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SDCC 2012: Littlebigplanet Karting Hands-On Preview
We took Sackboy and friends for a spin in Littlebigplanet Karting today at the San Diego Comic Con, and although we didn't get a chance to test out the track editor, we did get to drive a few laps and sample a few of the weapons.
Most of the weapons and other items are of your standard Mario Kart variety, albeit with a Littlebigplanet, DIY vibe to it all. The boost, for example, takes the form of a fast-forward that rockets you down the track, overlaying an effect like a VHS tape being driven forward. The red and green shell equivalents are firework-like rockets that have been taped and stitched together from spare parts. It's a charming aesthetic that carries over to the track design as well.
The track that we raced on was crafted entirely from cardboard and paper, taped and stapled together. A few neat background effects added to the charm, with a cardboard dragon soaring over a particularly large jump being one of the highlights of the demo.
The game looked great, but it could have played better. The sense of speed was lacking; the races felt slow and the jumps lacked the thrill of danger that's present in kart racers like Mario Kart or Excite Truck. The drifting also left a little something to be desired. Drifing around corners and curves was functional enough, but it felt a little stiff for our tastes.
If Littlebigplanet Karting's level and mission creation suite is anywhere near as strong as that of Littlebigplanet 2, it could still be a great game. The core of the series, after all, has always been the Play, Create, Share mantra that became famous after the first game released. But the gameplay in this case just might not be up to snuff if our demo was any indication. There isn't much time between now and the game's October release date to fix the lacking sense of speed and the stiff drifting, although the build we played was admittedly a few weeks old at this point.
Will Littlebigplanet Karting overcome its control issues to become another fantastic game in the series, or will the gameplay hold it back? Stay tuned for our official review to find out.