Review: LittleBigPlanet 2 PlayStation Move Pack

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When LittleBigPlanet 2 first came out, the PlayStation Move compatibility label on the box cover was kind of misleading. Scratch that — it was borderline false advertising. Technically, Sony got away with it because the Prehistoric Moves tech demo level pack was included on the disc. But aside from that, Move was not supported in the actual game. Now, over half a year later, Media Molecule makes the label legit with a free PS Move compatibility update and a full-on DLC expansion with loads of fun new motion control toys for Sackboys and Sackgirs the world over to play with.

First, let me reiterate something I just said: Move support for the base game is a completely free upgrade for all users. A preparatory update was released in early September, and with that update full Move controls were introduced to the existing LittleBigPlanet 2 story missions and community levels. This base functionality enables the use of a Move and Navigation controller combo, with the Move used to manipulate Sackboy’s head movements and place stickers from the Popit with point-and-click ease.

The actual Move Pack, priced at $9.99, augments the motion control experience and opens up new ways for players to create and interact with the game. The bulk of the Move Pack content is dedicated to a brand new mini-campaign called ‘The Rise of the Cakeling,’ a delectably charming yarn about a cake that turns into a supervillain and cake-naps various Sackfolk from Craftworld. This silly tale spans six levels and two story scenes, a tiny but incredibly tasty DLC add-on cake that takes between one and two hours to eat and digest on the first serving.

If that stomach of yours is still grumbling, you can gorge yourself further on Ace level runs and collectible hunting (with new Trophies to earn), in addition to seven Move-powered mini-games offering a sampler tray portion of the game’s newfound motion control capabilities. There’s a color-matching puzzle game based around fruit jams; a Marble Madness meets Super Monkey Ball level that involves tilting the Move to guide a ball through a maze; a neat series of Rube Goldbergian puzzles that involve plotting out planks, springs, and conveyor belts to create a path that will safely lead a ball into a cup; and clever LBP variants of tower defense and Lemmings.

Beyond the story, the real reason to play through ‘Rise of the Cakeling’ is to become acquainted with the Brain Crane, an inventive new gadget that allows Sackboy to telepathically grab and manipulate objects within the environment. With a Move controller in one hand – a Navigation goes in the other to handle basic movements – you point at the desired object and grab hold with the trigger button, proceeding to crank levers, fling items or carry them overhead, or lift, lower or rotate platforms into position, all with intuitive, effortless hand gestures.

The Brain Crane deftly expands the core platforming with subtle motion control tricks that make sense without feeling tacked-on or gimmicky. Death-defying platforming sequences are made even deadlier, as you quickly dash Sackboy away from danger while simultaneously lifting and rotating obstacles to clear the way ahead. Exploration is also made more interactive and immersive, as seen in a level which takes place in a dark cave, with a transportable glow bug providing the only source of light.

LittleBigPlanet 2’s Move Pack has plenty to offer creators as well. (Check out this page for a full list of the stickers, costumes, materials and other included goodies.) I’m not big into the creation side myself – I wasn’t blessed with the artistic gene or a very creative imagination – but those who are will find impressive new tools at their disposal. The Paint Tool, for example, turns the Move into a digital paint brush you can use to create custom stickers and textures. The Motion Recorder is even cooler. It allows you to record hand movements and turn them into animation paths for objects to follow within a scene, inching the game ever closer to true digital puppetry.

One small caveat to using Move while creating levels, though, is that you can’t use it by itself. When attempting to enter create mode, a message pops up prompting the user to connect a wireless controller, otherwise certain features will be disabled. Sure enough, when I continued with just my Move and Nav and pulled open the Popit, the Goodies Bag, Popit Cursor, and Tools Bag were grayed out.

This sure isn’t stopping the community from making some great LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Move experiences though, and an additional filter option is in place to narrow the search effort for all the custom Move levels that are flowing in around the clock. Light gun games and early demo levels for full first-person shooters seem to be the most popular user creations, and those that I have tried have been universally successful. I’ve also stumbled upon a solid recreation of Fruit Ninja and a silly sheep shearing game that I enjoyed way more than I probably should have, but my favorite level so far has been “Roll roll! My Little Sack-Ball” by user ART-IN-HEART. The objective is to roll a squishy, almost LocoRoco-esque ball through the stage using a jack-in-the-box to launch up to high ledges and into switches. This is done by rolling into the box, tilting the Move to set a launch angle, and then rotating the Move to crank the handle and set the spring power. Clever uses of the Move like this show that there is tons of potential for motion control in LittleBigPlanet 2.

And that is the amazing thing about the Move Pack. The possibilities within LittleBigPlanet 2 already seemed endless, and now with full motion control support there really is no limit to what players can create and share with their fellow Sackpals.

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Pros:
+ New gadgets and tools expand level creation possibilities even further
+ Fun Rise of the Cakeling story pack and mini-games
+ Purposeful motion control implementation, not gimmicky
+ Base Move functionality is completely free

Cons:
– Certain creation tools are deactivated when using only Move and Nav controllers

Game Info:
Platform: PS3 via PSN
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: 9/13/2011
Genre: Downloadable Content
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-4
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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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!