Hands-On Preview: Modio Kart on the go!
If your life is anything like mine, you game a lot on the go. Sometimes, when you're going on a trip somewhere, or you have a long wait, you might want to spend that time digging into a campaign or grinding for some experience. But other times, when you have a short trip on public transportation, or you're stuck somewhere waiting for someone, you just want to take your kart out for a few laps. Well, I've got good news ? ModNation Racers PSP is going to be able to satiate both of those needs. Developed in tandem among SCE San Diego, United Front Games, and Studio Liverpool, the PSP version will ship the same day as the PS3 version ? May 25th. I had a chance to test drive the demo.
As kart racers go, I like them fast, intuitive, and rife with absurdity ? the more ridiculous the power-ups, the better. This portable ModNation Racers gives me all three, and does so in a fun and colorful way. Once you get used to the twists and turns of the tracks, it's fun to go at breakneck speeds. The controls flow very easily ? the R button lets you accelerate and the L button hits the brake, while Triangle lets you use your boost and Square is to unleash your power-ups. Some help you ? the nitrous tank lets you blast off ahead of your opponents ? while others are for the offensive ? like a shockwave that flares out from you and takes out any enemies close enough. And, if you find yourself flying off the track and getting stuck, the Select button puts you back on track ? by literally blowing you up and starting you over again.
If that last move sounds a lot like when you blow up Sackboy in order to restart at an earlier point, that's probably because United Front Games is close with Media Molecule, the creators of LittleBigPlanet. They even share the same motto ? ?Play. Create. Share.? ? to capture the true essence of ModNation Racers. Much like Sackboy has both story levels, user-created content, and the ability for you to create your own levels, so, too, does ModNation Racers have a creative story and a design studio for you to make your own levels. And, of course, once May 25th hits and the imaginative fans get their hands on the game, the content for the game will skyrocket.
However, there's one important difference here: unlike the LBP content creator, the creator in ModNation Racers is so easy that even I was able to create a track in just a few minutes. I was able to lay down some asphalt, throw down some obstacles, scatter some power-ups around, add in some background images, and put in a few ramps. Granted, it wasn't as in-depth as some of the maps I made on graphing paper for my Micro Machines as a kid, but it also didn't take as long, and I didn't use up half a notebook of paper and two pencil erasers. I also didn't lose any of the cars I test drove, in spite of the fact that the ones on the screen were arguably much, much smaller.
In addition to racing and taking out your adversaries, you can also pull off tricks to amass more points. Spinning in mid-air piles on some points ? even more if you can keep those degrees going to 720 ? and there are bonuses for making it around the track in one piece as well. Pull off jumps and tricks, and the commentator will egg you on; crash and burn, and he becomes less than supportive. ?You still in one piece? I'm scared to look,? is one of his favorite lines. His derision becomes even clearer with, ?if racing's not your thing, you could always be a crash test dummy.? He's quicker with the compliments now that I've gotten the hang of racing, but I can tell his insults are just one failed race away.