LittleBigPlanet Karting

Date Completed : April 25th, 2013

I’ve been a fan of LittleBigPlanet since the original.  It’s one of the few games I have a Platinum trophy on.  Unfortunately the quality of LittleBigPlanet games is far from consistent.  While LittleBigPlanet 2 is a worthy sequel the PSP LittleBigPlanet release lacked the spark of life.  LittleBigPlanet Karting sits somewhere in between being totally soulless and soulfull greatness.

The game itself is very similar to Mario Kart.  There are all the power slides, weapons and shortcuts you’d expect but the most similar aspect is how badly the game cheats (hint: it cheats so bad).  Enemies fly out of nowhere, smash you into walls, shoot you, destroy your Kart and laugh as you drop from 1st place to 8th in microseconds.  Fortunately you only need to place in the top three to advance to the next race.

Picking up weaponators (weapons) is a frustrating ordeal.  Other racers were constantly stealing weapons just as I was about to pick them up and I’d often go entire laps without getting anything.  When I did get a weapon it was rarely useful for improving my position in the race.  Immediately upon shooting someone another racer flies out of nowhere and fills the space.  I found the most effective strategy was to race my best and use weapons defensively.  When you’re racing in 8th place you often get ‘fast forward’ or ‘rocket ship’ items that speed you back up to the other racers but these items have an irritating tendency to drop you off somewhere awful.  Long story short, I would have preferred a more vanilla racing game without the weapons.

The game is played on several different planets.  Each planet has about 4 story levels and about 10 versus levels.  The versus levels are not required for story progression and usually required 2 or more players so I skipped all but a few of those.  The normal story mode levels come in three types – Races, Battles and Beat the Clock.  All of these modes behave pretty much exactly as you would expect them to.  Not much to say about them.

The game is family friendly so I was able to play it with my boys watching.  They didn’t really see the point to the game and mostly ignored it.  The graphic stylings of LittleBigPlanet just don’t have the toddler appeal of a Super Mario Bros.  The part they did enjoy was when I picked up a rocket weaponator and was able to ride it for portions of the race.  If the game was nothing but riding on the back of a rocket I think my kids would have been happy with this title.

The racing mode isn’t bad, but it’s not great.  I’d say that’s forgivable but where the game really fails is on the DLC.  When creating my character and Kart I opened up the pop-it like I was used to from LittleBigPlanet 2 and started trying out different looks for my character.  My boys would point to objects on the screen they wanted me to wear such as a blue shirt (my son’s favorite color) or a funny mustache.  While these objects were displayed when I tried to wear them I would be prompted to purchase them in the store.  Content you don’t own and are required to pay for is displayed with content that you do have and can use.  This is not acceptable.

There were other irritations with the interface as well.  After a race all I wanted to know was how I placed, my percentage of items collected and what items I won.  What they display are screens and screens full of useless information that I did not care about.  I didn’t want to wait for all of the screens to cycle but pressing any button skips them all.  I cold not find a way to make the screens cycle quicker or display only the information I wanted.  There are also several start up videos that need to be skipped individually EVERY TIME YOU START THE GAME.

LittleBigPlanet Karting was fun enough for what it was but I have no desire to play it anymore.  I played a few community levels, did some trophy farming and now I’m done.  While I might go back and play LittleBigPlanet 2, I have no intention of touching LittleBigPlanet Karting again.  It simply does not have the same timeless appeal as it’s big brother.

Pros

  • Play / Share / Create

Cons

  • Unpurchased DLC displayed with content you own.
  • Other interface irritations.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length: 6 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Racing
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One thought on “LittleBigPlanet Karting

  1. Pingback: LittleBigPlanet PS VITA | Video Gaming Dad

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