LittleBigPlanet has been transformed from the PS3 instant classic into a portable version for the PSP, keeping its attitude, level creation, and sharing intact. How well does the game translate onto a handheld?
The transition from high-powered home console to low-powered handheld could have been a disaster, but I’m happy to say that LittleBigPlanet arrives on the PSP mostly intact. Multiplayer has been mysteriously tossed aside, however the excellent level editor and sharing options remain. The LBP community for the PSP is still quite small, but I think over time it will grow just as its console brethren did. This still feels every bit like LBP, and if you have played the PS3 version you will be able to jump right in without any instruction whatsoever. Folks new to the LBP world will need a couple of minutes to get acclimated with the timing and jump distance, but they should be able to pick it up very quickly.
Graphically this game ranges from bland to amazing, as shown by the two screenshots in this article. While obviously not as detailed as the PS3 version, you will still find yourself noticing little tidbits of deep detail. Animation is still super smooth, and the useless but fun emotion selections are present as well. You can still see the individual stitching on your sackboy, although you need to look closely. Backgrounds aren’t as detailed, yet they exude just as much personality as the PS3 version. Being locked into the smaller screen can make some larger and more complicated puzzles unfeasible, but you can still think up some super tricky stuff that works well on the portable platform. The music is about what you would expect from LBP, and ranges from catchy to earthy to annoying.
Unfortunately, the control scheme hasn’t fared as well as the graphics have. Precision platforming and motion with the analog nub on the PSP can be frustrating at times, causing you to miss otherwise easy jumps. Also, your sackboy will sometimes get stuck on ledges or scenery, usually to the point where you only hope of freedom is to move the analog nub back and forth while mashing the jump button or just blowing up your sackboy. This wasn’t a constant problem, but always happened at least once per gameplay session for me. Sometimes it is also a bit unclear whether a path or object is in the foreground or background, but I think this may be a symptom of the smaller screen rather than depth perception issues with the game.
The single-player campaign that is included is quite short, although it is highly entertaining. None of the included levels are overly difficult, but they do present some good ideas when it comes to making your own levels. The objectives are interesting and fun, and the thought of what you may encounter next is enough on its own to make you want to play more. Unlocking new items for the level editor by playing through the included campaign also acts as a carrot on a stick, enticing you to explore the included levels more thoroughly.
Overall, LittleBigPlanet has made the transition from console to handheld very well. It has some minor issues, but this is a must-have for PSP owners.