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

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.

sonic karting

Sonic’s multiplayer boasts split screen, but so does everything else here.



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.

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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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