My review of “LittleBigPlanet 2″ is in Friday’s paper and went up on this blog on Thursday. In the course of reviewing the game, I spent a few hours playing community-created levels. Here are five of my favorites. In general, I think the levels Media Molecule recommends are a good place to start with community levels. The 100-plus levels selected by Media Molecule contain a ton of attempts at re-creating levels or gameplay from other popular video games. Though I can appreciate the work that goes into, say, re-creating the first dungeon from “The Legend of Zelda,” I have more respect for originality. Without further ado, here’s what I’m liking:
“Clockworx 2″ by Nuclearfish: This survival challenge (video above) was easily the best user-created level I tried. Nuclearfish puts your Sackboy in the middle of a spinning wheel whose inside is lined with jump pads and hazards. The longer you can bounce around in between the jump pads without being burned or electrocuted, the higher your score. Green tiles and power-ups help boost your score.
“LittleBigPrius” by Littlebigpartner: Yes, “LittleBigPrius” is a partnership between Sony and Toyota and is essentially a paid advertisement. But it’s also a challenge to creative players to make more Prius-themed levels in an attempt to win prizes. The level begins with some light platform jumping before putting Sackboy behind the wheel of a Prius for a drive through some suburban streets. Once you finish the level, you unlock several items you can use to create Prius-themed levels for a contest. The best levels have a chance to win a 46-inch Bravia 3D TV from Sony, or one of several PlayStation Move bundles. I’m still not sold on the whole advergame concept, but if Toyota is going to have a contest that rewards “LBPers” creativity, the carmaker has definitely evolved from its horrid free “Yaris” Xbox Live Arcade game a few years back. Details on the “LittleBigPrius” contest can be found over at the PlayStation blog.
“Rogue Panda Rescue” by Jackofcourse: This madcap level has you chasing around Sackbots dressed up as pandas. I played this online with a few other folks and had a lot of fun trying to nab the bears with Sackboy’s grappling hook. By the end of the level, I hadn’t caught nearly all the pandas I saw, making me think there’s more depth to the level than meets the eye.
“Blast Radius” by Johnee: This game, made by a Media Molecule employee, was a dual-stick, arcade-style shooter. You use the left thumbstick to fly a spaceship around and the right stick to fire in any direction, a la “Robotron: 2084″ or “Geometry Wars.” You can also toggle between several different types of weapons.
“Pinball realistic lbp2, flipper realiste.one player” by Gonflette: I played a handful of pinball-type community levels, and this was the best one I ran across. Designing pinball, a vertical game, to work on a typical 16:9 high-definition TV is a tough chore, and most of the pinball games I tried were too fast-moving and tough to get the hang of. “Pinball realistic” — I assume English isn’t Gonflette’s first language — slowed down the ball physics, which made having to react to a scrolling viewpoint as the ball shot up and down the table easier. There were a couple of times when my ball glitched, which was frustrating, but this felt like something Gonflette can work on and didn’t ruin my enjoyment. In general, the pinball tables I played felt like they could’ve used more ways to score. There was a lot of vacant real estate on each board. Whether this is because of middling design so far or limitations of “LBP2′s” creation tools is a mystery to me, though.