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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3
- Subjects: Arts: drawing, painting
- Skills: Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Communication: friendship building
Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, logic, strategy
- 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
For kids who love racing and creating
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