|Developer(s)||United Front Games
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (co-op/competitive)|
LittleBigPlanet Karting is a kart racing game for the PlayStation 3, centred around user-generated content, as part of the LittleBigPlanet series. The game is developed by United Front Games, who had previously developed the 2010 user-generated content kart racing game ModNation Racers for the PlayStation 3, in conjunction with series creators Media Molecule. The game was published by Sony Computer Entertainment and was released in November 2012.
LittleBigPlanet Karting is a racing game in which the players races against each other in a go-kart across a variety of themed tracks, with the primary purpose to come in first in a race. Throughout the course of the race, players can pick up weapons that have special abilities like projectiles, heat seeking projectiles, EMPs and grenades, and use these weapons to attack and slow down competitors. Weapons can be fired both forwards and backwards and can even cancel out seeker missiles when fired in reverse. Players can also pick up boost items such as Autopilot and Fast Forward. Karting includes LittleBigPlanet 2's grappling hook mechanic during races. Players are required to grapple across large expanses, climbing through the environment to progress and occasionally even finding elevated shortcuts. Players have the ability to reach out and slap somebody, stunning racers who get too close.
Karting has an emphasis on modes unlike traditional circuit racing, like Battle Mode, Waypoint Races, Treasure Hunts, Score Attacks and more. The Battle Mode, an eight player arena battle, whereby players fight it out in an arena style vehicular combat match, where players pick up weapons like seeker missiles in the arena and use them to take straight shots to hit other players and earn points.
Similar to other games in the LittleBigPlanet series, user-generated content plays a pivotal role in the game's gameplay style using the series' "Play, Create, Share" motto. Users can customize their Sackboy as well as his karts and create their own tracks, which may extend to having genres other than just racing. The track editor allows users to adjust and create their own game rules, weapons and tracks and subsequently share them online through the PlayStation Network for other users to download and play. If the default AI is bothersome, users are able to tweak that as well. All tracks and modes have asynchronous multiplayer, even those tracks made by users.
LittleBigPlanet's trademark Pod is the game's hub, though it has been expanded into a large, cardboard spaceship, with which the player travels between the game's various modes. Inside the Pod, the Sackboy can be customised, as can the cart, frames, wheels, and paint. Any in-game object can be turned into a weapon, or objects can be "painted" into the game for more talented and patient artists.
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Players continue Sackboy's journey after the events of the second game. The Story Mode features Sackboy racing against The Hoard, which plan to steal the Craftverse's prizes for "no reason other than to hoard [hold] them." Players begin the story mode by hopping into a cart crashed by a member of The Hoard, and takes off after the devils to reclaim the stolen prizes. Sackboy races through many places ransacked by the hoard, aided by the Sackbots.
Themes include (in consecutive order) -LittleBigPlanet -Monster Islands -Victoria's Laboratory -The Progress Emporium -Eve's Asylum -The Space Bass -Hoard, Sweet Hoard
Reports of a kart racing game for PlayStation 3 called LittleBigPlanet Karting surfaced following a Sony retailer event in February 2012. No information had been publicly released by the publisher other than confirmation that the game is in development. Numerous reports from the Destination PlayStation event indicated that the game would be released alongside a PlayStation Move steering wheel peripheral and would be 3D-capable.
LittleBigPlanet Karting was officially confirmed by Sony with an official announcement on 22 March 2012. Media Molecule Studio Director, Siobhan Reddy, stated "With LittleBigPlanet's powerful and diverse toolset in [United Front Games] capable hands, LittleBigPlanet Karting is sure to be an adventure that both LittleBigPlanet fans and kart racing fans alike will enjoy!" Reports of 3D and PlayStation Move support from the Destination PlayStation event were confirmed.
Even though LittleBigPlanet Karting carries all the signs of a simple spinoff, it's actually a brand new game with an expansive 3D world, as well as a brand new engine. Senior Producer, Kyle Zundel, stated that gamers can expect more than a ModNation Racers game starring Sackboy. "LittleBigPlanet Karting offers more karting modes than ModNation Racers, including a Battle Mode and open arena Waypoint Racing. In addition the LittleBigPlanet Karting level editor allows players to create more than just tracks; creators can modify game rules, create weapons, and more."
Design Director at United Front Games, William Ho, stated that the game it’s the sort of game that appeals to kids, including the kid buried in most grown-up gamers. "I think Kart racers appeal to the kid in everyone," William Ho told reporters. "There’s a universality to driving around in a go kart in fantastic places – and there’s a universality to the materials in LittleBigPlanet."
In May 2012, William Ho stated there were no immediate plans for a PlayStation Vita version of LittleBigPlanet Karting as "We are concentrating 100% on making the PS3 version LittleBigPlanet Karting the very best it can be".
