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With 'LittleBigPlanet,' a surprisingly big video game idea comes on an old-fashioned platform

Show of hands: Who saw this coming? In this era of fully realized 3-D worlds, who could have imagined the season's most paradigm-shifting game would be a 2-D platformer?

At its absolute core, that's what LittleBigPlanet is. You star as a burlap action hero named Sackboy, and your objective in each level is to reach the goal in as little time as possible while uncovering as many secrets as you can during your trek. Your efforts are scored accordingly, and every level has a worldwide leaderboard for bragging purposes.

What separates this core gameplay from the likes of, say, Super Mario Bros., is a heavy infusion of physics. Objects move and topple realistically, and Sackboy can use anything that isn't nailed down to reach faraway areas and uncover secrets. Be it a rope, a pyramid of cardboard boxes or a Sackboy himself, everything is weighted in accordance with real-world physics.

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