The pre-Christmas rush is normally one entirely occupied by the likes of EA and Activision, with first person shooters and annual sports franchises clogging up the shelves. And whilst the former publisher tends to push out yet another Need For Speed at this time, this year there’s been a considerable shift in emphasis in the genre, with three karting games all vying for your cash. Two of them are multi-format, but they’re all on the PS3, so – let’s find out which is best.
Playing a karting game with mates is normally the option most people will pick, especially after they’ve sampled the single player to unlock some courses. You’ll need to do just that with LittleBigPlanet Karting – the multiplayer section (four player split screen, eight player online) is locked off initially and you’ll need to discover the multiplayer courses in single player to unlock them one by one. This might sound a bit daft, but it won’t take long to open up at least a few.
Sonic All Stars has a similar issue – its courses are also locked off until opened up in single player, although you can have multiple people joining in on the campaign action from the off, so it’s not nearly as restrictive. All Stars has ten player online.
However, F1 Race Stars has the gamut of its eleven tracks open from the start, making it an obvious choice here for those that just want some quick multiplayer action, and the frame rate holds up even with four players sharing a screen – the crisp visuals and lack of clutter only emphasising Codemasters’ clear focus on offline fun. The game also supports up to twelve players online, too.
The winner here isn’t automatically the one with the lowest barrier to entry, though. Although with F1 you can get home and start playing in full right away, Sonic All Stars is close behind, and potentially offers the most fun long term with the wider variety in the tracks and the types of racing, via its clever use of multiple vehicles. The handling in F1 is still a bugbear, too, that uncomfortable blend of arcade and sim never really clicking.
Multiplayer winner: Sonic And All Stars Racing Transformed.