ModNation Racers: Road Trip PS Vita review
Before they announced LittleBigPlanet Karting, this was LittleBigPlanet on four wheels. A cute little racer that build around a community of gamers creating and designing their own tracks, racers and cars. Now it’s it’s getting a second lap as PS Vita racer. It might be smaller but it still packs in all the same sparkling creation tools to provide one of the most exhaustive course designers we’ve ever seen.
But it’s not all good. Somehow the bright and stylish cartoon looks of the original just haven’t transferred well to the hand held. Road Trip appears to have smeared Vaseline over Vita’s incredi OLED screen. The result is that the whole game is blighted by pop-up and blurry edges. Quite the dubious achievement, seeing as device makes WipEout look so sharp you’d think you were playing on God’s own plasma.
The good news is that off the track the creation tools have a playfulness that make the touchscreen shine. Painting tracks with your finger or dragging the sun to change the time are damn satisfying. It’s intuitive and instant, letting you create tracks and locations quickly.
But while it’s easy to create races, playing them is another matter thanks to ruthless power ups that make racing a joyless messy chaos. Overall the experience is a mixed bag of good and evil. If you’re creative juices flow freely at the thought of making beardy Gandalf drivers and courses that are Mordor-meets-Nürburgring, then lifespan is only limited by your imagination.
For most others, the chaotic karting will soon grate. Those power ups can make racing frustrating and messy with the none of the cleanness that you want from victory to make it satisfying. Intuitive touchscreen tools make Vita’s unique feature set sing, so it’s a shame much of this good work is made near redundant by poor handling and cheaty AI. It sadly means ModNation’s creative side trounces the actual karting.