Everything from the LittleBigPlanet series has been racing through my PS3. I’ve done my very best to get a platinum trophy in games I thoroughly enjoy that has made the LittleBigPlanet series an instant favourite of mine. but when the series branched off into a Karting, I couldn’t go any further. It just wasn’t the same and, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t enjoy it.
A lot of us have played a Karting game. You take a few characters, put them in go-carts, add a few power ups and call it a day. After playing LittleBigPlanet Karting, the representation of the formula feels bland.
The story revolves around the peaceful world of LittleBigPlanet where their creative happy planet is turned upside down thanks to The Hoard, who resemble Oogie Boogie from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas – look a likes made out of objects you’d find in a sewing kit.
These scavengers want nothing more than to take whatever they can from LittleBigPlanet’s Craftworld without giving back and this is where Sackboy and his pals come in. He gets a kart of his very own and sets out to retrieve all the stolen prizes and items. During races you’re able to pick up bubbles that includes prizes and stickers that you can use to customize your kart and give it a look of its own to set yourself apart from the other racers you may come across.
The game includes everything you’d expect from a racer, such as drafting behind players to gain additional speed and drifting around tight corners, which rewards you with a mini boost depending low long you drift for. With that being said, I was let down because I wasn’t exposed to anything new from a karting game. I can understand they would want it to be more traditional, but it seems they didn’t bother to think outside the box and that frustrates me as a player because I know how much potential the series has in terms of creativity.
LittleBigPlanet games have always been a ‘pick up and play’ sort of game and LBP Karting is no different. There’s not a lot of skill required to progress through the game. It’s all fun-factor and, if you like playing karting games, then this is it. However, once you master all the tracks and drifting, it’s easy to breeze past any AI player and keep yourself in first place.
If you’ve played the first or second LittleBigPlanet, you know that narrator Stephen Fry’s charming voice is the first thing you will hear to will teach you the basics for the game’s mechanics. The player can choose two different control schemes that are differentiated by what button you press to accelerate and what buttons to deploy power ups. If using a controller isn’t your thing, you can use the Move Racing Wheel.
Yet again, the Play Create Share feature is back and allows users to create tracks of their own, add whatever they want and you can share it with your friends and the rest of the world where everyone can play it. If there’s one thing that LittleBigPlanet Karting delivers is that there’s no way in hell you’ll have a shortage of levels to play because the online community will have you covered.
LittleBigPlanet Karting’s environments vary along the different levels you’ve played in the previous games as well. From farmlands to cardboard cities, the fun and cute aspect rises to the surface, leaving you impressed that it could look so good, though perhaps not enough to actually enjoy yourself while playing.
Dressing up Sackboy and Sackgirl in different outfits yet again doesn’t change the gameplay besides the fact that you can look different than everyone else. The main issue is that it’s limited to the look of your Pod or home screen where you can browse and choose where you want to race or the actual kart itself. There isn’t anything that you can modify your cart with that it can do something else a regular stock kart can’t.
As of this writing, an impending an update will allow you to be able to import pretty much every costume you’ve purchased for LittleBigPlanet and they’ll be available to wear in LittleBigPlanet Karting. This is neat because I wouldn’t want to buy those costumes all over again. I was hoping there would be some sort of customization, but everything seems to be for looks and nothing more. I know all the Sack-friends are cute, but they’re making it hard for me to hold on as a fan of the franchise.
In the end I feel that LittleBigPlanet Karting is a hit and a miss. I love seeing LittleBigPlanet grow in terms of creativity and new adventures, but I don’t think that’s what LittleBigPlanet Karting offers and I think the bottom line is that if you’re a huge fan of the series and enjoy karting games, then this is more than enough for you. For die-hard LittleBigPlanet fans that are looking for something different, you may want to look elsewhere or at least consider renting it to try it for yourself.