Play with everything
Once you've kitted out your Sackperson in a set of snappy threads, you're taken to a map of the world which will be familiar to fans of LittleBigPlanet on PlayStation 3. This is where you can jump into the Story Levels designed by the developer, Studio Cambridge.
These levels take in varied locations and scenarios such as the Australian outback and a mysterious Orient plagued by a troublesome dragon. Each stage is bursting with colour and imagination, and there are countless secret areas to seek out in search of extra stickers, clothing items and building materials.
LittleBigPlanet is as delightful to listen to as it is to look at. Each piece of music suits the theme of its level beautifully and the sound effects littered throughout often raise a smile, such as a series of piano notes playing a familiar tune as you climb a staircase to the night sky.
When playing a LittleBigPlanet level, much of the pleasure comes from noticing how its creator has gone about things and realising that those same tools are available to you. You'll notice switches, pistons and rods left here and there, holding everything together, and then you'll start to imagine the machinery making everything work and whirr in the background, just out of view.
The Story Levels are just the start: they are your inspiration for the world of creation waiting for you, one that is limited only by your imagination.
Create a masterpiece
LittleBigPlanet on PSP features a Create Mode almost identical to its PlayStation 3 counterpart. You have the same vast array of materials and tools with which to build your levels, contraptions and mini-games; a familiar and just as accessible control scheme; and the same creative power, only this time in the palms of your hands.
The Popit menu is your brush, palette and toolbox as you go about your creation. You can select from a huge range of building materials such as cardboard and metal and draw whichever shape necessary using the analog stick. Everything falls, rolls and acts as you would expect, and you can utilise a flexible set of tools, such as string, motor bolts and winches, to get everything moving and spinning.
Switches are also essential for creating interesting levels, because there's not much point in making a rocket-powered dog out of cardboard if it's going to fly off before you can grab the lead. Again, you have a range of switches at your disposal, such as basic two-way switches and magnetic switches, which only activate when a magnetic key of the same type comes within certain proximity.
Once you've got the hang of things and are ready to try something more advanced, you can tweak all of the tools and switches to your heart's content and try your hand at the more advanced tools, such as emitters, which let you conjure objects of your choosing out of thin air and at any point in your level.
Share the wealth
Once you've constructed your masterpiece and pored over every last piece of polystyrene, it's time to share it with the community. You'll need to be within range of a Wireless Internet connection and publishing levels is incredibly easy - just give it a name and a description and select Publish from the My Moon menu.
Once you've put it out there, anyone can download and play your creation. Of course, this works both ways and you have access to the growing number of levels to be found on the Community Moon. You can search by user or name, and even browse through those rated highest by others or the most played.
Once you've found one that sounds fun, you can download it onto your PSP system, and play it as many times as you like without the need of a Wireless Internet connection, although you will still need to be online to browse and download new levels. You can even copy them to My Moon and take a look at how they were made, and republish them with your improvements and additions. Just remember your Ps and Qs and give credit to the original creator.
Another way of sharing levels with friends is via Ad Hoc Mode. Simply select Send to Friend from the My Moon menu to pass your favourite levels onto your nearest and dearest.