A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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 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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.