caretaker of Bunkum which, incidentally, is the world you’re going to save.
From this point onwards it’s all about jumping, swinging, bouncing and flying your way through a series of beautifully designed but highly familiar levels.
Or at least it would be just that but in taking the reigns Sumo has decided to shake things up a tad by throwing in three new playable characters: Oddsock, Swoop and Toggle.
These new characters come with new abilities with Oddsock able to bound at speed, Swoop lets you glide and Toggle switches between either a giant or tiny version of himself.
It’s a bold strategy, especially with Sackboy so well engrained in people’s minds, but it’s one that ultimately pays off.
While these characters probably won’t take any of the limelight they’re interesting enough to play that they’ll add something genuinely new for younger players.
This break from tradition is about it for innovation though, and while Sumo has added another superb level creation tool it won’t be anything new for veterans of the series.
If you are new however then you’re in luck. They’ve made the creation side of things far easier to get a grasp on, so while you might end up getting a little out of your depth later on, the first steps are handled incredibly well.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is everything you’d hope for. It’s fun to play, endlessly cheerful and thanks to the upgrade to PS4 it looks absolutely stunning.
If we had one complaint though it’s that the game is… just great. It doesn’t take any major risks. With such an iconic brand on their hands the potential for going outside of the platform arena is huge, and it might have made sense to stick a sack-clad toe in the water here.
Until then however think of this as more of the same. In a good way. In a comforting way. In a… Fry and Laurie way.