LittleBigPlanet Karting Preview (PS3)

United Front Games are in hot form. The team turned a dead True Crime series into one of the surprise hits of the year. Sleeping Dogs not only received plenty of critical acclaim, it easily overcame the sales of Darksiders 2. Now the studio aims to produce a second comeback.

The original Modnation Racers was a decent game. A wealth of customisation options helped the title gather pace. Looking back, such charms may have masked a title that would have otherwise struggled to make an impression.

From top to bottom this is a true LBP game.

Inhabitants of the ModNation universe didn't have the same impact as LittleBigPlanet's Sackboy. United Front's racing effort echoed Media Molecule's platformer in many ways. It was cute, loveable, and could interest players of all ages. That said, something vital was missing.

After spending a few hours with LittleBigPlanet Karting, it's obvious how diverse the franchise really is. Sackboy's presence behind the wheel is natural. As Stephen Fry introduces the change of scenery, everything seems to fit. A quick smirk from the lead character and we're ready to drive.

At this early stage, races feel extremely similar to ModNation Racers. Tracks are littered with ways of gaining simple advantages. An array of powers await collection, just like they do in many other karting games. You might be granted the ability to electrocute those around you, fire projectiles at faster cars, or other standard methods of one-upmanship. None of these interest you? Create your own. This is LittleBigPlanet, after all.

From the sneak preview I've experienced, there's plenty to look forward to in each race. Routes are tightly-crammed for mass conflict. Short-cuts provide an alternate route if you want to break away from the pack. Jumps propel each kart across endless drops. A well-timed press of L1 unleashes a lasso-styled extension from your vehicle, allowing you to evade instant death and extend your time in the air. If you wait too long to execute such a manoeuvre you may lose momentum and end up landing in a difficult spot.

Watch out! There's plenty of problems to overcome during each race.

If racing is a little too serene for you, a trip to the arena will satisfy your need to destroy others. Just like Mario Kart, this title includes enclosed battlegrounds for you to wage war in. Once again, the premise is to pick up and smartly use as many power-ups as possible. Accuracy is even more important in these encounters. Points are stacked up by causing physical harm to those trying to execute the same plan on you. Arenas are full of traps to slow your progress – something I repeatedly discovered when driving over an electrified floor.

Mini-games will also make up a large portion of LBP Karting's appeal. I've only played one so far. Taking control of the a tyrannosaurus rex, I was thrown into a Rampage-style game of panic. I hunted fleeing vehicles around a small track, crushing those who couldn't get out of the way. As a sample, it whets the appetite.

This game is likely to excel once community gets involved. Without user-created content, the LBP universe isn't quite so special. Thankfully, United Front Games will allow players to express themselves. We're a couple of weeks away from release. I can't wait to return to the track, as what I've experienced so far is just the beginning.

Most Anticipated Feature: This game should have some excellent user-created content.


By stuntkid (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2012
Ohhh, this should be fun. I have a friend who is mad about LBP.