Karting Face Off: LittleBigPlanet vs. F1 Race Stars vs. Sonic All Stars Transformed

lbp karting

If you love the LittleBigPlanet design style, you’ll love LBP Karting, which looks and feels exactly the same.


LittleBigPlanet Karting looks and feels like LittleBigPlanet, complete with Fry, Sackboy, the Pop-it! and countless other LBP staples that have been there since the first PlayStation 3 version. This is both good and bad: it’s good because it’s familiar and it’s easy to navigate and customise if you’re a LBP fan, but it’s bad because it doesn’t lend itself to straightforward post-pub action for anyone not that used to the way Media Molecule crafted their menu system. Loading times are swift, though, and visually it’s reasonable enough. The game runs at 30 frames per second.

F1’s presentation is lovely, all big chunky buttons and obvious prompts, set across a mostly unified user interface. It’s easy to jump into a race, even if a couple of the menus aren’t fully explained, and loading times are very quick. The game runs at 60 frames per second (most of the time) too, and the visuals are beautiful, all pastel colours and big thick lines. It’s a lovely game to look at, especially when there’s a busy pack of racers ahead.

Sonic opts for 30 frames per second, and looks mostly fine. There’s some hefty load times on the PS3, though – an option to install the game to the hard drive would have been most welcome. The menu clunks and drags along a bit too, although in game it’s all nice and slick as you’d hope. There’s something of a plasticky feel to the visuals, but they’re pleasant enough and over the massive range of levels and race types it’s all consistent.

We’d probably say F1 looks the best and is easiest to get into, Sonic next, then LittleBigPlanet bringing up the rear. All three of them could learn from Nintendo though, and strip those menus back to ensure there’s no confusion.

Presentation winner: F1 Race Stars.

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  1. Cool I was unsure about Sonic, but going by this I think I’ll go ahead and buy it, sounds great.

    • Wasn’t interested at all until now. Is there a demo available, guys?

      • There is indeed, although I don’t know anything about the demo as it went on the store the same day the full game was released…..which I’d duly received from Pat with his morning mail delivery! Demo is a 1.3GB download btw ;)

      • Cheers, fella. Much appreciated. Will check it out next time I switch the PS3 on. :-)

  2. I’m reading the mobile site on my 3GS and the big text quotes are covering the main text, just so you guys know. Nice article though, it’ll help me pick a game to rent for a games night next month.

  3. I found this very interesting because I found the original Sonic and All Stars a bit heavy on the rubber banding and too loud and brash.
    I want as close to a mario kart as I can get on my PS3 really so maybe I’ll give the Transformed version a go.

  4. The most relevant article on the releases, better even than weighing up 3 reviews probably carried out by 3 separate people.

    The demos had me heavily favouring Sonic, felt F1 was really poor with terrible kart handling, LBPK didn’t float my boat either – apart from woeful loading times I much preferred MNR to that.

    Sonic just felt right & picking it up when I can

  5. Great article and more or less sums up my thoughts before these games were released and indeed afterwards! I chose Sonic from the big three as a first choice with the intention of maybe bargain binning the other two games at a later date..
    Sonic all stars racing transformed is the right up there with the old Ninty karting games that I used to love.

    The variety of tracks, gameplay modes and vehicles/characters is nothing short of amazing and the most addictive fun in any karting game for years. Transformations of vehicles and tracks are utter genius!

    The difficulty has been beefed right up for this game at the Expert level but that simply adds to the addictiveness of that “just one more try for the win” factor and hours lost :P

    The only problem that I’ve found found with the game graphically is the “Rainbow road” type track in the sky, as you can see it being re-drawn in the distance as you are hurlting along, but otherwise everything’s good…it only occurs on that one track.

    It’s a bit ironic that there is no drifting in F1 race stars and yet it’s such an essential part of gameplay in Sonic transformed to be able to win races or events in order to help progression in the game.

    • The one from Colors? Yeah, I love that track.

    • Yeah Starry Speedway track, if you are on a level 3 drift boost and shifting along at a fair rate of knots the track can be seen being drawn in the distance. Great track and not a problem once you are familiar with it though.

    • I thought that drawn in was intentional as it appears with various different effects, and it also draws under karts off into the distance.

      • Yeah it probably is seeing as it doesn’t occur anywhere else. I just found it a little odd on the first few drives of the track and was drifting off track at some of the turns busy watching the track ahead being drawn……a co-ordination thing I think.

      • I’m sure in the Wii/DS Sonic Colour’s title you actually draw ‘trails’ at speed, so presumably the circuit drawing itself is a play on that?

      • Quite possibly, added to the other effects being conjured up on the forthcoming stage.

  6. I might get Sonic & All-Stars Racing depending on if the Vita version is similar to the console version.

    • I’m waiting for word on any form of cross play, but I think my first choice will be the ps3 version for split screen.

      • If that was coming we would of heard something by now.

      • True. But we don’t know anything about the Vita version, so I hope it turns out good.

    • Well it’s sega and they did a great job with Virtua Tennis 4 so hopefully this is a good port aswell.

  7. Word of warning about LBPK, the online multiplayer is dire. Keeps dropping grouped players and crashing on load screens. The track rotation is practically non existent too in mp. Have to vote for next MP round, gives you a choice of 2 standard and 1 community track, generally same 4 standard tracks and always the same 2 community tracks. Create mode is also glitchy and crashy. In the unlikely event they do fix it, it would be awesome. But UFG don’t seem interested & have pointed people to Sony Customer Services when trying to report problems.

  8. How does transformed compare with the original because i found it to be a very average karting game. The big thing about lbp karting for me is the potential. User generated levels/tracks could see some amazing things come out if lbp2 is anything to go by.

    I never really played sonic or mario when i was a kid so i don’t really have a great affection for either. As a result their karting versions haven’t clicked with me the way they have for others

    • I thought the first Sonic all stars karting was good but this one is superb with bells on. I don’t have any affection for Sonic either, never been keen on the Sonic platformers but this karting game needs no Sonic affiliation pull…..it is excellent in it’s own right!

  9. Nice idea. Was hoping to pick up a game like this over Xmas so this has made my decision much easier :)

  10. yep defo racing game of the year :D

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