What makes this game so good is the combination of the three parts: playing, creating and sharing. The platform gaming is unusual and at times brilliant, but it isn't perfect. The controls are a little floaty, so you will fall off things when you don't expect to and die. When you die, you are "respawned" at the closest checkpoints. For each checkpoint, you have a limited number of lives, so occasionally, when you have hit a particularly challenging section, you may use up all of your lives and have to replay the whole level again. This is not a major complaint, particularly because there is so much to see in this funky colorful world. The bottom line is that the story mode is good enough to justify buying the game, even if it's all you play.
The building area is likewise fascinating and deep -- a wannabe game designer's dream. However, it may not appeal to children and casual gamers who don't have the patience to work through all the tutorials. But that's OK, because the user-generated content is there to explore, which will provide endless possibilities of new levels.
Parents: Since the some of the user-generated content is being created by imaginative and sometimes naughty teens and adults, if your child or 'tween wants to explore this part of the game, you might want to join them so that you can avoid inappropriate levels that have yet to be caught by the "griefing" process of monitoring.
RATING: 5 stars (out of 5) Best for ages 8-up From Sony, www.littlebigplanet.com, $59.99, PlayStation 3.
Jinny Gudmundsen is the kid-tech columnist for USA Today.com and Gannett News Service, and is also the editor of Computing with Kids.