LittleBigPlanet Karting

 

Learning(i)

Creative kart racer lets kids set their imagination loose.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game encourages imagination, creativity, social play, and friendly competitiveness. It also endeavors to entertain kids with fast-paced action that includes explosion and wrecked karts, but the violence is mild and cartoonish. 

Positive role models

Avatars take the shape of mute burlap dolls. Players can customize them however they like, but they won't learn much from them. Game host Stephen Fry, on the other hand, makes for a fine example of a good instructor, slowly but surely leading players through dozens of tutorials with charm and kindness. Some kids may also take behavioral cues from other players in their living room or online.

Ease of play

This racer is easy to play with simple driving controls, no need to place first in story events to progress, and a special difficulty level for younger players. Be aware, though, that actually winning races can be quite difficult, even when playing on the easiest setting. Basic track editing is a snap, too, allowing kids as young as 6 or 7 to create their own courses without any help in a matter of minutes.

Violence & scariness

Players attack opponents' karts with rockets, lightning bolts, giant boxing gloves, and other whimsical weapons. They can also swat at other drivers with their sack person's tiny hands, causing them to skid. Smashed karts disappear in a flash of light, springs and chunks of woods littering the roadway, then quickly reappear a little further down the track. There's no death, injury, screams, or gore.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy and safety concerns. Players can communicate with strangers via text (they can write/read descriptions and reviews of custom content) and live voice chat during multiplayer games. We didn't encounter any untoward behavior while playing online, but there is a chance kids could be exposed to bad language and inappropriate topics of conversation.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that LittleBigPlanet Karting is a family-friendly kart racing game. It creates a fun social atmosphere for two players in the same room, and offers a wide variety of creative possibilities in its track, kart, and character editing modes. As in most kart racers, there is some cartoony violence involving punching, rockets, and exploding vehicles, but none of the characters ever appear injured, die, or even shout out. Parents should also be aware that this game supports open text and voice communication with strangers, but it is optional.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum

Arts

  • drawing
  • painting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • strategy

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

A fairly average kart racer in terms of presentation and racing action, but it's circuit editor could prove highly rewarding for kids interested in designing their own video game content.

Learning Approach

Kids with a creative itch can exercise their imaginations developing and sharing tracks, karts, and avatars. It's almost like an introductory course in game design.

Support

Plenty of instruction is available for the track editor, if required. Most kids, however, will likely just jump in and begin experimenting, learning via trial and error. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • momentum

Arts

  • drawing
  • painting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • hypothesis-testing
  • logic
  • strategy

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • friendship building

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about video game design as they work to produce their own digital content in this highly creative kart racing game. Younger kids can exercise their imagination by customizing avatars and karts. They'll also receive an introduction to game-making as they build simple tracks that they can test and race in minutes. Older kids can learn more complex game-making techniques, such as how to design and trigger events. LittleBigPlanet Karting engages kids in building their own video games and gives them a chance to build friendships by playing with other kids in the same room.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

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What's it about?

Sony's popular create-a-game franchise tackles the world of kart racing in LITTLEBIGPLANET KARTING. It looks and feels like one of the LittleBigPlanet adventure games -- which means you're playing in textile worlds cleverly filled with everyday objects. And yet all of the action takes place on twisty three-dimensional tracks filled with imaginative power-ups. Think Mario Kart, but with sack folk in place of Luigi and Princess Peach, plus some original power-ups in the form of a fast-forward trick and the ability to turn your cart into giant, quick-moving boxing glove. The game's simple stories play out over more than 70 quick races in the campaign mode. They'll collect prizes along the way that they can use to customize avatars and karts, and design their own circuits in a track-editing mode before sharing them online in the game's bustling community.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

LittleBigPlanet Karting is a great way for kids of nearly all ages to express their creative sides. The track editor is simple enough to let young kids build and paint race-able circuits in minutes, yet sufficiently deep rnough to allow older players to spend hours developing wonderfully complex circuits with moving elements and beautiful backdrops that feel as though they could have been made by the game's designers. Lots of kids will likely spend more time making than playing.

However, the racing action could do with a little more polishing. For example, it's difficult to tell when karts are touching the road or hovering just above it due to a slight change in elevation. This can result in missed turns and poorly timed jumps. Plus, playing on even the easiest skill level can prove a challenge for folks who want to win. Computer-controlled opponents have a preternatural knack for unleashing their weapons and special abilities just before the player crosses the finish line, snatching away victory. Thankfully, you don't have to place first to progress the story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Where do you draw the line on violence that your kids can see? What signs do you look for that tell you they may be adversely affected by the violence they currently watch in games, movies, and shows?

  • Families can also discuss online safety. Have you considered switching off communication features in the games your younger kids play? Have you talked to them about the steps they should take if confronted by an online bully or, worse, a suspected predator?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:November 6, 2012
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:E for Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief (PlayStation 3)

This review of LittleBigPlanet Karting was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byteen_n_happy November 15, 2012
age 6+
 
LEARNING

Great game!

I got the game a few days ago and I think it's a fantastic game! It has inspired me to be creative about everything I say, make or do. In short, this game is very inspiring and has a very good educational value. Also it has a great multiplayer with fantastic user made levels.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns

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