Although LittleBigPlanet 3 brings three new friends into Sackboy’s world of imagination, the one that immediately captured my attention was Toggle. With his ability to change size and cuddly demeanour, he soon managed to capture my affection too, and I instantly knew who I’d be using at every possible opportunity in the game.
So I was delighted to find a Toggle-only level on show at E3, which sees him escaping from some sort of prison. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s not a bad egg, and there’s a totally understandable reason for him being locked up. He’s a nice guy, really.
Or should that be “guys”? After all, Toggle’s two states feel distinct enough to be separate characters: you’ve got the large, tall, lumbering giant and then – with a tap of L1 – a small, cute, speedy blob. But they jump the same height, and they definitely look alike. So, at first, Toggle’s split persona doesn’t seem to go much further than aesthetics.
That illusion lasts until you begin to realise the extent of his abilities. When he’s big, he can squash down a spring, and then switch to small and he’ll launch up into the air, collecting bubbles and progressing to the next section of the area. Sometimes he even switches between layers in a Puppeteer-esque fashion, a feature which has far more depth in LBP 3.
It doesn’t stop there, as mini Toggle can run across the top of water. He’s a bit like baby Jesus, though his miracles only extend beyond that to being able to switch size at will. When you do switch size on water, you’ll sink to the depths, and switching back will propel you upwards. It can actually be quite amusing and fun to jump in and out of the water sections, and really brings a sense of speed to the platformer which has usually slow and meandering in comparison to other titles on the market.
It’s all about using these abilities together to create one distinct character, though. While the level I’ve seen mainly pulls the same trick multiple times – that being using Toggle’s weight to bring things down before switching back to small – there’s a section where only small Toggle can fit through, which hints at further opportunities for our little big friend.
In the four player level (the same one which we saw played on Sony’s stage) Toggle’s abilities were explored further, where he could actively help out with tasks, such as pulling switches down, alongside new friends Oddsock and Swoop, as well as Sackboy. He can keep up with all of these characters just fine, and although Swoop seems more useful with her flying abilities, Toggle does quite a lot to help out with the situation at hand too.
These new characters really push the co-operative focus of the game, and it should make the level even more dynamic than ever before, taking the bonus sections which require more than one character to the next level. Hopefully there’s a way to play the co-operative sections alone too, perhaps with switching between the characters, as if the level shown is anything to go by, it’ll need four players for the best experience.
The basic characters look a bit bland, so there are options for Toggle in the Popit menu – as there are with Sackboy and his other friends – to change base patterns and even costume. The best one I found out of the limited selection available was a scarred, bearded Mafioso. Of course, these costumes translate between the two large and small states, and with the push of a button, Toggle can go from intimidating gangster to cutesy Bugsy Malone-esque character.
The full experience will revolve around using different combinations of all of these characters, but Toggle alone is definitely an interesting one – he’s the LittleBig in the title, and Sackboy’s abilities pale in comparison: Toggle doesn’t need extra equipment to impress, all he needs is the ability to switch sizes at will, and he’ll always have that.