The first two Little Big Planet games became instant GeekDad favorites when they were released, so when Little Big Planet Karting was announced this spring, the unbridled excitement of our anticipation could easily be described as Pavlovian. Having played with the beta for the past week, I can happily report that our enthusiasm was well-founded.
Like previous games, Little Big Planet Karting offers seemingly infinite customization of Sackboys — and now — vehicles and tracks. Common household objects once again make up your inventory and items like bottle caps can be used for wheels while buttons become steering wheels. The breadth of vehicles is both fun and amusing. In any given race, you might be competing against an F1 car, a cupcake, or a spaceship (although there’s no discernable advantage to any particular vehicle).
Gameplay is similar to other karting games; players race around a track while picking up powerups and weapons to hinder their competitors with. Weapons may also be used defensively. Still, the game is indelibly marked with Little Big Planet touches. Besides the rich textures, easy gameplay, and non-stop family fun, tracks are dotted with the familiar bubbles and stickers. There’s a simple tutorial to teach players the controls, which are very simple and, again, customizable, and game modes vary from straight-out racing to minigames where players compete against the clock.
Following its predecessors, LBPK allows players to create their own levels, which will no doubt be incredibly impressive and inventive. (I can’t wait to race a user-created Monza or Spa in my Sack-mobile.) Online play will allow for up to eight players at once, and multiplayer is also supported at the local level.
A week of play only felt like scratching the surface and we were only just beginning to understand the capabilities of the track creator. We’re really looking forward to the release of Little Big Planet Karting on the last day of 2012. Don’t forget to add it to your holiday wish list.