LittleBigPlanet PSP Preview: PSP Platforming At Its Cutest

There are plenty of platformers to pick from when it comes to the PSP, but only one of them has Sackboy.

Aside from gameplay features like the level editor and the ability to smack your co-op buddies in the dace, there's a special charm to LittleBigPlanet that sets it apart from other platfomers. Part of it comes from the visuals – the textures and colors are supposed to remind gamers of arts & crafts classes we might've had in our youth – and a lot of it comes from the physics.

Find out which of those made it into the PSP version of the game.

What Is It?
LittleBigPlanet is an adventure/platfomer where players control a little Sackboy (or Sackperson, if you prefer) who can run, jump and interact with items in levels to get a finish line. There's also a huge creative component to the game where players can design their own levels and upload them to the PlayStation Network for other players to try. The PSP version of the game retains all of that and adds 30 new levels across seven different environments, however, it subtracts multiplayer.

What We Saw
I played one of the new levels called the Gift of the Grab. It looked sort of desert-y and had a lot of windmill-type objects in it.

How Far Along Is It?
Tough to say – there's no official release date, yet, and to me it looked like the game was missing a layer of polish. Everything worked gameplay-wise, though.

What Needs Improvement?
Tough To Make Out Textures: Part of the pleasure of Sackboy's appearance is the part where you can make out the pattern of the fabric that is his skin. He looks like something you could knit and that's inherently pleasing to the eye (at least for me). Sadly, that texture – and all the other ones I remember vividly from the PS3 game – doesn't translate well to a tiny screen (and I was playing on a PSP Go, so it was really tiny). This robs the game of some of its charm because you don't get that "Wow, I'm in arts and crafts class with pipe cleaners and buttons and stuff!" sensation that Media Molecule was going for.

No Multiplayer: I think it was down to this or the level editor when stuff needed to be cut in order to get the game on the PSP. To be honest, I would have preferred multiplayer, but I understand that level editing is the lifeblood of the LBP community.

What Should Stay The Same?
The Physics: I'm happy to see that most of the physics made it into the game intact. The jumping, especially, was a big sticking point in LBP. It's like you had to unlearn everything other video games had taught you about what happens when you jump to master this game. Imagine how lousy re-learning bad habits would be to enjoy the PSP version of LBP.

The Challenge: It felt good to get through that level, both because the physics were mostly there and because the level was challenging enough to make it interesting. There was a particularly tough bit where a windmill you're supposed to grab spins opposite from the ledge you need to jump to. It requires a bit of fiddling, but once you figure out the apex of the jump, it feels like a puzzle piece clicking into place.

Final Thoughts
I didn't get to see the level editor, but I'm told it's been left mostly alone for the PSP version. Without having seen the second-most important part of LBP (behind the multiplayer), I can't say for sure how I feel about the game's transition to handhelds. But, hey, at least there's Stephen Fry. That's always a plus.