LittleBigPlanet beta impressions: Andrew’s take

Posted at 12:12 am EST

“If you build it, they will come.”

That’s pretty much my summation of what determines LittleBigPlanet’s longevity. And while not unlike “Field of Dreams,” if the big names come and support this game, it could make for some interesting ways to continue the game.

I got my beta key from the keystone of journalistic integrity. Of course, I’m talking about USA Today. </sarcasm>

Upon firing up the game, I was instantly bombarded by visuals that can only be described by a word I don’t really use very often…

Cute.

The game’s fabric-skinned mascot, the Sackboy, is possibly one of the most endearing faces in gaming today. For 10 minutes, I became infatuated not with the already vast library of user-created levels but with the different clothing styles my little cloth buddy could don.

The levels created by the development team that were included with the beta were tutorials and while the concepts for the game are fundamentally easy, it’s simply impressive the amount of things that can be done. For example, I was playing the user-created Ninja Warrior level and pulling off simply athletic moves with my Sackboy, swinging over perilous pits of fire and dodging certain death.

Kratos sackboy

The things that people have been able to do with the beta over the last week or so are stunning. I saw someone’s interpretation of a God of War level, including a creepy atmosphere and red orb chests filled with score bubbles. Then in the very next level I played, the entire thing was a machine that played the Guns n’ Roses classic, “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The fact that these two things can populate the same virtual gaming microcosm by using the exact same toolset is somewhat unprecedented. Sure, Mario Paint had a music editor. But you couldn’t create a creepy level complete with human sacrifices.

With as many levels for me to tear through, it’s understandable why I took two days to finally get into the level creator. While the beta doesn’t show all of the tools that the final game will have at the player’s disposal, it was amazing how many there actually were. I wasn’t able to make anything substantial, mostly just feeble attempts to create a track for a giant skateboard to ride on, but after going through all the tutorials, it was pretty simple to grasp the basics in a relatively quick matter.

I only had three days to work with this beta. If the game is as fun and intuitive as I saw with this short beta period, I can expect this game to be in the running for “Game of the Year.”

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~ by Andrew Martins on October 14, 2008.

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