LittleBigPlanet Karting Review
If there is one universal law of gaming, it’s that every major gaming mascot must have its own karting game. Mario’s got one, Sonic’s got one; heck, even Bomberman’s got one. The delightful little sackboys (and girls!) of Sony’s LittleBigPlanet series of platformers have been hoofing it for some time, but LittleBigPlanet Karting finally gives these guys their own set of wheels. Is this outing a pimped-out ride or an accident waiting to happen?
As with many kart racers on the market today, development teams Media Molecule and United Front Games made sure LittleBigPlanet Karting has all of the industry staples. Eschewing any sort of realism, tracks are littered with hazards, boost pads, and of course power-ups. Other than the somewhat looser handling and emphasis on defensive play, everything else thankfully sticks to the tried-and-true. Changes between racers are purely cosmetic, which can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. While this changeup allows for a more level playing ground, it comes at the expense of variety.
Ironically, the amount of variety available for everything else in LittleBigPlanet Karting is downright daunting. Continuing the series trend of “play, create, share,” practically everything in the game can be tweaked and modified to the tiniest detail. Want to launch a cow missile from a bathtub? Itching to recreate Laguna Seca or Disney’s Space Mountain? Not only is the game happy to oblige, but it also encourages this level of creativity. A deep yet intuitive toolbox (one paired with a set of tutorials narrated by the very British Stephen Fry) means that those with a creative spark have no shortage of things to do. Those who are veritable Einsteins of originality can even recreate different game genres like tower defense and even pinball.
Of course, those who would rather receive than give can jump right into the LittleBigPlanet Karting community and enjoy hundreds of tracks in an instant. With a review system akin to the one found in its platforming brethren, those hoping to enjoy the crème of the crème can effortlessly stream the best tracks to their PlayStation 3’s. Just make sure to buy the game new or purchase an Online Pass; the story-mode, while a great way to learn the basics, is by no means the best way to experience the game. Split-screen, while still available, just isn’t the same in this day and age.
Those hoping to learn the subtleties of LittleBigPlanet Karting’s racing system to crush the competition might be disappointed at the lack of depth, but this racer was never designed to be the next big eSport. Rubber-band AI and overpowered items place the title squarely in the casual end of the gaming spectrum, but those looking for a driving simulator in a brightly colored kart racer are a little off the mark.