"From the developer of ModNation Racers comes LittleBigPlanet Karting, a game that is exactly what it sounds like" might not be the best marketing pitch for Sony's upcoming kart racer, but it really sums up what you're getting with the game. It's ModNation Racers taped to LittleBigPlanet with a dash of Mario Kart scribbled on for good measure. It's exactly what it sounds like.

You customize the Sackboy and its car and everything is cute and it’s made of cardboard. There are dozens of kart bodies to choose from, including flower pots, tin cans, and cupcakes. It’s exactly as adorable as you imagine it is. In fact, that was the main thing we took away from our hands-on time with LittleBigPlanet Karting: everything is really exactly what you expect it to be. Except cuter. Much cuter. Like, so cute we can't get over it. We smile whenever we think of it. 

You’re still riding a cute kart around cute tracks while picking up cute items to throw at your cute opponents, except now it’s so much cuter. Luckily, that cuteness goes a long way to building atmosphere. The vinyl characters of ModNation Racers were appealing, but the actual world itself lacked any character or charm. LittleBigPlanet’s hand-crafted feel, on the other hand, is exploding with it. Clouds held up by strings are simply lovelier than regular, boring clouds. Characters riding in cardboard cars are more appealing that those riding around in metal ones. That's just the way it is. 

When we got our hands on the controller we knew just what to do - how to drift into turns and how to fire weapons at our foes. Years of Mario Kart and ModNation Racers have trained us to feel completely at home in a kart racer, and LBPK doesn't attempt to reinvent the button-glued-to-a-cork wheel. The only real change to the formula comes at with the grappling hook. Certain objects can be grappled in mid-air, letting the karts reach different levels for alternate routes. In a way, it reminds us of the glider from Mario Kart 7 in terms of its use, though it definitely spices up the traditional races by adding some variation to the routes. The developers were also pleased to reveal that battle mode, a kart racer favorite, would be making the release, too, giving you even more to do behind the cardboard wheel. The only thing that felt off was the framerate, which was obviously running at less than 30FPS when we saw it, though the developers promised to get that in check for launch.

Beyond simply "playing," the ability to "create" and "share" will be included, too. United Front Games talked up the level creator, explaining that all of the tools at its disposal would be at players' disposal as well, meaning nearly limitless possibilities. We weren't shown the level creator, but we were told that it would be a hybrid of LittleBigPlanet's and ModNation Racers', which sounds alright in our book.

When LittleBigPlanet Karting was rumored everyone joked that it would essentially be ModNation Racers with LittleBigPlanet rubbed all over it, and, well, that's what it is. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. After checking out PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale we found that our only issues with the brawler was in the areas it departed from the norm, so we're going to count our blessings that United Front is sticking to the formula for this one. It really looks like it has managed to merge best elements of both LBP and MNR together, and as long as it can get the framerate under control it'll be a great way to spend a few dozen hours with friends.


  • ncurry2 - May 2, 2012 6:17 a.m.

    I'm a fairly die hard mario karter but I'll probably still get this because my girlfriend only plays games with that little sack boy in it.
  • ncurry2 - May 2, 2012 6:23 a.m.

    Also, IGN's opening sentence about it: "LittleBigPlanet Karting isn't the game you might expect. While Karting comes from ModNation Racers developer United Front Games, it isn't just a rehash with Sackboy thrown in. In fact, it has the potential to improve upon its predecessor in nearly every way, making for a wholly authentic LittleBigPlanet experience." Lol, I'm going to take your word over theirs Mr. Cooper. They also said the complete opposite about Sony Smash Brothers and that it was extremely balanced. Idk how I can hate IGN so much yet still frequent their website. Maybe just to feed the hate?
  • GR HollanderCooper - May 2, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    Weird. They also didn't like God of War much, whereas I did.
  • ncurry2 - May 2, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    Well I find you fine folks at GR much more reputable n_n. It especially helps that you in particular cover LoL, earning many +1s in my book. Speaking of which, do you ever have some sort of event where you play with the fans or that sort of deal?
  • MrKart - May 2, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    Mario Kart 8?!? Where can I buy this?? Hopefully they actually put Waluigi in this one... Sorry, that was obnoxious. But GR rarely makes mistakes, so when they do, you gotta give them crap for it.
  • Turtman - May 2, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    Crash Team Racing is going to be hard to beat. Good luck sackboy!
  • samantha-harrell - December 28, 2014 9:45 p.m.

    I brought this for my kids first racing game and want to know if there is a way to open all the tracks without completing each level first?

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