What is Little Big Planet 3?
Little Big Planet 3 is a charming, craft themed platform game that bundles both a full story driven adventure, and a powerful creation mode that lets you make your very own levels. Essentially a four player, side scrolling platformer, players leap gaps and use power ups to solve simple puzzles, avoid enemies and collect 'prize bubbles', which contain stickers, objects and scenery. These bits and bobs can then be used in the game's create mode to make your own levels, which can be uploaded online, and played by Little Big Planet players all over the world.
With a homemade, hand-stitched style, Little Big Planet 3 sees players venture into the land of Bunkum, on a quest to restore the world's lost heroes - Oddsock, Toggle and Swoop. With an evil group known as the Titans stifling the world's creativity, led by a man with a kitchen timer for a hat and the voice of Hugh Laurie, it's up to you to team up with your friends and family in four player, same console co-op (or take on the challenge on your own if you like), and restore imagination to the world.
How do you play Little Big Planet 3?
Little Big Planet 3 is a 2D platformer, where players run, jump and dodge their way through obstacle course-like stages, solving simple puzzles, searching for collectibles and scouring secret areas. For his latest adventure, returning protagonist Sackboy has a whole host of new power-ups to play with here, each of which will come into their own when it comes to figuring out puzzles - from wind guns to hover boots to a teleporting Blink Ball hat that lets you teleport from one place to the next by firing balls at it. Each of the new characters has their own strengths, skills and separate levels to play through too. Oddsock (a dog/sock like creature) runs fast and can leap up walls, Toggle (a rotund sack guy) can switch from big to small, leading to all sorts of weight-related puzzles, while Swoop (the bird) can take to the skies and carry objects (or even Sack people) short distances to solve puzzles.
Given the game's emphasis on creativity, the create mode is as big an attraction as the story mode here, giving you the chance to let your imagination run wild. With the freedom to create your own levels, challenges, and even entire games, with a huge array of options available, this is one of the most powerful, and easiest to use level editors in existence - something that's bound to go down a treat with older children who are even slightly creative. And for those that aren't so much, Little Big Planet 3 has an online repository of over 7 million levels (at the time of writing) and growing, created by scores of other Little Big Planet players that you can download and play, completely free of charge. Offering more replay value than any other game, Little Big Planet 3 is one of the few games you can never really get bored of, as every time you turn it on, here'll be something new for you to discover.
How easy is Little Big Planet 3 to pick up and play?
With its emphasis on lighthearted multiplayer fun for everyone, Little Big Planet 3 is a pretty easy game to get into, and tends to be fairly forgiving. There's no pixel perfect jumps to contend with, and even the 'puzzles' tend to mostly revolve around pressing a button, pulling a switch or pushing a block along to give you a step up to a higher platform. Occasional levels require you to keep running forwards to avoid a pursuing enemy, or involve some more complex leaps to take out a boss, although they're relatively few and far between.
But mess up a jump, lose to a boss or land in some lava one too many times and you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Rather than having a set number of lives in which to complete each stage, your lives instead replenish after each checkpoint - but as a slight "gotcha", your lives are shared between your entire team - which means just one player repeatedly botching up can cost your whole group. Running out of lives will force you to restart the whole level - but if you're playing in multiplayer, only one of your group needs to make it to the next 'section' to bring you all back to life and carry on your platforming romp.
Even the creation mode is more accessible than ever before. Although it's definitely aimed at the more experienced player, there's a range of extensive tutorials here, and a whole load of Popit Puzzle levels to play through, which take you through the basics of create mode one step at a time.
Even better, for the youngest of players, we should also note there's no real reading requirement here, as Little Big Planet 3 is fully voiced.
Much like its predecessors, Little Big Planet 3 is pretty clean - there's no gore, sex or bad language to be seen. Violence is also fairly minimal and cartoony, with you simply having to jump on an enemy's head, or redirect them into hazards to defeat them, at which point they simply disappear in a puff of blue smoke.
Perhaps the only thing parents should keep in mind about Little Big Planet 3 is the community aspect. With players around the world able to freely create, and upload levels to a central server, where anyone can access, download and play, there is a chance you may come across some unexpected mature content. On the plus side, the service is moderated, and with over 7 million levels (at the time of writing) available to download, the chances of coming across anything untoward are between slim and none.