One SackBoy to Save them All….
Little Big Planet3 (LBP3) is the third installment of the puzzle plat former, released for PS3 and PS4. Unlike the first two games developed by Media Molecule, developer Sumo Digital takes the reigns while being backed by XDev and Media Molecule in a undisclosed capacity.
Like the first two LBP games, LBP3 is another query adventure wherein Sackboy is out to stop another enemy bent on destroying Craftworld. The game begins with a light bulb like character named Newton whisking Sackboy into the scrap booked world of Bunkum in order to help save the world from the Titans, three inspiration sucking beasts who long ago were subdued by three great heroes. It is up to Sackboy to find and recruit the heroes: Oddsock, Toggle and Swoop, and adventure out to defeat the Titans and save Bunkum.
These heroes are adorable, but pack their own unique punch. Oddsock is dog like and is a fast runner that climbs wall and wall jumps. Toggle can switch between tall and tiny versions, helping him manipulate gravity in water and on bounce pads for higher jumps. Swoop flies and can carry objects through the air.
A disappointment is that the new heroes can be used to play within other levels, but only within the level hub in which they are unlocked. Boss levels also can only be defeated by its pre-determined specific hero. Two-four player game play does not allow for each player to participate as a different character either, all players are the same hero. The only place you can participate as more than one character is in creation mode. For a large percentage of the game, Sackboy is the main playable character as per storyline.
This is a flaw in the appeal of the game as the new characters add a different game play style and challenge. It adds another dimension of enjoying the game that unfortunately is not being utilized.
LBP3 overall game play is divided into four stages, prologue and one for each new hero. In order to defeat the specific boss of each hub, Sackboy must complete mini levels and collect magic marbles that are used to awaken each individual hero at their shine within the level. These levels are not readily given to the player, and takes advantage of the game-within-a-game development and are found tucked in corners. Spreading them apart encourages exploration and yields rare materials and stickers.
The environment is just a further build up of the already well established world. It is intimately detailed and is definably a treat for the eyes. Unlike previous games in the series that had three playable layers of depth, LBP3 allows creator to use sixteen layers.
A good addition to the game is the pocket-popit that increasingly fills with a handful of gadgets to grant Sackboy more freedom of navigation to hard reached spaces. The “pumpinator”, a hairdryer like item pushes or pulls objects with air, a flashlight illuminates hidden objects and the blink ball shoots spheres to help teleport you. The Hook hat allows you to slide rails and the Boost boots give Sackboy a extra double jump. These gadgets can be used at any time and are a great advantage for the explorer gamer who goes back to levels in search of hidden goodies.
LBP3 is the most challenging title of the franchise so far. Many of the levels require quick reflexes, but also force to pay attention and learn through trial and error in order to achieve new experiences that are literally dangled in front of you.
Like its predecessors, LBP3 features a level creator with an overwhelming arsenal of creation tools. You can make individual levels and “stitch” them together into a larger game and fill them with anything your creative mind can put to screen.
In a new feature to help with learning level editing, PopIt Puzzles was developed and features a lively NPC professor. The professor walks you though the use of each construction tactic. Each PopIt Puzzle plays like a regular LBP level and involves the usage of one tool. As a player grasps the use of the tools, the game throws in some further challenges to force the player to use some brain power to solve the puzzle. The puzzles may come off frustrating at times, but they ensure that you use them effectively.
The use of creativity is limited in campaign mode, but is boundless in creation mode and allows for you to leave your own personal mark on Craftworld.
As in its predecessors, the soundtrack is lively and well crafted.
It is important to note that all costumes/materials found and DLC purchased for LBP,LBP2 and Run Sackboy! Run! is automatically downloaded to the players PopIt for use in LBP3.
LBP3 is a fantastic adventure, especially for long time gamers for the series, but is currently still crippled by bugs. These bugs hinder progression and can lead to extreme annoyance. Unfortunately, the bugs do not show up in the same place every time the level is played, is very random. Hopefully there is a solution on its way in the form of a patch.