Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: SCEE Studio Cambridge
It's hard to believe that just over a year after LittleBigPlanet impressed virtually everyone on the PlayStation 3, it's arrived on the PSP. The game hasn't made the transition without a few sacrifices though and I think it's fair to say that if you have the option of going for the PlayStation 3 you'd be wise to do so. That said, the sacrifices that have been made can easily be tolerated to enable PSP gamers the chance to experience the unique experience that was LittleBigPlanet.
It has to be said that the game has managed to capture the essence of the PS3 version rather nicely but this is far from being a straight port of that game and some adjustments have been made to tailor the experience to the PSP. The controls are more forgiving than they were on the original version which is understandable given how clumsy the analogue stick (or nub if you prefer) is. You now have unlimited lives during a level with the only penalty for messing up being that you'll lose points from your total score. This is a better way of going about things particularly as the original LittleBigPlanet never featured particularly tight controls for a platform game and at times could be a little frustrating.
The level editor has been included and you can create your own stylish levels, if you have the patience to do so. You'll need quite a lot of patience actually as it can be rather cumbersome and time consuming to create levels that work well. If you don't have the time or patience, you'll be able to benefit from the work of others as you can download the custom levels that others have created. The levels in the game's story mode are all new so even if you've played the original version you won't feel like you're simply playing through the same game all over again which is impressive.
As we said at the top of this review, there have been some sacrifices made in order to bring LittleBigPlanet to the PSP. By far the biggest sacrifice is the removal of the multiplayer game. Whilst this is disappointing it's certainly not something that should prevent you from enjoying the game should you not have access to the PS3 version. It's more disappointing that the story mode is shorter and the levels contained in the mode are shorter than those found in the PS3 version. Even here though it's difficult to be too critical, especially as this is something that is only noticeable if you have played the PS3 version.
Whilst you wouldn't expect LittleBigPlanet to look as good as the PlayStation 3 version, it has to be said that the PSP version looks great. Sackboy is just as charming as ever but it's the quality of the textures and the physics modelling in the game that really stand out. The PSP version does look a lot more aliased however. The biggest complaint has to be with the load times which can be annoyingly long (at least they are on our launch model PSP). The visuals can also be on the blurry side although this may be less of a problem if you're using the PSP 3000 or PSP Go that come with better quality screens.
LittleBigPlanet does offer subtitles but once again they are disabled by default, so you'll want to visit the options menu as soon as possible to enable them. Once you've enabled the subtitles you'll have access to all of the tutorial messages which introduce you to the game's various concepts and modes. In the game's story modes there will be characters who you'll need to speak to. Their comments are shown in speech bubbles and you can read the text at your own pace as you need to press a button to move the dialogue forward. In fact the game is just as deaf gamer friendly as the PS3 version which means deaf gamers won't have any real problems with the game, once the subtitles are enabled.
I was surprised when I learned that LittleBigPlanet was coming to the PSP. I feared that too much of the experience might not make the transition but the end result has proved to be rather impressive. Yes it's a shame that the multiplayer component has been removed and the load times can be a real pain. However, whilst the story mode is short, it's very enjoyable and the inclusion of a level creator means that even if you don't want to create your own levels, you'll be able to benefit from the creative skills of others. On the whole I don't think it's quite as amazing as the PlayStation 3 version but for those who only have access to a PSP, it's certainly a great way to experience what LittleBigPlanet is about.