Exploring LittleBigPlanet Game of the Year Edition’s 18 Bonus Levels

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LittleBigPlanetthe game that keeps on giving – continues its giving ways this week with the new Game of the Year Edition re-release packed with over $30 of bonus content, including costume, sticker and level packs previously released as paid DLC, an invite to the ModNation Racers beta (I’ll post impressions on this later), and 18 exclusive bonus levels. Needless to say, if you have yet to jump on the LBP bandwagon, now’s the time to do it — $60 gets you the full original game and all of these bonuses. And I can’t think of a better companion for new PS3 slim owners than Sackboy!

But what about existing LittleBigPlanet players, creators and sharers who adopted Sackboy as their own from the very beginning – are the 18 bonus levels worth re-buying the game for? Before answering that I suppose I should probably talk about the levels first. Here we go!

Until the Cows Come Home (By geosautus): Hop inside a mechanical cow disguise, a la the mechanical rhino scene in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and discover why cows have been disappearing from the farm and where they are going in this quirky platform level. Nothing too complex, but it’s good fun. You’ll have to play to see where the cows have gone off too though…

The Steampunk Samurai (By gevurah22): Based solely on style, this level is one of the best of the bunch. The designer did a stellar job creating a cool steampunk samurai western vibe, and the level has good variety to it. You start out platforming, but around halfway through you hop into a flying samurai mech suit and the level turns into sort of a side-scrolling shooter.

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Tales of the Little Big Crystal (By X-NOBODY-X): The “eggy folks” are under attack by the Dark Dragon and you are the fabled “chosen one” destined to collect powerful crystals and slay the mighty beast. This level is designed well and balances platforming and puzzles nicely. However, it is one of the longer stages of the 18, perhaps a tad too long. The pacing bogs down some towards the end.

Bunnies in Space (By Foofles): This is the type of level I enjoy most in LittleBigPlanet. It’s a fast-paced, run-jump-and-shoot mission set aboard a space station teeming with mechanical rabbits looking to beat the stuffing out of poor little Sackboy. I hope you’re a crack shot with the Paintinator!

Beavercows’ Insomnia (By Blorf): Mama and Papa Beavercow can’t get Baby Beavercow to stop crying and go to sleep, but of course Sackboy can help! Hop inside a special machine capable of soothing the baby to sleep and navigate the spikes, rotating gears, and springs within to see if you can figure out how to get the device working. Multiple paths make this a level worth replaying multiple times to find the true solution. It’s a tricky level too with plenty of traps to trip you up along the way. Very inventive!

Mighty Mite LBP8 Little Big Mountain Mission (By rz22g): This level seems like more of a tech demo for a tank than a complete level. There are some cool moments throughout the level, but for the most part I thought it was a bit too frustrating how easily the tank flips over if you push forward even a hair too fast. The design of the Mighty Mite LBP8 Tank itself is excellent, though. Inside the cockpit are different switches to move forward and backward, aim the cannon up and down, fire rockets and standard shells, and there’s even a mounted machine gun on the top. The look of the tread as the tank rolls along is cool too, though again, the physics are a bit too bouncy.

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Stone (By o-tera): I didn’t quite get this stage. The description prepares you to explore this epic world of stone, yet the level just has you bounding through a black, dimly-lit backdrop. The design is great and the pacing is brisk, but the whole “stone” theme seemed lacking.

In Search (By Lokno): Think you can capture the elusive Denim Snow Rabbit? Now’s your chance to prove it! This level begins with you parachuting out of a blimp to the mountainside below. From there you must explore the mountain’s caves, capture the rabbit and drag it back to a cage on your blimp. Red gems are hidden throughout as well, and for each one you find you open a crate with a bonus item at the end. This was one of my favs!

Tube Racer 2 (By xingyi): I recall playing through the original Tube Racer level, so the sequel didn’t have too many surprises for me. It’s a neat race level set to the MGS VR mission aesthetic, and there’s a cool boss battle chase at the end. But overall I’ve played quite a few other community levels similar to this.

