LittleBigPlanet Karting Review For The PlayStation 3
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3
Sackboy jumps off the trails of the platforming genre and takes to the track in LittleBigPlanet Karting for the PlayStation 3 to save the Imagisphere from a gang of karting monsters known as the Hoard. These selfish little meanies have taken all of the prizes, materials, and objects in the world and have decided to keep the goodies for themselves instead of using them to share creations with everyone else. So what are you waiting for? Hop into your little cardboard kart and show them who’s king of the road!
LittleBigPlanet Karting is a kart racing game developed by ModNation Racers developer United Front Games in conjunction with Media Molecule. Like other LBP games, LittleBigPlanet Karting heavily features the Create, Play, Share theme so prevalent in previous entries, allowing players to build their own tracks and share them online for others to enjoy. It also sports a massive single-player campaign full of storyline races and challenges that will keep a gamer involved for hours on end.
When you first start the game, you’ll be introduced to the world of LittleBigPlanet Karting with a brief tutorial on how to drive your kart and use a new item to the LBP universe, the Weaponator. The Weaponator allows Sackboy to pick up power-ups on the track that can be used for offense or defense. Different weapons ranging from a gun that shoots lightning to heat-seeking missiles will be laid out around the track for you to use to either fire on your competition or to ward off incoming attacks. Along with this, the tutorial allows you to set up your preferred button configuration, as well as introduce you to the driving basics including drifting, which provides you with a short-term speed boost if you hold the drift long enough.
Gameplay in LittleBigPlanet Karting is quite varied with a number of different activities to keep the game from getting monotonous. There are your standard fare of track-racing events to play along with other events such as Keep Away Mode, Checkpoint races, and Battle levels. Keep Away is a game where racers work to keep an item away from the others by holding on to it. While you have the objective, you can’t use your weapons, and your kart becomes many times larger than the others to make sure there’s a good-sized bullseye painted on your back. The longer you have the item, the higher your score, and the person with the highest score at the end of the game wins the match. Checkpoint races are much like the arcade racers where you race against a ticking clock. Passing through checkpoints adds time to your counter, so the better you perform, the more laps you can complete and the higher your score will be. Battle levels are an arena-type game mode in the same vein of Twisted Metal, albeit a cuter, cuddlier version of it. Players will fight against each other in an arena, using their Weaponators to pop their competition out of existence for a short time. The player with the highest score wins. These are just a few of the examples of LBP Karting‘s vast number of events – and the most fun, in my opinion.
The game’s AI works exceptionally well too, and oftentimes can be just as brutal as any human player. Enemies are just as inclined to use their Weaponators against you as you are them, and more often than not will turn their guns on the lead player be it you or another AI. This can make for some very challenging offline gameplay, especially in the Battle levels.
United Front Games also does an excellent job of adding to the replay value of the game by incorporating prize pickups throughout the tracks much in the same way that you would find in its platforming predecessors. You’ll find many of these prizes laid out along the track, but quite often there will be additional goodies hidden off the beaten path for those looking for the 100% completion after they’ve gotten top honors on a track. Furthermore, players’ times and scores are ranked globally, so those with a competitive streak in them can compete for the best scores in the world.
Graphically, the game could have stood to have a little more spit and polish to it. The maximum resolution for the game is 720p, and unfortunately on high definition televisions, it shows. Many of the models look rough around the edges and a little grainy, but oddly enough, the environments themselves don’t look nearly as bad. While eyebrow-raising, this graphical clash doesn’t detract from the gameplay itself, but leads you to wonder why things aren’t simply smoother and not at a higher resolution this late in the life-cycle of the console – especially given both studios’ long-time experience with the PlayStation 3. This might be a result of the fact that you can use character costumes downloaded for previous games, and that they just imported the skins to avoid having to recreate the massive library available, but this is purely speculation.
Like previous installations, each world that you’ll encounter enjoys its own theme. From the tropical lands of the Monster Islands, to the sugary confectionary and baked goodness of Victoria’s Laboratory, to the cardboard World of Tomorrow-like lands of the Progress Emporium, each land is a treat to behold in its sights and sounds. One of the most exciting levels comes in the form of a Battle level where you and the opposing team duke it out in the skies over the Emporium in a pair of Zeppelins, having to use jump pads to make it from one side to the other. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but quite possibly the most chaotic level of them all as projectiles fly from one side to the other, and an abundance of Weaponators makes the action fast-paced and completely unpredictable.
While the game is unbelievably fun, it simply wouldn’t be a proper LBP game without the ability to create your own levels and share them online with players around the world. The LBP Karting level editor is exceptionally well put together with an abundance of tutorials to get even the most inexperienced creator to work quickly. To roll out your track, you…well, literally roll it out with a paint roller, adjusting your height and making turns as necessary. Once you have your basic track built, you simply open up your Poppit and start applying the tools to add anything and everything that you encounter in the game. Once you’ve built your track, you can test it out, tweak it, save it, and share it for the whole world to see and play.
Overall, LittleBigPlanet Karting is an exceptionally well-designed game, with tons of replayability and creativity that you find in any LBP game. It’s most certainly one that you should consider for your collection if you’re looking for a more casual racer for your PlayStation 3.
LittleBigPlanet Karting receives a 4.75/5.0.
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