When it was announced that there would be some Toy Story DLC coming for LittleBigPlanet 2, it seemed like such a perfect fit. The game is all about creating a fun world with your imagination, and the "Toy Story" movies heavily promote the same values in its smaller adventures. Initially, it was thought that the DLC would simply consist of costumes of the movie's famous characters. While that would have been fine, the team at Media Molecule stepped up and created some level items and stickers along with whole levels and minigames. The result is good, though it's also slightly underwhelming.
Believe it or not, Media Molecule decided to craft a whole story out of the pack, and it hearkens back to the intro tales of the last two movies. Andy has decided that Sackboy should be the newest part of his toy collection, but as soon as he arrives, the evil Dr. Porkchop has built a flying machine to steal all of the town's gold. Making it your civic duty to help out the town, you go along with Buzz, Woody and the whole cast as you travel from Andy's bedroom to space and beyond to stop Dr. Porkchop and return the gold.
LittleBigPlanet 2's five main levels serve as a good example of what the game engine can do. Most of the levels are still side-scrolling platform affairs, so you'll be instantly familiar with how things work. You'll still jump through three different planes and grab on to objects or push and pull blocks to reach the next platform or object. There are still stickers to get and new pieces to obtain at the end of each level, along with a few areas where you'll need more than one player to accomplish the task. You'll even get to use the block creator and grappling hook to get through some obstacles. On a few of the levels, though, things change up wildly. The middle of the first level, for example, has you piloting a helicopter to shoot down vehicles that are attacking a train, and this is done from a top-down perspective. In the Pizza Planet level, you'll suddenly be riding a large version of Slinky as you bark to defeat enemies, and in the final level, you use missiles to shoot down enemies from a moving train. It's a varied enough experience that you'll have lots of fun while it lasts.
One thing for which you have to credit the developers is how well they nailed the aesthetics. Everything, from Andy's bedroom to the Wild West finale against Dr. Porkchop's train, feels like it was lifted directly from the movie universe. The pacing and locales also feel like a minimovie and never feel like a surreal sequence made to extend the gameplay. Even though the experience is short, if you're a Toy Story fan, you'll love what was done here.
As a bonus, the Toy Story DLC even throws in two different minigames, both of which have to be found in the pack's main levels. One game has you trying to dig down the surface while avoiding Zerg bombs, and the other has you trying to round up Bo Peep's sheep in designated areas before you lose them all. Like the side sequences, these are a big departure from the side-scrolling platforming portions. Unfortunately, they aren't as fun as they could be since the levels don't vary each time you play, so they're one-play minigames.
Even though it looks and controls the same as the main game, the Toy Story DLC deserves a special note about its sound. It isn't done by the same composers as the movie, and you won't get some of the more iconic songs and scores from the films, but the music fits in brilliantly with each sequence. The Western themes and subsequent outer space medleys play out beautifully and almost feel like it should be part of the next appearance for the Pixar game in one form or another.
With all of this praise built upon the pack, it disappoints in one area, and it's the fact that it introduces nothing new to the game as a whole. You still get a plethora of stickers to use for your own creations. You also get all of the backdrops used in the pack as well as all of the musical pieces, so if you wanted to create your own sequel related to Toy Story, you can certainly do so with ease. That's all you get. Compared to the other packs, which introduced the water mechanic, a paint gun, or Move support, you get nothing else that would help change the mechanics of the game. Trophy hunters don't even get a new set of trophies for their trouble. If you're the type who loves creating levels, there's not much for you here unless you always wanted to create a slew of Toy Story-related stuff.
Despite the fact that the system in place for LittleBigPlanet 2 gives you access to any and all types of games, this piece of DLC is still a worthy purchase. The level design alone is well worth playing through, but the inclusion of Toy Story and its proper implementation is just too good to pass up. If you're looking for something new to create levels with, it'll feel lacking compared to the other level kits, but in the end, it's still worth playing.
More articles about LittleBigPlanet 2