Tuesday, June 18, 2013

LittleBigPlanet Karting Review!

So, as I beat games, I figure I'll review them if I see it fit. Love it or hate it, might as well voice some opinion I guess.

Why I tried the game: I've been meaning to play this for a while now. I have always been a fan of Mario Kart (who isn't?) but the bitter taste left in my mouth by Mod Nation Racers turned me off of this game. I really disliked MNR while everyone else seemed to enjoy it. This has the LBP name attached to it, so I figured it'd be a higher quality game, but it got placed on the back burner for some time for me. As of last Tuesday, LBPK was made available for free to Playstation Plus subscribers...well, that was a no brainer. My Plus subscription runs out on the 22nd, so I wanted to make sure to get this and play it as fast as possible.

Likes: I have to mention the handling of the karts first off. The simple control and ease of play in Mario Kart has been the driving force for me. I don't want to have to get used to driving in a specific way or carefully. I want to hold down the accelerator and maybe drift around some corners. If I wanted a realistic racing sim I'd have to get used to the control scheme of, I'd play a realistic racing sim. LBPK provides an excellent "pick up and play" experience. I have confidence that I could let a younger kid or even my own mother play this game and they'd have no problem making it around the track.

I also really enjoy how much of the LBP world translates into this game. The prize bubbles, the score bubbles, the quirky story line. I wasn't expecting it to be quite the same. I was counting on customization of your character and kart of course, but I didn't think it'd be quite as cool as it was. Very fun.

Of course the online community is very strong here, as with other LBP games. Call me crazy, but I'm generally a person who plays through the story line and maybe a few of the top online levels and calls it quits. I'm not big into checking out player made stuff, nor am I big into the creation aspect of the games. It seems insane to say that because much of the appeal of the LBP universe is drawn from these features, but hey, its just not for me. If it is your thing however, I'm sure you'd very much enjoy it.

The length of the game felt appropriate, with the different track themes divided into "planets". There is a slew of mini games and other collectables if you are a completionist, and I'm sure they extend the longevity of the game significantly. The bare minimum "play this to unlock this" levels seem perfectly paced. I don't find myself wanting more story mode tracks at the end of the game, and any urge I might have to continue is easily achieved through the high replayability  of any karting game.

The unique game modes are fun - the battle style levels are actually very fun and well designed. I didn't find myself struggling to win against the AI or groaning when one was up next. The weapons in the game manage to be cute and still effectively satisfy your inter sadist.

Dislikes: Honestly, its difficult for me to come up with any kind of dislikes here. I'm not typically a racing or sports game type of gamer, but karting games tend to appeal to everyone. Its got a story line, but its obviously not going to leave you in tears or jumping for joy. Its a fun little game made for everyone. You should be able to sink hours and hours into it without noticing.

My only real complaint - and its a minor one - is one of the planets featured a "keep away" type game. It required you to grab an egg from the AI and keep it as long as possible. I had a lot of trouble getting the egg, and had to turn the difficulty down from normal to easy after a number of failed attempts. I played the rest of the game crossing my fingers that there wouldn't be another one of these levels and there wasn't. Reflecting, it wasn't that big of a deal and added to the diversity of the game. But I did spend the rest of the time hoping there wouldn't be another, so thats something significant I guess.

Conclusion: If you're a LBP fan, I'm sure you've probably already played this. If you happen to enjoy Mario Kart, if you have younger players in your home, if you have a significant other you're trying to get to play a game with you, look no further. The $30 (USED) price tag at Gamestop is quite steep, $20 from eBay is a tad more realistic. Or, do yourself a favor and snag a Playstation Plus membership for a few bucks and give it a "rent". Odds are, you'll be done with it by the time your 3 months is up, and you'll have gotten a number of other games that made it worth your while anyway.

7.5 Sackboys out of 10.

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