Sack folk, start your cerebral engines for our LittleBigPlanet Karting review! I’m a total sucker for LittleBigPlanet games and I’m not ashamed to admit it. LittleBigPlanet Karting was officially announced on March 22, 2012 and LBP fans like myself have been patiently (and excitedly) waiting for it ever since. Despite some negative word of mouth before hand, I decided to keep an open mind and remember that the LittleBigPlanet series is mainly aimed at a younger audience.
As we know “Play, Create, and Share” is LittleBigPlanet’s motto. Karting is a lot like the other LBP games, but of course it has them karting instead of running around the levels. It has the familiar menu in the pod, but this time you cannot move around it, the only way to get out of the kart is when customizing your sack boy or girl, but majority of the time in the game you are stuck in the kart. The game is comprised of a story mode, multiplayer and community levels. The story is a continuation from LittleBigPlanet 2, with familiar characters that mumble the iconic strange noises when being spoken to. The story is simplistic, with players racing against the Hoard, who take and never share; I thought the hoarder reference was quite witty. There are treasure hunts, waypoint races and score attacks. One of the missions has you put into an arena with the task of holding onto an easter egg for the longest amount of time without letting anyone steal it, whilst avoiding attacks from enemies and dangerous obstacles in the arena.
LittleBigPlanet Karting (PlayStation 3)
Developer: United Front Games/Media Molecule
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: November 6, 2012
Price: $49.99 [Buy Now]
Throughout the course of the races you participate in you can collect score bubbles, which help with your overall rank on the leader board. The board also states the amount of time that you took to complete the race. You can also collect prize bubbles, which contain costumes, stickers and weapons. The weapons scattered on the tracks grant players special abilities that can be used to fire forwards and backwards to attack and slow down other competitors, while also using your weapon as a shield to deflect there attacks. My favorite weapon is the boxing gloves that give a boost in speed and pounds at enemies in front of it.
Some of the levels were more difficult than I expected, just not in a challenging way, but in a frustrating way, but then again it gives an option to change the level of the difficulty in game. On the tracks there are plenty of short cuts to discover, crazy obstacles to avoid and wide jumps that you need to use the hook on your kart to get across while doing a 360-degree spin. In between the racing levels you get the battle mode levels, where you are put in a battle arena with eight other competitors where you are given a time limit to kart around earning points by shooting missiles to eliminate other enemies, and gathering prize bubbles scattered around the arena which was a little change from just going around the tracks. You also have a mini map on the screen, which allows you to see how close you are to your competitors and how long the track is.
It wouldn’t be a LittleBigPlanet game without a world of customization. Customizing is one of my favorite things about the LittleBigPlanet series. You can customize your sack boy or girl, pod and your kart. With the kart you get different selections to personalize from the functions, suspensions (which can make your kart hover), wheels, seat and different options for the noise of the engine and horn. My pimped ride was a cupcake kart because… it’s a cupcake. You can make your own race tracks, which I have never really been interested because I find it too time consuming and I don’t have the patience for it; but I do salute and show respect for the people who do put a lot of effort into making their own tracks, a lot of them are amazingly creative and fun to play if put up as a community level. I also discovered some people making true-to-life remakes of tracks from Mario Kart in the community levels, which is quite ironic given the nature of the game.
The graphics were the usual quirky and colorfully ones that we are used to from the other games. I found some of the levels quite trippy though due to the vibrant colors, and accompanied by repetitive Daft Punk like music, not complaining though I’m quite easily amused and enjoyed listening to the catchy Daft Punk-like music whilst cruising around the race track, well cruising might not be the correct term.
As usual, it had some errors, as there wasn’t any actual menu or lobby for the multiplayer option. You have to go through the story mode to access it and that’s not at all convenient. After you complete a multiplayer race, you then have to vote with the other competitors on what track to go to next. Also, I had a little problem with the controls for boost and power-ups at the start of the race, which I thought was my own slow reflex but apparently it has happened to other players as well. I know the main question that everyone wants to know about the game is if you can still slap people in it, and yes, you can.
LittleBigPlanet Karting does make me feel quite competitive, but then again a racing game is supposed to give that effect. Obviously the game won’t be as memorable compared to the beloved Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing and my favorite Diddy Kong Racing, but if anything was to made to stand out from other racing games due to its amount of customization. If you like getting creative and playing kart-racing games that you can play with your family, friends or totally alone, then I highly recommend LittleBigPlanet Karting.
[Written by contributor Heather Riddick]