Preview: Create

Though the target audience for EA's just-announced puzzle/creation game, Create, would seem to skew younger, my take on it from a recent press event was that gamers of all types could find something to like. And don't write it off as "My First LittleBigPlanet" just yet. Create features entertaining puzzles powered by a robust customization engine.

Create's title screen is its opening level. I spent nearly a half hour on this stage (it actually looks like a theater), learning the ins and outs of the extensive customization tools while a producer tinkered with the big 'Create' letters -- reminiscent of Mario's interactive face at the opening of Mario 64. The actual game is a lot like World of Goo in that you build the components of a stage rather than play through them. The levels are designed on a 2D plane and task you with various objectives (get a coin to a particular part of the map, for example). To complete these objectives, you have a mixed bag of objects with which to assemble a Rube Goldberg-like contraption that sprawls across the level. Once you've completed your creation (or exhausted the level's item constraints), you press "Play" and watch what happens.
%Gallery-98649% Representatives of developer EA Bright Light harped on the quantity of usable objects in the game. While the scope didn't appear to be as endlessly imaginative as the Scribblenauts toolset, there was more than an adequate supply of geometric objects and ramps to mess with, and many more objects are said to be unlocked as you progress through the game. Though there won't be a way to scan in your own objects at launch, I was told that it's a possibility down the line; and Bright Light will support the game with downloadable objects packs (though not for the Wii version).

Despite the simplicity, there are elements of Create that intrigued me. The puzzles seemed interesting (if initially a bit too easy), and there's incentive to complete them skillfully, as better performances unlock more valuable objects. And though the aesthetics clearly hope to entertain a younger audience, the game's presentation is by no means unpalatable.


Aside from the pre-designed puzzles of the main campaign, there's a Creation mode, which could be an interesting outlet for artistic expression, even though I'm not sure that I personally would delve into it for hours on end. It gave me the impression of being approachable, while expansive enough to support players who dream big. In my brief time with Create, I was shown a lot of creations, but not a lot of uses for them. Sure, EA promises they can be shared online with friends, but how they actually engage your friends -- how they can be played -- has yet to be fully detailed.

Create can't avoid comparison to LittleBigPlanet -- and maybe it invites it -- but where LBP is an elemental game with creation tools, Create is a creation tool with game elements. Its scope is simplified, too, which might make it less intimidating (and ultimately less rewarding) than the best LBP has to offer. Still, Create has an interesting premise and an intriguing campaign mode. We'll see just how creative it gets when the title arrives this November.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.