Alright, I’ve got two questions for you: 1.) Do you like Little Big Planet as a franchise? 2.) Do you enjoy games such as Mario Kart and Mod Nation Racers? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, Little Big Planet Karting (LBPK from now on) will be the game for you.
I am not here to review the beta or make HUGE assumptions about the game, I am just here to tell you my thoughts on the beta and what I hope they will fix in the final product (they don’t need to do a lot, really). This is a beta and it was a small fraction of what I will be able to do in the real game. So, let’s get down to business.
LBPK is developed by United Front Games with some help from the Little Big Planet Team (Media Molecule). I can only assume that MM is working on something bigger now and decided to give the Karting experience over to those who treaded in very similar territory. As you may know United Front Games created Mod Nation Racers, which, despite its long-ass load times, was loved for its approach to the Karting genre. So, here we are, some years later with a LBP game that involves Karting (and EXPLOSIONS).
If you have played any LBP games in the past, you will immediately notice that most of the user interface is the same. You have a pod, you switch to planets, and you select zipper-holes to play select levels. Not every level is a straight-up race, though. There are battle levels where you destroy other players karts, and RC levels in which you are put at an isometric point of view and race around a tiny, track. Yes, nothing mind-blowing here, but they are all safe course styles and they are presented in that lovable, LBP way.
So, I guess I should talk about the Karting itself, right? The karts handle nice and tight. You drive around slope-y corners, pick up score bubbles, and fire weapons at the other racers. You can drift as well, and the longer you hold the drift the bigger the boost you get coming out of it. The racing feels good, but you never feel as if you are going fast enough. I always felt that the other racers would zoom by me no matter how much I boosted or shot them down. The difficulty felt rather high for a LBP game, so I’m hoping they will tone it down a bit come the release time. One other complaint I have, is that, when your kart is destroyed from a missile (or something) the respawn time is super-long and other karts just wizz pass you. I found that frustrating, United Front!
Honestly, there is nothing here that really blew my mind. The beta felt like LBP but you just had a Kart you could customize as well. You pop-up the little menu then customize anything you like about your character. The game feels so familiar to me that I never felt out of my element.
Oh, and there is the course creator. Hey, remember making levels in LBP? Well, you do the same thing here, but it’s on a flat surface and it similar to Mod Nation Racers. I made my own course with ease and I didn’t even use a tutorial. Yeah, it’s streamlined and accessible, so don’t worry about it being too complicated.
I walked away from the (now closed) beta feeling good about what United Front Games wants to do. It’s more LBP but with a familiar Karting experience. The Sack-people make cute faces, the levels are adorable, and I felt myself smiling at every angle of the game. By now, you know if you’re buying this or not. I just wanted to let you guys know that everything is alright, and the LBP franchise is going to remain as lovable as ever.
Did any of you get to play the Little Big Planet Karting beta? If so, what are your thoughts?