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LittleBigPlanet 2 Move Pack review: A brand new toy box

The LittleBigPlanet 2 Move Pack DLC (which is suitably, adorably subtitled Rise of the Cakeling) is the franchise's most gargantuan expansion, and could make a run for the most ambitious DLC release for any game ever released. Just as the core game sought to allow the use of a DualShock 3 for virtually any purpose, this expansion hopes to give players the same freedom with the PlayStation Move.

Media Molecule was successful in achieving that initial, lofty goal -- and once again, the Guildford-based studio has created an engine of infinite possibility for the Move controller. Any function you could devise for the remote is within reach, provided you've got the patience and cleverness to figure out how to invent it.

Gallery: LittleBigPlanet Playstation Move (Gamescom 2011) | 30 Photos

I explained most of those functions in my E3 preview -- the Movinator tool allows you to connect the various inputs of the Move (roll, tilt, yaw and the various buttons on the remote) to the Movers, Rotators and other components in your toolbox. If you've done any simple programming with the Controllinator, it won't be too difficult for you to grasp; the Stephen Fry-led tutorials only take about 15 minutes to run through.

Those tutorials also teach the best practices behind the Cursor tool, which allows you to customize the look and feel of the Move cursor while the remote is pointed at the screen, as well as the Motion Controller, which turns your objects into virtual puppets for the Move to control. The latter tool is indispensable for building cutscenes or animating characters with fluidity not afforded by the more mechanical Movers toolset.

These tools, alongside the countless new stickers, materials, objects, audio cues, songs and other errata, are used to create a new world for the LittleBigPlanet 2 campaign. It's a delightful, five-level tale about a sentient cake with terrifying telekinetic powers, complete with cinematics and minigames designed to show off the capabilities of the Move remote. It's even got its own, charm-your-pants off narrator to walk you through the pastry-filled plot.

Most of the levels require the clever application of the Brain Crane to be traversed -- it's a tool which grants your Sackboy the ability to manipulate grabbable objects within his field of vision. Puzzles using this new power-up start off fairly simple, but become manic by the chapter's conclusion, culminating in a boss fight which has you slingshooting a boss while simultaneously bouncing over his oncoming attacks.

That boss encounter is just one of the memorable moments from the levels provided which represent the zenith of the Move's potential. One bomb-throwing multiplayer game provided more hours of fun than I've had with any full-price Move games to hit store shelves, a fact which tickled my frugal sensibilities.

The infinite-ness of the new toolset isn't just restricted to mechanical operations -- players can now use Paint mode to create their own stickers, which they can then attach to Sticker Panels to create just about any art asset they can imagine. With even more esoteric know-how, they can attach those Panels to circuits on a Sequencer, and create full-blown cartoons, or animated characters or -- just, anything, man.

Even though my body lacks anything resembling an artistic bone, I got lost in the depth the Paint mode provides. To think that folks could curate their own traversable museums of hand-painted works of art is ... well, it's enough to remind me why I fell in love with this franchise in the first place.

As was the case in the core game, the best part of this expansion is hopping into Create mode and just messing around. Within a half-hour of madcap tinkering, I had created a magic wand which I could control with the Move controller, capable of blasting foes with psychedelic rainbow-balls of pure force. With another hour or two of fooling-around, I could have easily turned it into a fully-fledged mini-game, but the other possibilities offered by the expansion proved far too distracting.

In fact, they're handily winning over my attention from this review, leaving me to summarize: The LittleBigPlanet 2 Move Pack DLC is remarkable. It's a must-buy for anyone with the game and the Move controller, and might even justify a purchase of the latter if you possess enough fervor for the former. It might just be the killer app the hardware requires -- especially after the world's cleverest creators get their hands on it and whip up a few million more levels for you to devour.

This review is based on final code provided by Sony. LittleBigPlanet 2 Move Pack: Rise of the Cakeling is available on PlayStation Network for $9.99.

Note: Joystiq does not provide star ratings for downloadable content reviews with the understanding that the quality of the core game's experience is unchanged from the retail release to DLC add-ons;
see: LittleBigPlanet 2 review.

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