Prism Panic (By Aardsy): Mondrian, circuit boards and an effect the creator calls “digital glass” collide in this unique and challenging platforming level. Avoid the deadly fire and electrical pitfalls to bring light back to the land of Prism.

Watermill Valley (By jump_button): I enjoyed a couple other levels a little more than this one, but of them all I do think Watermill Valley was designed with the most balance and attention to detail. The bright, saturated visual style is in stark contrast to all the other levels and the background waterfalls look great. Traversing the wooden watermills is a good challenge, but never overly so, and there are some really well thought out environmental puzzles to solve.

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Evil Duckies! (By AchillesPDX): Fans of LBP mini-game challenges will get a kick out of this level. Strap on the Paintinator and see how long you can survive flaming evil duckies raining down from the sky. Earn points for every ducky you shoot, and for every 20 seconds you avoid death you earn an extra spin on the “Double or Nothing” wheel at stage end. Spin the wheel and risk losing all your points for double the score, or forfeit your spins and keep the score you earned.

The Cat Burglar (By candyjunky): Oh noes! The crazy cat lady has captured all of the town’s cats, you have to save them. If you are brave enough, march into the cat ladies house, take her down (watch out for those flying hair pins of death!), steal her key and set all those cute, cuddly felines free. No challenge to contend with here, but it’s so adorable you won’t really care.

The Great Gratuitous Raid of Goblin-Berg! (By thekillermiller): This is my favorite level of the bunch. You are Sackboy the Brave on a quest to hack up some goblins in Goblin-Berg. The wizard Great Grandalf helps you along the way, providing hints on how to proceed and summoning objects to aid your quest, such as a battering ram to knock down a wall and bats you can use to traverse large gaps. At one point you also hop aboard a ship and battle a multi-eyed octopus creature. I had a blast raiding Goblin-Berg and loved the design of the goblins and their castle.

PANDAmonium (By Cstrfrk): I’m an animal lover, so I really got into this level. It’s a fun romp through nature hopping along the beaks of cranes to cross a river and delving into a dark cave lit up by fireflies, all to reach the panda celebration at the end. The animals, especially the pandas of course, are really cute and cartoony, and the backgrounds are beautifully constructed.

The Tumblerizer (By Nuclearfish): The Tumblerizer is another mini-game. You hop inside a rotating maze and collect as many points as you can without getting crushed, burned or electrocuted. Decent fun, but I’ve seen plenty of these spinning maze contraptions before.

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Cereal Island (By TangoCharlieESQ): Evil Emperor Milk must be stopped. He’s kidnapping all the children of Cereal Isle and turning them into cereal box toys! Sackboy knows what it’s like to be a cereal box toy himself – the stage starts with you being dumped out of a box of Crazy Snacky Bits into a bowl sailing on a sea of milk – and doesn’t want the kids to suffer the same fate. Quirky and fun, just the way a LBP level should be!

TAKLAMAKAN ‘Go and never come back’ (By AntonioLadrillo): You must brace the scorching heat of the Taklamakan desert and confront the God of Wind in this creative level. The basic platforming design is laid out in a smart, balanced way that keeps you hopping along at a good pace. Collectibles are in abundance in this one too, probably the most of any of the levels.

Overall, the 18 bonus levels are tremendous fun and show off some of the top create and share talent the LBP community has to offer – it’s great to see them rewarded for their efforts too!

But I come back to the initial question I proposed: are the 18 bonus levels worth re-buying the game for? In most cases, probably not. $60 is a lot to fork out, especially if you’ve already purchased the included DLC. In my case, I got the most out of the GotY collection because the MGS level pack was the only DLC I’d purchased previously, so everything else was new for me.

But if you are a true LBP fan I think it would be worth your while to pawn off your old original copy and upgrade to the Game of the Year Edition. I’ve spent a good five hours savoring these levels so far and know I will be going back to replay many of them for 100% completion, especially personal favs like Watermill Valley, The Great Gratuitous Raid of Goblin-Berg! and PANDAmonium.

Of course, in a perfect world it’d be nice of Sony and Media Molecule do the right thing and put these levels into a separate DLC pack. Then everyone would be happy!

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!