Posted by Sammy Barker
In many ways LittleBigPlanet PSP is a direct port of Media Molecule's PlayStation 3 monster. Visually, tonally and mechanically the games are close to identical; Studio Cambridge do an outstanding job of recreating Media Molecule's vision on a portable system. The single player campaign is new however, sending Sackboy (or Sackgirl) on a global adventure to recruit troubled Creator Curators for an annual festival.
It must have been hard for Media Molecule to commission Sony's Cambridge Studio with the development of their baby. It could so easily have gone wrong, but Studio Cambridge have done an absolutely sterling job with Media Molecule's vision. It's just staggering how close LittleBigPlanet PSP is to the PlayStation 3 version. The physics, animation and art are all in place, rebuilding the papercraft world that made the home console's LittleBigPlanet such a huge hit. It really is a loving recreation, and one that's going to draw you into the LittleBigPlanet franchise all over again.
LittleBigPlanet on Playstation 3 wasn't commended enough for its audio. Fact is, it should have been. While there are notable omissions from LittleBigPlanet PSP's soundtrack, there are enough catchy newcomers to have you tearing your hair out long after putting the game down. These songs stick. For a long, long time. Matching the whimsical charm found elsewhere, Stephen Fry is on hand to narrate the game with some awesomely British one-liners. As Fry himself would say, the voice work makes you feel all warm and snug as a rug in a fuzzy-woo.
LittleBigPlanet PSP includes all the features players have come to expect from the franchise. Sticker collection, level building and a fantastic whimsical charm. The single player campaign will take roughly five hours to complete, but those who've played LittleBigPlanet on PlayStation 3 will know that the replay value lies in the community. Dare we describe LittleBigPlanet PSP's level design as more inventive than its PlayStation 3 counterpart? There are a lot more puzzles in LittleBigPlanet PSP's campaign, alongside more 'set piece' scenarios. Of course, all of the game's levels can be completely created in the My Moon section, which is absolutely inspiring.
We have to admit, with a semblance of cynicism, that when we heard LittleBigPlanet was coming to the PSP we thought it would just be a single player campaign based on the mechanics of the universe. We were wrong. LittleBigPlanet PSP features all the tools of the PlayStation 3 game, allowing you to create levels and objects on the move. You can then, of course, share levels online (or via adHoc) and test out other people's work. It still takes major commitment to create a good, functioning level, but if that's your thing, LittleBigPlanet PSP is going to let you do some of that work on the train. Think about it.
Occasionally mechanics are introduced that aren't necessarily suited to the game's capabilities. For example, one level has you in control of a magic carpet which is, well, a nightmare to control. The design is inviting and clever, but the execution can be frustrating. These moments pop up now and again during the campaign, and will cause the odd "naughty naughty" to sour the air around you.
If you don't like LittleBigPlanet, nothing here is going to change your mind. The controls are slightly less floaty and the checkpoints are infinite (making the game a smidgen less frustrating than on PlayStation 3), but, hey, it's still totally LittleBigPlanet. We're confident in describing LittleBigPlanet PSP as the best PlayStation Portable game of 2009.