Review: 'LittleBIGPlanet Karting' is creative fun behind the wheel
Photo credit: Sony
'LittleBIGPlanet' has become an playground of creation for gamers of all ages to come together and craft seemingly endless content with one another. But Sackboy wasn't the only "Play, Create and Share" game in town. United Front Games' 'Modnation Racers' raised the bar on go-kart gaming with custom level designing all the while packaging one really fun driving game. When Sackboy appeared as a pre-order exclusive for 'Modnation Racers' it was only a matter of time that the little guy added race tracks to his Pop-It as both games have come together in 'LittleBIGPlanet Karting'.
Over the past two years, United Front Games, in collaboration with Sony San Diego Studio, have worked very hard on 'LittleBIGPlanet Karting' and the work shows for it in the game. A nice touch to what many would feel is just a hit the gas and go racing game is much more than that. A campaign Story Mode sets the tone nicely and introduces the player to the game's mechanics. With help from the enigmatic narrative voice of Stephen Fry, it is really easy to pick up drifting and projectile usage. Both will come in handy as Sackboy is faced with the daunting task of out racing a group of greedy aliens known as, "The Hoard".
I like that players are given the option to choose between X and Right Trigger as their gas peddle button. Let's face it, this is the primary button that will be used during your gaming session in 'LittleBIGPlanet Karting' so it's nice to see the developers wanted to ensure comfort out of the box for the player. I did notice that when a second controller joined the game that Sony sent us, they did not get prompted the a choice of loadout setting. A lesson learned after the race begins and karts blast ahead as you switch between the two options.
Nearly thirty tracks and arena based levels as well as mini-games can be played through, with most of these levels playable with up to four controllers locally. Eight player online gaming doubles the fun and makes for tough competition on the community leader boards. Loading times can get slow at times, but it's not terrible. The worst wait time I had was running the game for the first time, after everything installs things get better trust me.
All of the racing aside, its the creation tools that set this game apart from its genre. Costumes, karts, objects, stickers, decorations, and all the tools needed to craft your own digital Daytona are accessible. Many more tricks of the trade await to be unlocked while playing the game. Even better is that the game rewards returning fans of 'LittleBIGPlanet' some extra collectible. I've been rolling out with my ballooned racing kart with my Sackboy's new Afro look. Can you dig it? There were some minor issues with the crafting tool but if you have the patience you can create some really fun tracks. One of my favorites was one that was created to resemble Disney World's Space Mountain, keep those custom tracks coming everyone!
The most impressive aspect of the game is how amazing it looks from the 3-D perspective. Sackboy is normally seen trotting up and down a 2-D scaled level but now you can dive straight into his world. Racing around courses feels unlike any 3-D kart game made because all of the 2-D elements that serve as a trademark to the 'LittleBIGPlanet' franchise litter the environments really well. Layered with some catchy soundtracks, each course becomes a chaotic pleasure cruise.
'LittleBIGPlanet' brings back its orb multipliers as well as its grappling hook, changing the way players would avert large obstacles along the tracks. Prize bubbles can be snagged and "dream puddles of anti-imagination" can be avoided and it's easy to drive while firing off the handy gadget.
'LittleBIGPlanet Karting' carry overs all the charm and customization fans of the LBP franchise have grown to love. Although some races may feel a little slowly paced, the variety of playful but powerful weapon pick-ups and collectible creation pieces make this go-kart video game much more than a dash to the top of online leader boards. It's a must-own for fans of Sackboy and those who've always wanted to build some of the most challenging yet happy-go-lucky environments race tracks known possible. It's only a shame the game is not available on the PS Vita, although so far it hasn't been ruled out that one will be in the future. Fingers crossed!
Warp Pipe recommends 'LittleBIGPlanet Karting' as a hot item for the holidays!