Nintendo’s moustached Mario has been king of the karting games for some time now (seven editions in fact), but now a couple of upstarts are attempting to steal the short plumbers karting krown.  Little Big Planet’s SackBoy is taking to the kart tracks as a PlayStation exclusive, whilst Sonic the Hedgehog is bringing his transformed racing pals along for the ride.


Two distinctly different kart racing games have recently hit the store shelves, Little Big Planet Karting for the PlayStation 3 and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed across just about every modern gaming platform.  

The soothing oration of Stephen Fry introduces us to the Imagisphere, an area in space created by the random thoughts of grid-locked motorists.  Within the Imagisphere SackBoys and SackGirls live out a creative life, but the Horde has arrived to ruin their fun.  The chosen form of harassment seems to manifest simply as racing against, or trying to blow SackBoy away in weapon arenas.

The guts of LBP Karting is more than the racing experience, thankfully, because karting in the LBP world feels very loose.  In a similar way to the parent platforming games, the karting controls in this release are somewhat spongy.

All the powerups are here with guided missiles and other offensive weaponry on hand with the twist being that all can be used defensively if activated at the split second before impact.  The fast-forward power up is handled really nicely in the game, boosting the player forward as if via the TV remote control.
LBPKarting1
Other LBP quirks are present; the grappling hook helps navigate karts around the imaginative tracks, and bubbles containing all manner of collectibles can be gathered.  These are then used to customise karts, Sackboy racers and the Pod that Sackboy inhabits.  Beyond that, the creative building side of LBP kicks in; the ability to create your own tracks and arenas, and share them with the world is a big part of the game.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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