f5-nz logo
Story image

Review: LittleBigPlanet Karting

14 Nov 2012

When Nintendo decided to develop Mario Kart many years ago, this started a bit of a trend when it came to other platforming games making their own racing titles.

Over the years we’ve seen Sonic, Jak and Daxter and even Crash Bandicoot all star in their own respective kart racing style of video games.

Sackboy has now joined the club thanks to the release of LittleBigPlanet Karting for the PS3.

Unlike with realistic racing games, kart racing games are all about having fun and there are a variety of ways you can cross the finish line without just having the “fastest ride” or skills to drive around the race track.

In these types of games, you can hinder your opponents by setting traps, collecting speed boosters or even shooting them with missiles to ensure you reach the podium.

LittleBigPlanet Karting takes many elements from the genre that we have already seen before. One of the features I recognised from Crash Team Racing was the ability for you to powerslide through corners.

The longer you use the powerslide, the more” boost” it will give you to temporarily go faster. As aforementioned, there are also the usual missiles, bombs, mortars and other weapons you can use to destroy your opponents with.

The game does not introduce many new features that separate it from other like-minded kart racing games out there however, but it’s still fun to play nevertheless.

Apart from the racing stages that are available to do in LittleBigPlanet Karting, there are also “battle” stages you can compete in as well. This is where the “racing” aspect of the game is eliminated and the main goal is to just destroy as many of your opponents as you can in a specified time limit.

Again, this is a feature that has been included in previous kart racing titles and veterans of the genre will be familiar with how plays like.

One thing LittleBigPlanet Karting does exceptionally well is the wealth of customisation options available. Much like in traditional LittleBigPlanet video games, there are numerous “bubbles” you can collect in each race, giving you stickers and other decorations.

These can be used to not only alter the appearance of your kart, but also you own Sackboy/Sackgirl as well. I remember putting as many stickers as I could on my own character that I even (literally) put eyes on the back of his head.

If you own previous LittleBigPlanet games, you will be sad to hear that you cannot import costumes from previous games here. Although on the plus side, there is still a wealth of decorations, costumes and other things you can do to make your character stand out.

You can also customise the look of your kart as well as I made mine look like a tank while my brother chose to make his appear more like a hover car.

Speaking of customisation options, it wouldn’t be a LittleBigPlanet game without allowing you to create your own levels.

In this game though, you can create your own race track or battle arena stage. Personally, I found making my own track a lot easier than creating a level in the previous games.

After a brief tutorial explaining what to do, creating a track is surprisingly easy to master. You can add how many corners you want the track to be, position the start line, alter the road and lots more.

If you cannot make a level of your own, you can simply download other race tracks that the creative community has uploaded.

Multiplayer is arguably the best way to play and experience what LittleBigPlanet Karting has to offer. You can play the story mode together with up to three other players.

In my opinion, this made the game easier because it guaranteed you had at least a 50% chance of making the podium and advancing onto the next level. If you don’t have other controllers with you, you can always find friends online to play with instead.

But as much fun as I had playing LittleBigPlanet Karting, there are some flaws that need to be addressed.

First of all, the actual racing mechanics just aren’t as smooth as they should be and the level design is quite questionable as well. There are times it feels like the game doesn’t want you to turn a certain way and the powerslide button doesn’t even work.

Let’s not forget to talk about how frustrating it is while racing in some tracks as well. This is thanks to the competitive A.I. that loves to destroy you just at the moment you are about to cross the finish line.

The game seems to favour the A.I. more allowing them access to the more powerful weapons and leaving you in the dust all of the time. This is why I preferred playing the story mode with friends as playing the game alone is a very annoying experience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on casual or normal difficulty; the A.I. will still find a way to beat you all of the time.

Graphically, LittleBigPlanet Karting has the same graphics that the original game has. This isn’t a bad thing, although the visuals look a bit dated now considering the original game came out back in 2008.

It lacks the colourful and cheerful atmosphere that Nintendo’s Mario Kart series always provides.

LittleBigPlanet Karting should have been a fun and enjoyable kart racing game but it is let down by outdated graphics, annoying A.I. and some questionable physics.

Still, there is hours of gameplay here on offer and playing the game with friends is the best way to enjoy the game.

Graphics: 7.0Gameplay: 8.0Sound: 7.5Lasting appeal: 8.5

Overall: 7.5