When LittleBigPlanet 3 launches later this year, you'll have the choice of playing as the iconic Sackboy or newcomers Swoop, Oddsock and Toggle. The charms of this sock-inspired, sack-filled lineup will make that choice a hard one.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is the latest entry in the puzzle-platforming franchise. Like previous games, it invites players to clamber through a world that is impossibly cute and widely customizable. It feels accessible without being too easy; sweet but not saccharine.
During a recent demo of the game, I spent some time with newcomer Oddsock. Toggle's abilities allow him to grow or shrink, and Swoop has all the aerial advantages a bird should, but Oddsock is a much more down to earth option. The four-legged, dog-like creature scuttles through stages with a surprising grace.
Oddsock (costumed in my run as a dinosaur, naturally) has a special ability that allows him to quickly and easily bounce between walls or slowly slide down them. In the level I played, which appeared to be modeled after the inside of a pinball machine, this skill was essential to success. As I deftly leaped between walls to make my way upwards, balls hurtled toward me, or platforms suddenly slipped away. Dodging required either good timing or a well-placed slide.
During a co-op two-player run, pacing myself became even more important. Triggering trick platforms too soon would result in the untimely death of my partner and a lot of grumbling. If one of us fell too far behind, we were toast. LittleBigPlanet 3 doesn't punish players severely for death, however; as soon as the next checkpoint was passed, our adventure was back on.
LittleBigPlanet 3 launches for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 Nov. 18. For more on the game, check out our in-depth preview from E3 2014.