Little Big Planet 3 gameplay preview: PS4 sequel focuses on multiplayer

We've always been big fans of Little Big Planet, so the E3 gaming expo announcement that it's coming to PS4 this Christmas in the form of Little Big Planet 3 got us rather excited. Then we got the play the game in two player multiplayer to see whether the third instalment has all the charm of its predecessors.

From the off Little Big Planet 3 looks much like the previous games. The colourful cardboard cutout style is in tact and the developers haven't tried to change what always gave the game's world its own distinctive edge.

What does differ are the characters and their abilities. Our hero Sackboy returns, complete with new powers such as the ability to climb and use his "pumpinator" - it’s more like a leaf blower, nothing dodgy - to shift platforms out of the way. But there are now three additional key characters, each of whom has unique abilities. There’s Oddsock who can wall jump and is fast enough to move wheeled machinery; Toggle who is big and strong but, at the flick of a switch, can also be the smallest character and fit through small gaps; and Swoop, a cloth bird, who can fly in order to lift items out of the way.

In our demo we were only able to play Toggle in a two player configuration. To help identify one character from the next it's possible to select various clothing and special items from the menu to provide differentiation between the characters. We played a sort-of pirate version.

Playing the game feels as accessible as a platformer ever should. The addition of the new characters shifts the way the world is constructed, as you'll need to put thought into whether you can fit down a given passageway or if a co-op player needs to assist in opening the route for you. In the level we played with two Toggle characters we're sure we could have finished it in single player.

Run, jump, grab, collect items - Little Big Planet 3 is typical platformer fare, but one with flair. The addition of the new characters evolves the game without removing its core and we thought it was refreshing to play after battling through half a dozen first person shooter titles at this year's E3 gaming expo.