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LittleBigPlanet 3 Review

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Build me up, buttercup

★★★★

Sackboy is back, and he's brought friends. We don't just mean the three new characters joining in on this latest adventure – size-changing Toggle; superfast, wall-jumping Oddsock; and flying Swoop – but also developer Sumo Digital. The new team has taken the reigns of the physics-based platformer turned content creation suite from Media Molecule, but largely succeed in maintaining the magic of the series.

The three new characters joining add the biggest twist to the experience, and the one that feels the biggest departure from the formula Media Molecule laid out over previous games. Shifting between them (or ideally, playing with friends) delivers a whole new approach to the story mode's puzzles and narrative, which consists of the pals saving the planet Bunkum from the nefarious Newton and his Titans.

The allies' abilities factor in well for the creation mode though, with their pre-defined skills begging to be explored in game creations tailored to them – races for Oddsock, or a Flappy Bird clone for Swoop perhaps. Construction is given an amazing overhaul, too. Taking advantage of the greater power of the PS4, you can now experiment with 16 layers of depth (up from a paltry three) and there are literally hundreds of tools and techniques to play around with. It's actually quite daunting, especially if you're new to the series, but it's all well presented and you're never penalised for making mistakes.

One thing that irks after a while is the sheer cloying nature of the game, particularly Stephen Fry's overly quaint narration. It's excessive now, tipping over from charming to annoying; almost a caricature of twee Englishness. In both story and construction modes, it's also too scared to let go of your hand, with excessive tutorials – for a game so centred on letting you experiment and create, it's awfully loathe to let you actually do so.

A huge technological leap forward for the series, with an enjoyable (if short) story campaign and practically a full game engine to mess around with. Toning down the dialogue would have helped dramatically though.

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