We recently had a chance to sit down and play an updated build of LittleBigPlanet. The latest build has all the bells and whistles of a complete game, and has us clamoring for the game even more than ever before. At the core of our latest hands-on experience was the game's "Story" mode, an adventure mode with pre-designed levels that challenge players to get to the end with the highest score possible.
The levels we played were quite varied. Players will navigate a globe, littered with icons that represent where each level was created. Already, we saw a map that featured dozens of levels -- an overwhelming amount of content has already been crafted during the game's painfully long development. The adventure mode is where the game will teach players the essentials of LittleBigPlanet: each level will demonstrate the possibilities of the game's incredible engine. Massive mechanical beasts, complex physics-based puzzles, and a number of fun playable gizmos can be found within each level. At the completion of these levels, players will unlock more and more things to use in their own creations.
We were surprised by how challenging each level can be. One level had us being chased by a contraption that threatened to steamroll us into oblivion. If the obstacles placed in front of us weren't enough of a hindrance, the creature shot out fiery balls of charcoal at the characters -- a single touch would char them to death. Yes, your critters can die -- and they'll die quite often!
Thankfully, death isn't too menacing in the game. Scattered through each level are respawn doors, which will burst open with a brand new copy of your fallen friend. The object of the game is to collect as many point orbs as possible, and the punishment for death is simply lost time. There are a number of ways to die in the levels we played: if it wasn't being burned alive, it was being crushed by a giant, rolling boulder. If not that, it was because we trailed behind the others, and the camera had already moved on without us. In these situations, a timer appears around an icon representing your character. If you don't return to the gameplay screen in time, your character will respawn at the next available respawning point.
It was a pleasant surprise to see how challenging, yet still accessible, the designed levels of LittleBigPlanet are. While we all wait patiently for the creation tools to become readily available, it's clear that the team at Media Molecule is trying to create as much original content as possible before shipping the game. Rest assured, it seems like the final retail product will be a rather substantial single and multiplayer offering -- even for those uninterested in creating and sharing their own levels. The limited amount of time we had with LittleBigPlanet has us begging for more. Let's hope a beta or demo comes to satiate us soon.