My experiences with Sony’s Play, Create, Share line of games have been mostly negative to-date. I wanted to love LittleBigPlanet, but couldn’t get over how floaty the jump was. Then I tried Mod Nation Racers, which ultimately turned me off due to its generic karting action and some of the worst load times in this generation. Knowing that, I figured that a LittleBigPlanet karting game made by the Mod Nation Racers people was doomed for failure in my eyes. Yet, when LittleBigPlanet Karting went on sale for dirt cheap through a PlayStation Plus sale, I couldn’t help myself.
This is a run-of-the-mill karting game based in the LBP universe. Like every other entry in the series, it’s narrated by Stephen Fry and you navigate through menus mapped out on a planet. In-game, you can also collect a number of items for use in your own created tracks or to customize Sack Boy. On the surface, this appears to be an authentic LBP experience. However, there’s a distinct lack of visual flair that’s usually present. The overall look of the game isn’t as sharp, as character and environment models look a bit dull and jagged. It’s also lacking a lot of the series’ charm, as everything feels like it’s been soullessly pieced together from other entries in the series.
I could get over that if the racing was great, as I’m not necessarily a fan of that particular universe anyway. Unfortunately, the core racing experience is also lacking. Sack Boy and friends drive at a fairly pedestrian pace, killing any sense of speed. Most of the weaponry is standard issue karting fare. Also, the tracks just aren’t very interesting to race on. Save for a grapple mechanic that doesn’t really add any enjoyment to the experience, you’ve played this before, and have probably played better in virtually every iteration of Mario Kart before it.
Recognizing my pre-conceived biases, LittleBigPlanet Karting already had a lot going against it before I played it. With that said, I’d be all in if this was a quality karting experience. This is not terrible, but from the few hours I played, it’s never better than mediocre. Worse yet, there are some quality standards that I’d expect from an LBP game in terms of presentation that it fails to meet as well. PlayStation owners may not have access to a Mario Kart game for their kart racing needs, but with this having come out around the same time as the awesome Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, it’s hard to this instead.