Sony collaborated with several retail outlets on several pre-order incentive. In North America, the pre-order bonus consisted of the "Kevin Butler Pack", which includes a Kevin Butler-themed Sackboy costume and an Executive Golf Kart. Those who pre-ordered at GameStop received the "Headstart Pack", which unlocks over 900 items – karts, costumes, materials, and music. Also for GameStop pre-orders, customers received a United Front Games General Costume and an Arcade Cabinet Kart.
In Europe, the availability varied by retailer and locale. One of the two pre-order bonus consisted of the "Game Maker Pack". With this, the Sackboy can dress up as a racing car driver, as a mascot of United Front Games or as PlayStation VP Kevin Butler (despite the character never being used in Europe). It also includes a racing car kart, arcade machine kart and executive golf buggy kart. The other pre-order bonus, "Headstart Pack", unlocks over 900 items – karts, costumes, materials, and music.
Exclusive to Europe, a Special Edition of the game comes with a lenticular 3D cover. It also includes both pre-order packs ("Game Maker's Pack" and "Headstart Pack").
The LittleBigPlanet Karting beta began on July 10, 2012, for a selected number of players who had opted-in to receive codes on a specific European LittleBigPlanet Karting beta sign-up page, and more vouchers were dispersed as the beta continued through July 31. On June 19, Sony opened the beta for European PlayStation Plus subscribers from 3pm UK and lasted for 24 hours. Many PSN users that participated in the beta have claimed that they have not received their beta vests.
Kyle Hilliard from GameInformer gave LittleBigPlanet Karting 8/10, and stated "A fun racer that almost feels more like a LittleBigPlanet game than it does a kart racer." Lorenzo Veloria from GamesRadar gave it 4/5, stating "Karting does a great job of mixing franchises' creative features and delivering strong racing gameplay to make one of the most adorable and enjoyable kart racers you can find."
Hadyn Green from NZGamer gave LittleBigPlanet Karting a 9.4/10, and stated "The stupid grins on our faces, the uncontrollable laughs and the humming of the music long after the race was over, show that his game is fun right through to its adorable little core." Mike Jackson from Machinima.com gave the game a 9/10, saying "...the solid racing core laid out by ModNation Racers combined with the universe of creativity, variety and charm that the LBP franchise is known for makes for a karting game with near limitless potential and unrivaled multiplayer racing fun."
Tom Orry from VideoGamer gave the game 7/10, and stated "Play it, mess around with its tools, and have fun, but LittleBigPlanet Karting's lack of personality will result in no long-lasting impression." Greg Miller from IGN gave Karting 5/10, stating "The game pulls from both the [LittleBigPlanet] and [ModNation Racers] universes without ever finding its own voice."
Phil Iwaniuk from Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) gave it 8/10, and stated "What it might lack in terms of raw driving appeal, LBP Karting compensates for with a charmingly unhinged single-player, chaotic multiplayer and all the customisable bells and whistles you could ask for."
Jim Sterling from Destructoid gave it 6.5/10, stating "It's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, and can even manage to be quite fun in the right environment, but it's altogether a fairly meaningless release that seems to exist just to ensure Sony has something out in time for the holiday season that isn't [PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale]".
Many unaddressed issues of LittleBigPlanet Karting include a lack of a backup option, a complaint of many players. Additionally, many glitches were left unpatched, such as other players seemingly floating off of the map during online play. Also, the user interface is quite buggy, sporting many issues such as incorrect profile and level statistics, plus automatically checking every level during the online play voting session, causing the current level to restart. The game is also very unstable while levels are loading, and may sometimes freeze. Additionally, the Team Pick and Cool Pages categories in the community level menu have not been updated for a prolonged time, resulting in complaints to the community coordinator.
LittleBigPlanet Karting features a level editor, similar to the ModNation Racers editor. LittleBigPlanet Karting's create mode uses the same concept of LittleBigPlanet, featuring a menu similar to LittleBigPlanet's popit menu to access objects and materials, plus other tools. It also features Play, Rewind, and Undo options to test your creations, undo an unwanted action, or redo something that you accidentally undid. You can choose "Create Track and Arena" from your popit menu to create an arena or track, and also specify what texture(s) you want the track to be made out of. Terrian allows you to create lakes, ditches, and landforms in complex shapes, plus change the terrain material.
Global Controls allows players to change the lighting, water, and fog levels plus audio reverb and themes. The Tools Bar contains sound effects, music, and various tools to use in your level. The Goodies Bag contains materials to built objects and pre-built objects, and Stickers contain stickers collected during story mode to use in your levels and also pictures that you took.
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