Sackboy rides a giant plush rabbit in a scene from 'LittleBigPlanet 2.'

Sackboy rides a giant plush rabbit in a scene from 'LittleBigPlanet 2.' (Sony)

Sackboy - at left in his undressed state - can be equipped in a number of different customizable outfits.

Sackboy - at left in his undressed state - can be equipped in a number of different customizable outfits. (Sony)

Sackboy is awesome. He’s clever, athletic and incredibly adorable. You know he has all the Sackbabes wrapped around his little finger.

Most importantly, he’s back with a sack full of fun in “LittleBigPlanet 2,” an E-rated PlayStation 3 game developed by Media Molecule for Sony.

At its most basic, “LittleBigPlanet 2” is a platforming game where you guide Sackboy as he runs, leaps, swings and climbs through a series of obstacles and puzzles. In the story mode, all of this activity helps you build an alliance that will save Craftworld from the evil Negativitron — a sort of mechanical serpent.

The action unfolds in more than 40 levels in six different lands, which offer a mystifying mix of themes, such as a Steampunk bakery and futuristic plush-toy factory. These levels are well designed, offering an incredible diversity of fun experiences and intriguing challenges — and a heavy dose of whimsy. I can’t imagine anyone getting bored during a visit to Craftworld.

In order to tackle these challenges, Sackboy gets some cool gadgets. The handy grappling hook allows him to swing across chasms or pull himself upward. The Grabinator allows him to pick up objects and throw them. And he gets to ride all sorts of weird plush animals.

In addition to puzzles, each level is filled with bubbles that Sackboy can pop to unlock stickers, materials, objects and clothing that can be used to customize his appearance or that of his Pod, which acts as a control center and home.

But giving Sackboy a new haircut or spicing up his Pod are just the beginning of the creative possibilities.

The original “LittleBigPlanet” let players build their own levels and post them online for others to share, resulting in more than 2.5 million so far. The second edition will let players create full-scale games as well as individual levels. Developers are expecting fans to use “LittleBigPlanet”’s powerful creation tools to make games that involve racing, flying, shooting, sports and, of course, puzzles. Players can create their own cut scenes and musical scores and program their own “Sackbots” to interact with players. Some pretty robust creations were available for download even before the game’s official launch.

You can also share the fun on many levels by joining online friends to complete the challenges or go head-to-head in certain competitions.

In addition to all this, the game offers 10 bonus levels that use the PlayStation Move motion-control system. In “Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves,” two players work together to guide Sackboy through his mission. One player controls Sackboy using the traditional PS3 controller while the other uses the Move wand to activate various gadgets and gizmos in his path. It’s a lot of fun — as long as you work with someone who plays well with others.

The graphics are superb. Even though all of the settings and characters are fanciful, they look downright realistic.

The controls are smooth and intuitive.

Overall, “LittleBigPlanet” delivers a delightful package — attractive, innovative, creative and fun. I’m sure all the Sackfolk will be thrilled.

Platform: PlayStation3


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