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Little Big Planet 2 is two things. Most obviously it's a platform game with endearing visuals and varied game play. Harder to grasp though, it's also a tool to create your own video games. The first game struggled to communicate all this, but still won through with an avid online community creating millions of their own levels. Little Big Planet 2 both builds on this success and makes it simple enough for the masses to enjoy.
Platform games task you with getting from point A to point B. The world you journey through is usually based on different levels, and populated with enemies, switches and lifts to be negotiated. As you work through each level you pick up various collectibles that accrue score, special abilities and access to hidden areas.
Little Big Planet 2 starts out a basic platform game, but soon introduces many more varied challenges. Racing, shooting, puzzling and strategy all come into play as Sackboy takes to his second official adventure.
Little Big Planet 2 simple looks and works like nothing else. From it's handmade patchwork aesthetic to its real world physics, it creates an amiable intriguing world straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. It's all Little Big Planet was and more, this time picking up varied themed worlds from different periods in history.
Beyond this however it is the video game creation mode that is most unique. This time around Sackbots let you create your own video game enemies with just a few presses. Direct Control Seats mean that you can build games around control of any object in the world, not just Sackboy. Finally for those hugely complex creations, Microchips and Circuit boards let you construct complex logic with less fuss and resources.
Newcomers will again be drawn to Little Big Planet 2 for its sheer sense of wonder and fun. The little cloth and cardboard folk are not only endearing, but also create a world that is hysterical to play.
Like the Jet packs of the first game, the new Grappling Hook tool in Little Big Planet 2 creates much fun and hi-jinx. With four of us trying out the first level we soon discovered we could each attach ourselves to each other as well as the scenery. We soon forgot about completing the level as a game of rough and tumble emerged with us trying to pull each other into various electrified pits. We had to stop from sheer inability to stop crying with laughter.
Veterans of the first Little Big Planet game will want to play this to see what their creations from the first game look like with the upgrade visuals. Not only that but they can keep any of the materials, gadgets, stickers and download content from the first game too.
The platform game conforms to usual game timings. You should be able to get through a level in around five minutes, and may want to string a few together to get into your stride.
The dress-up features, as I mentioned above, seem to gobble up more time. The sheer number of options available means there is always one more combination to try.
Although Little Big Planet 2 makes the game creation modes much more accessible, this also means that you can be more ambitious and varied with your creations. Consequently, we found just as much time would be spent here as before. Again, this will either thrill or terrify you - depending on how much time you have. Those that relish the opportunity and lavish time and effort on their creations can achieve some remarkable game play - and if shared to the community can become famous, or maybe even head hunted for a real game design job.
Very young players will appreciate the simple controls and the dressing up. They can also be cajoled in the right direction by other players. In fact the collaboration between players of different abilities and ages is one of LittleBigPlanet's best assets.
Intermediate players will get most out of the main platform game - which offers both creative and challenging experiences to players of all abilities.
Experts are most likely to be drawn towards the create and share aspects of the game. Particularly now they are not limited to either the platforming genre - or, by a combination of Sackbots and Direct Control Seats, to Sackboy's floaty physics.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: