LittleBigPlanet Karting Preview (PS3)
Sony has been getting a lot of flack from gamers in response to a handful of titles that bear a striking resemblance to some of Nintendo’s popular franchises. LittleBigPlanet Karting is undisputedly one of them, and after my time with the game at E3, I can’t deny the striking similarities it has with Mario Kart.
A standard versus racing mode and battle option were playable at their booth, both of which (coincidentally) serve as the backbone of Nintendo’s karting experience. While one may jump to the assumption that this is inherently a bad thing, I must say that I enjoyed my time with LBP Karting, as I found it did a decent job at scratching that casual racing itch.
As you might expect, the game sticks to the LittleBigPlanet art style, but plays very much like Modnation Racers, United Front Games’ prior title. As such, those familiar with Modnation will feel right at home. While the course that I raced on felt a bit bare, I’m sure there will be plenty of interesting tracks in the future. Plus, the level editor will undoubtedly aid in adding plenty of diversity once the game launches.
The gameplay itself is quite solid. The driving is tight and responsive, and power sliding at turns to gain speed was particularly satisfying. The power-ups were quite limited, with only a handful available, but there will likely be plenty more upon the game’s release. One unique feature is the added ability – or necessity, rather – to grapple. In order to span large gaps, players are required to grapple to overhead objects and pull their kart across the course.
All in all, LBP Karting serves up a solid, straightforward racing experience that will please any fan of the genre. As is true with other LittleBigPlanet titles, the experience will really shine once the community has finally gotten to mess around with the creation tools.
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