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'LittleBigPlanet 2' childish, but creative

“LittleBigPlanet 2” Pitchforks: 4 out of 5 Sony Release date: Jan. 18

In 2008, Sony released the original “LittleBigPlanet” with a simple tagline: “Play. Create. Share.” This year’s follow-up, “LittleBigPlanet 2,” fulfills the promise of that original idea, but fails to solve all of the previous game's issues.

The game consists of 30 levels that follow the exploits of Sackboy, a boy made of burlap, in a battle against the Negativitron. The enemy is basically a giant vacuum cleaner bent on destroying Sackboy’s home, a place known as Craftworld. The story is childish at best and won’t give you any reason to keep playing, but the cartoon-like feel of the game makes it all work.

In contrast, the gameplay really shines — the majority of which plays out like a 2D platforming game. The player must guide Sackboy through different obstacles to get him from point A to point B, grabbing score bubbles and bonus items along the way for extra points.

Up to four players can jump in at a time. It works much like Super Mario Bros., but with far more style.

Breaking up the standard platforming sections are the occasional 2D shooters. Like old arcade games, these are a lot of fun and a welcome break from the standard game play.

Level design is superb as well. Each world has its own distinct look and feel, while also presenting new challenges to the player.

The real draw of “LittleBigPlanet 2” is the creation aspect of the game. The creation tools allow you to modify Sackboy in many ways, from simply giving him a hat to changing the material he is made of.

The tools also allow you to create your own levels, an ability that was present for the original game as well. Skilled players have created millions of very impressive levels for the original game that can still be played in “LittleBigPlanet 2.”

The level-design tools have been totally re-done, but are still daunting to most players. The game’s biggest problem is that most people will have a hard time getting the hang of these tools. The system is incredibly complex and most are going to give up on creating levels because of this.

Despite the issues with the story mode and difficult creation tools, this $60 game boasts three million user-generated levels, with plenty more to come. For a gamer strapped for cash, this is a must buy.

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