Little Big Planet 2: Toy Story Level Kit and Move Pack review

Article first published as PSN Review: Little Big Planet 2: Toy Story Level Kit and Move Pack on Blogcritics.

Having been born just a couple of blocks from Disneyland in California, this writer has more than just a passing interest in all things Disney.  Having thoroughly enjoyed the Toy Story movies and last year’s Toy Story 3 game, it was nearly impossible to pass up reviewing the two most recent Little Big Planet 2 add-ons, last month’s Toy Story Level Kit and the Move Pack: Rise of the Cakeling released on the 14th of this month.  With all of that being said, the difference between these two add-ons could not be more surprising.

It really pains me to say, there is little good to say about the Toy Story Level Kit, which is overpriced at $6.99.  This is apparent at the beginning of the recycled, evil Dr. Porkchop story of the five level expansion pack where the presentation feels more homebrew than one would expect of a Disney license.  The art style is much more Sackboy home-craft than the clean plastic feel of Toy Story and the iconic Buzz and Woody have none of their original charm.
The Little Big Planet 2: Move Pack is priced at $9.99 in the U.S. and adds The Rise of the Cakeling story mode and a nice toolset for the new and free Move compatibility update.  Developer, Media Molecule is boasting it as their largest DLC to date with five giant story levels and seven side levels.  The story begins when a rogue cake threatens doom and destruction, and you must once again attempt to restore peace to Craftworld, luckily, you are armed with a new tool.The seven levels, including the two mini-levels, go by quickly although some, towards the end, are more difficult than expected for a children’s movie tie-in.   The Toy Story Level Kit offers 149 stickers, 10 decorations, five materials and six objects but, Pixar fans that do finish the levels are given only the alien costume for their efforts although, as stated before, the costumes do look like homemade Halloween gear.  The rest of costumes are sold individually for $2.99 or in three strategically arranged packs that run $5.99 each.

Players are given a brand new toy to make things easier, The Brain Crane which allows you perform telekinesis with the Move controller.  You can grab and move spongy items by aiming the wand and pulling the trigger.  This allows you to move obstacles out of your way or pick up sponge balls and guide them to help you collect prize bubbles.   With six new costumes, 18 materials, 41 decorations, 13 objects, 66 stickers and 39 new Little Big Planet pins, there is a lot to collect.

A suite of new creative tools give you the power to create your own Move games, record fluid motions, and paint your own stickers.  The new Movinator makes it easy for you to make games to play with the Move.  If you combine the Movinator with the new Cursor Tool, then you’ll be able to create cursor based games and disguise that cursor with stickers.   The Motion Recorder is used to record motion and apply it to any object in your scene or animate it.  The object can mimic your actions and be made to slow down, speed up, loop or play backwards.  Finally, a paint tool has been added to allow you to create your own stickers and textures.

These two packs are such a complete contrast in value and application that in the end, the Toy Story Level Kit is so completely un-recommendable that it’s probably just best forgotten.  Conversely, the Move Pack adds so much to those who love building their own levels that it’s essential.  The story is fun and what you would expect from Little Big Planet and the Move implementation for players is smooth.  At this point, the Move controller might be the preferred control scheme for the game, in general.  Now if we could just get that promised 3D support.

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