Cards on the table time; seeing a game from a well known franchise with ‘Karting’ stuck at the end of it is generally not a good sign. It’s reeks of desperation, a cash in on a type of game that is only usually good when it has ‘Mario’ next to it. How about when LittleBigPlanet is next to the word Karting?
First things first; LBP is truly one of the best designed games in recent memory. From Sackboy himself through to the way that the world looks like it’s stuck together from cardboard, it’s painfully well done. So it is with LBP Karting, it follows the look of the previous two games only this time taking it into three dimensions rather than the side on platforming of the original two games.
Looks may be great but the main thing with a karting game, what it truly depends on, are the controls. LBPK gets pretty close to spot on, the only issue being around the drifting initially being tricky to judge which takes a little longer that it should to get used to. The game also throws in the usual amount of weapons, some fun, some fiddly to use but all of them useful which is the main thing. As a racing game it holds it’s own.
The single player side of the game has a story mode with a decent amount of tracks and challenges to keep you busy but that isn’t the main focus with LBP or LBPK. The main credo of the game has always been ‘Play, Create, Share’ which is where LBPK really excels.
You have a normal multiplayer mode where you can race against your friend as well as a battle mode inside weapon filled arenas. You can also, as with LBP, play levels created by other players. This is a treasure trove of creativity, the highlight being recreations of classic Mario Kart tracks as well as wipEout. Of course there will be some stinkers in there but the rating system is robust enough for the real cream to rise to the top.
The creator part of the game is as slick as ever; you create the tracks by ‘driving’ a paint brush around the blank areas to make it as simple or as complex as you want. The level of customisation is amazingly deep, every part of it can be tweaked and fiddled with to create just what you want. At first it might seem a little over whelming but this is less so that with the original LBP. That game creator is truly a blank empty page whereas with LPBK you’re building a race track so you have a defined goal to start off with.
LBPK is a tricky one. Stripping away the veneer of the game you have a fairly by the numbers karting game. However, once you add on that LBP gloss, bring in the creator mode, the slick online integration, the design and sheer Sackboy-ness of it you have a great package well worth your time.