PS3 Review: LittleBigPlanet Karting

Sackboy and ModNation Racers combining sounds like a dream come true, right?

LittleBigPlanet has given gamers a lot of creativity since it launched on PS3, the sequel added even more ways to play and create, while ModNation Racers gave gamers the tools to create their own race tracks, customise their karts and so on. So combining the two biggest creative tools sounds like a no-brainer, what could go wrong?

Well, quite a lot it seems. The actual driving mechanics are fine, as are the creative tools to build with…but the combination of the two is a bit of a mess. It doesn’t help that the AI is seriously cheap when it comes to using powerups, in ways that made me long for the 500cc races of Mario Kart, at least its fair to some degree, while LBP Karting seems to be more about pure luck than skill. The weapons are so unbalanced and the tracks available aren’t that fun to play.

It doesn’t help that simply being able to try a track via online play is a gigantic pain to access, there’s no quick match options or anything, not to mention there’s no progression made through multiplayer of any kind, you can’t level up or get new parts for your kart like you could in ModNation Racers, you can only customise it visually and can’t enhance it in any way, which feels like a missed opportunity.

The creative tools do take a while to get used to and you’ll spend many hours making courses, as unfortunately there’s no simple way to make tracks like you could with ModNation, considering it’s made by the same team, it’s hard to see why it wasn’t included. The real problem is that the combination of Media Molecule and United Front should have provided gamers with the best racer/creator on the market, but instead it feels like a missed opportunity and probably the last we’ll see of the two teams working together, unless they make a sequel that is actually fun to play, because sadly LBP Karting fails to accomplish that.

The visual style is typical of LittleBigPlanet, so it has its highs and lows as usual. The menus are a mess though and take a lot to navigate, while the framerate is consistent throughout. The music is a mixed bag, but it’s always nice to hear Stephen Fry explain things.

The Verdict

Somewhere along the way, something went wrong with the production of LittleBigPlanet Karting. In actuality, it doesn’t feel like a finished product, it feels like it needed a few more months of tinkering with the balancing of the AI and powerups, while making the creative tools more accessible. LBP Karting isn’t a terrible racer; it just isn’t that fun to play and is a real missed chance for both United Front and Media Molecule.