Sony’s create-your-own-platformer series makes a strong impression for its next-gen debut.

One of Monday evening’s surprises was LittleBigPlanet 3‘s debut at Sony’s press briefing. Sure, it was only a matter of time before the PlayStation-exclusive series made its way to the PS4, so it wasn’t exactly a bombshell, but it was a pleasant little twist. LBP3 quickly shot up my E3 to-do list, and I jumped at the chance to get some co-op in at Sony’s booth today.

As the demo team at Sony’s press conference showed us, LittleBigPlanet 3 adds a few new sack characters to the mix who can do more than Sackboy’s standard running and jumping. There’s Oddsock, a dog-like little creature with the ability to wall jump; Toggle, who can become big and strong or small and mobile; and the bird-like Swoop, whose special ability is, not surprisingly, flying. That’s not to make Sackboy seem completely useless; he can use items, and LBP3 will be adding some to his roster.

I had a choice of characters for my demo and chose Oddsock. I’ve played the LittleBigPlanet series extensively, so I wanted to get a feel for one of the non-Sackboy characters. Two Sony reps and another member of the media grabbed controllers and took on the other characters, and together we made our way through the same level that was shown on Monday night. While the presenter at Sony’s presser had some trouble with the wall jumping, I found it easy and intuitive to make my way from wall to wall to reach collectables or advance in the level. Meanwhile, Toggle used his super strength to move obstacles or became small to weave through tiny paths, and Swoop flew through, occasionally carrying a Sackfriend.

I loved what I played, but I couldn’t help but wonder what the game was like with only one player, since it didn’t seem like Sackboy alone could have advanced on that particular level. I was told that the stage was specifically designed to show off all four characters at E3, and solo players won’t run into impassible obstacles-the right character will be automatically chosen for each level. Additionally, when creating stages, players can design them for any number or combination of characters. Two Swoops? An Oddsock and a Toggle? Four Sackboys? Dare to dream.

And for those of us not so talented in the level creation department, we’ll still have access to all existing community levels from LBP and its sequel in LittleBigPlanet 3. I’ve probably spent even more time playing user-created levels than the games’ campaigns, and there are always some true gems in there. You’ll only be able to use Sackboy in them, since that’s how they were designed, but that’s a small price to pay for having an impressive library of community content right off the bat.

Admittedly, I didn’t need much convincing, but after playing LittleBigPlanet 3, I’m sold. The Sumo Digital-developed game will be out in November 2014, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s not soon enough.


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