LittleBigPlanet games have always been titles with endless possibilities. You have to look beyond what is given you on the disc or with the initial installation. What comes right away is only a taste of what’s to be. I’ve never been more glad of such a feature than ever in one of these installments, because it means Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop get their due in LittleBigPlanet 3.
Who are they? They’re the secondary heroes. Though, unfortunately, it feels more like they’re third or fourth rate heroes with the way LittleBigPlanet 3 is constructed. Shortly after the lovely Narrator, Stephen Fry, starts guiding Sackboy through the introduction, the adventurer meats Newton. Newton is voiced by the equally lovely Hugh Laurie, and claims he needs Sackboy’s assistance to keep the Titans in Bunkam from being let lose by Nana Pud.
Naturally, things happen. Titans appear. The Imagisphere is in danger. Sackboy can’t save everyone on his own. He must call upon the three legendary heroes Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop, to gain their assistance in the fight again. This means, for the first time, exploring little hub-worlds like the Tanglewood to reach the levels for obtaining each legendary hero’s lost marbles or even complete supplemental side-quest levels for other NPCs. The result is something that feels more cohesive and connected, raather than going from one level immediately into another.
The Adventure is something people will want to power through as quickly as possible, as Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop are lovely. Each plays differently within the game. Oddsock is a character for speedrunners, a dog-like creature which runs super fast, can walljump, and move through any situation with the greatest agility. Toggle toggles from a mini-me version that is fast, light, and jumps high to a heavier, slower, stronger force. He’s more of a puzzle solver. Swoop flies and can use his feet to grab and carry things, like other characters. Each one has levels and a boss fight tailored to their special abilities, designed to challenge people and make them see their worth.
The problem is, outside of these specific levels and fights, which mostly appear only in the region they are stowed away, are the only times someone gets to use Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop. A character gate must be present in an area to swap, and most of the 50-odd base levels don’t have one. Which doesn’t really matter much anyway, espeically in a two player game, because every person has to be whatever character is set for that level. If it’s an Oddsock level, everyone’s Oddsock. Most often, everyone is Sackboy.
I suppose I understand why LittleBigPlanet 3 is the way it is. Sackboy is the most versatile of the characters. Especially since he now has a Sack Pocket in which power ups like the sucking and blowing Pumpinator, teleporting Blink Ball, or one custom made by players for specific levels. The majority of the levels were created with him in mind and honestly? Characters like Oddsock and Swoop wouldn’t be able to get through them alone. Toggle might, since he is essentially a Sackboy with the ability to grow and shrink.
This predicament left me wishing Sumo Digital had thought ahead and considered this prospect, perhaps taking care to create a handful of 10 or so levels which could have been completed by any of the four characters. It would have been a lot of extra work to ensure each area had a way for each of the four heroes to complete it, but I believe people would have greatly appreciated it.
Just as I’m sure many will appreciate the enhanced difficulty, as LittleBigPlanet 3 is more challenging than its predecessors. There was this dragon level in the Ziggurat I had to walk away from, because the timing was so frustrating. I considered going back to take a screenshot, but it brought up too many bad memories.
My sadness over the secondary heroes’ neglect is why I was delaying writing this article up. I wanted to see if people were already flocking to create custom levels. Especially since LittleBigPlanet 3 is the most welcoming installment when it comes to making your own worlds. I’m still not very good at it, but I believe this installment is the first that will make me try. Partially, because I want Oddsock, Toggle, and Swoop to get more levels like they deserve, but also because Sumo Digital made it easier to learn.
Unfortunately, it’s still early days in the LittleBigPlanet 3 world. Which means there aren’t a huge number of Community levels to choose from yet—by which I mean there aren’t a large number made exclusively for the third game, as the previous Community levels are now available. There just aren’t many only for LittleBigPlanet 3. Or, maybe there are and they’re hiding. I can’t tell. There’s no option to search by installment. There are categories like Team Picks, Newest Levels, Busiest, Most Hearted, and so on, but I couldn’t find a way to look for Community levels only for this particular game.
Still, I’m confident the Community section will be flooded with new levels over the next month for one simple reason: when you boot up LittleBigPlanet 3, you can start with the Adventure or more stories, head to the Community, or go to the Popit Puzzles. Although it seems like a more puzzle-based version of the LittleBigPlanet formula, Popit Puzzles are a creation tool tutorial in disguise. You learn how to make items, arrange things in the world, and create from LittleBigPlanet 2‘s Larry Da Vinci, all under the guise of solving puzzles to get more stickers and points. It was delightful and while I normally hate extended tutorials, I loved the Popit Puzzles.
As this playtest draws to a close, let’s talk about bugs. I feel like I have to say LittleBigPlanet 3 has issues, even though I’ve only experienced a fraction of them. The only that caused any major irritation was found in one of the Manglewood levels. I twice encountered an enemy that didn’t die despite my having popped it’s bubble, and had to exit and restart the level three times. The third time, it really died and didn’t live on as a zombie. Another time, I beat the Manglewood boss as Oddsock, and gained the right to move on to the Ziggurat. I turned off my PS4 to resume my normal life. When I came back, the game didn’t recognize I had beaten that boss, so I had to replay it, even though it did know I’d already earned all the stickers from the fight.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is a good game. I genuinely believe every PS4 owner will eventually want to make it part of their library because of the opportunity it brings. However, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if some decided to wait a month, perhaps until the holidays are in full swing, to get it. The community will still be as active as it is now, plus you’ll have the added benefit of Community levels that use the new heroes to the best of their abilities.