Today, the much anticipated Little Big Planet Karting releases for the PlayStation 3. The new racing game, which is the third LBP game for the console, brings the franchise’s wonderful sense of fun and creativity to the familiar gaming staple of kart racing. The game can be summed up in two words: Awe. Some.
For those who have played one of the Little Big Planet games before, the experience will be very familiar. Players start out in the safety of their pods, a home base for your character, known as a sackperson. From here, you can select and decorate outfits, karts, and choose a track to race on. For the more ambitious, grab Little Big Planet‘s familiar tools and begin creating your own track or choose from the ever-growing list of user-generated tracks and games. This time around, the creation tools include a HUD editor, dynamic text, and more tools than ever before.
The biggest change in Little Big Planet Karting is the jump from a near 2-D environment to a 3-D game. Where previous games scrolled side-to-side and up and down, Karting throws this convention to the wind and drives deep into your television where your sackperson is tasked with racing – and beating – the Hoard, evil minions who are bent on ruining life in the Craftsphere, the world of the sackpeople.
The game takes everything that’s great about the LBP series and quickens it in fast-paced races and mini-games that forward your sackperson’s progress through the story. Races, whether they are against the Hoard or another human, involve laps of simple or complex tracks, riddled with turns and obstacles, jumps and shortcuts. To make matters more difficult, strewn across the courses are weapons that allow you to attack your opponents and defend against their retaliations. Heat-seeking missiles, lightning clouds, and mines are just a few of the weapons you’ll have in your arsenal.
The grappling hook returns from earlier games to help you across big gaps and that’s not the only returning element. Stickers, stamps, and score bubbles all return, and in a magnanimous gesture, nearly all DLC costumes previously purchased in LBP games will be available in LBPK. It’s all sandwiched by the recognizable, comforting, and refined grandfatherly narration that hugs you like a warm blanket, guiding you along in your journey.
Your “quickitude” will be tested on 30 tracks, minigames, and levels out of the box and much, much more user-generated content will be available in the LBPK community. “The user generated content will be amazing,” said Community Manager for Little Big Planet Karting, Michael Buffaloe, “[there will be] levels that don’t even relate to karting, things like board games and much more.”
Gameplay can be augmented by the new PlayStation Move Racing Wheel. The wheel, described in the video below, utilizes the Move motion control system and adds a whole new dimension to Little Big Planet racing.
There were many challenges in bringing this game to the PlayStation. A new developer, a new 3-D environment, and the challenge of living up to the LBP name. As the dust settles, Little Big Planet Karting aims to be atop the podium with this great new game, possibly slingshotting ahead of its predecessors in the final turn. The series has been a longtime resident in the PlayStation console at our house and this new iteration is not likely to be unseated anytime soon. For fun, creativity, and a great, family-friendly gaming experience, it’s Little Big Planet Karting at the checkered flag.