Posted on November 20, 2012
My Top 100: #49 – Little Big Planet
My relationship with this game didn’t start off all that well. I usually know within those first few minutes of playing a game, without a shadow of a doubt, whether I’ll enjoy it or not. I’m currently playing through Assassin’s Creed, wondering if it’ll get good any time soon… I’m guessing that it won’t.
In any case, Little Big Planet was one of those popular games that I was curious to see what the fuss was about (see AssCreed above). I knew the art style and Sackboy’s insane amount of cuteness and customizability would be right up Anita’s alley, but I wasn’t that convinced. I considered Sony to be the most “adult” of this generation of consoles, what with Microsoft releasing games like Viva Piñata and Banjo Kazooie, while Nintendo was being… well, Nintendo.
How was I supposed to believe the house that God of War built could make a solid light-hearted platformer?
I borrowed the game from a co-worker, and I was struck by how different the controls felt… much like the characters themselves, they felt cushiony. I’m not sure how else to describe it, but Sackboy really does control like he’s a hacky sack with arms and legs. This isn’t a major detriment, or anything, but if you’re used to the spot-on precision of the athletic speed and jumps in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, LBP‘s slightly slower (but every bit as challenging) pace will take a bit of getting used to.
Not only did I not get *into* it, but I don’t think I actually *got* it right away. It took me a couple playthroughs of the first few levels to really understand what they were trying to accomplish. The levels were a bit dreary, the music was decidedly quirky, and a lot of the online content I played was slightly uninspired.
I guess I was just being my typical impatient self.
Levels start getting pretty challenging a little later in the game. The whole “dragging” mechanic (where Sackboy can grab blocks or other things) combined with the game’s unique physics help create some extremely satisfying puzzles, and the co-op mode adds an extra layer of difficulty without making you want to chuck your controller at your wife in frustration!
The online content, if you look in the right places, is actually pretty brilliant. Aside from Sony’s costume and sticker DLC packages, which range from Disney to Metal Gear Solid and anywhere in between, the level editor allows for every Tom, Dick or Harriet to post and share their creations over the PlayStation Network. Even though I could probably try my skills at designing a fun level of my own, there are TONS of people out there that are more creative than I am. I was quite impressed by some of the levels I found online. The fact that it’s a Sony game doesn’t mean the online content can’t be jam-packed with references to IP’s from other companies!
Seriously, there’s tons of Mario, Mega Man, Zelda and Contra stuff on there. Not all of it good, mind you, but the game’s online level rating system should be a pretty good indicator. The best level I actually played was one that made reference to several pop culture phenomenons at once; Indiana Jones, Jaws, Star Wars, Star Trek and a batch of others. Pretty awesome!
Finally, the art style reminded me of a book I used to read when I was quite young, and although it was one I remember enjoying, it was one that also freaked me out a bit at the same time. I’m 100% sure that it wasn’t Veggie Tales, or whatever that popular kids series is called.
It was a collection of pictures (not drawings) of vegetables with eyes, mouths and noses painted on. Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms; you name a common vegetable, and it was more than likely a character in the book. Anyway, they were an adventurous bunch, and got themselves into a few pickles (HA!) along the way.
It was as though some guy was looking through his pantry one day, got bored and built “sets” for his veggies in his own kitchen, gave them faces and a story, took pictures, then sold it to a publishing company as a children’s book. The way the veggies looked actually made me want to never touch vegetables again…
That explains a lot, actually. Yay, meat!