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LittleBigPlanet 3 (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3) review: Choose your own adventure

LittleBigPlanet 3 is a paradise for creativity that provides an impressive array of tools and possibilities. Jeff Bakalar rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in.

Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Jeff Bakalar
3 min read

It's impossible not to get swept up in the comforting arts-and-crafts scrapbooking aesthetic that oozes from a LittleBigPlanet game. Its charm, wit and accessibility resonates with players of all ages.

LittleBigPlanet 3 (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3)

The Good

LittleBigPlanet 3 is an adorable puzzle-platformer with expertly crafted levels and a seemingly infinite number of creation tools. Its wholesome style is ultra-accessible and great for all ages, and gives you access to over 9 million user-created levels. I love the new characters, too.

The Bad

The game's loading times are occasionally sluggish. The graphical jump from PS3 isn't overly noticeable.

The Bottom Line

LittleBigPlanet 3 is a paradise for creativity that provides an impressive array of tools and possibilities. Its included adventure is fresh, and the new characters and items are a welcome evolution.

With its third iteration upon us, LittleBigPlanet is ready for its PlayStation 4 debut. Available on PS3 too, it's replete with the most content the series has ever offered. Not only does LBP3 have a shockingly robust set of level-creation tools, but it also lets players experience any of the 9 million and counting user-generated levels from all the previous games in the series.

Sumo Digital

Developed primarily by Sumo Digital, LBP3 is the first console version of the game without studio Media Molecule at the helm. Nevertheless, all of the controls and finesse of the series remain intact. Sure, there's some fine-tuning here and there, but even diehards will feel right at home.

Check out more LittleBigPlanet 3 coverage at GameSpot

So while there's plenty of familiarity between LBP3 and its direct ancestors, there's much that's fresh too. In the adventure that comes pre-created for you to play, LBP3 has a much more focused progression than in previous titles. Quests can begin to pile up though, so new to the game is "The Organisertron," a helpful pop-up list that manages your quests or objectives and can guide you to points of interest.

Sumo Digital

Of course LittleBigPlanet can be enjoyed alone, but LBP3 makes it more enticing to play with friends. In addition to the usual levels and side quests that require at least two players, for the first time LBP3 introduces new characters alongside Sackboy, our hero: Oddsock, a dog-like character who can jump off walls; Swoop, a flying sack; and Toggle, a sack person who can transform between a big lush or a tiny, speedy racer.

The adventure will have you unlock these three new sack characters through various expertly designed levels where you'll meet adorable secondary characters, all with their own loveable personalities. These levels are true works of art, with a wonderfully realized sense of style -- and great music.

Sumo Digital

Adventure mode also introduces a set of useable items that Sackboy can use in-game. These are accessible from the new Sackpocket item selection wheel and vary from a hairdryer that can suck or blow air, to a miner's helmet that can shoot out a warpable steel ball. These items add a layer of complexity to the puzzle-solving elements of the game and inject new life into co-op.

Sure, the adventure campaign represents a sizable chunk of gameplay -- especially if you go back and utilize unlockables -- but the true star of LittleBigPlanet 3 is its creation suite. There's likely not an idea that the game's creator can't replicate.

In addition to creating one-off levels, players can even design an entire adventure made up of multiple levels, side quests and more. LittleBigPlanet has a reputation of encouraging creativity, but LBP3 shifts that mantra into overdrive.

Sumo Digital

On the outside looking in, the amount to do and create in LBP3 seems overwhelming, and at times it is. You'll need hours just to wrap your head around the set of creation tools -- and that's a generous estimate.

Even if you can't quite piece together the highest community-rated level, there's a nonstop stream of amazing custom work coming from the game's loyal following. It's a great vessel for inspiration and it extends the game's replay value into the stratosphere.

CNET Verdict: The biggest little planet yet

LittleBigPlanet 3 is a paradise for creativity that provides an impressive array of tools and possibilities. Its pre-made adventure is fresh, and the new characters and items are welcome evolutions.

Check out more LittleBigPlanet 3 coverage at GameSpot

Sumo Digital