Support our mission
 
“ModNation Racers” compares favorably with a famous kart racing game that stars an Italian plumber.
“ModNation Racers” compares favorably with a famous kart racing game that stars an Italian plumber. (Sony/Games Press)

Racing games have been around since the early days of gaming. Their popularity continues to expand along with the volume of racing titles you’ll find at your local video game outlet.

However, rarely does something fresh come along to change things up within the genre. Until now, that is.

The developers at Sony Computer Entertainment kick it into a new gear with the release of “ModNation Racers” for the PlayStation Portable.

The E-rated kart racing game sports an unparalleled array of customizing options, from adding ramps to the track (or a row of cows, if you prefer) to transforming your driver into your favorite character (Mickey Mouse, Marvin the Martian or even a scary-looking Ronald McDonald were just a few I tried). You can even have that character sit on a toilet seat as he drives. Not sure why you’d want to do that, but it’s all in play and easy to do.

“We had a lot of comparisons of ‘LittleBigPlanet’ meets ‘Mario Kart,’ ” said SCE’s Vernon Mollette, the producer of ModNation Racers. “It’s pretty impressive that we were able to take the game from the PS3 (PlayStation 3 version) to the PSP and not sacrifice any part of the game. People said we were pretty mental for trying to pack so much on the PSP. The results have exceeded our expectations.”

Customizing aside, there is plenty under the hood of this game. It features a very clean, straightforward menu interface to go along with the simple controls and game play. And even before you start letting your imagination dictate how you want things to look, the game comes with 27 interesting tracks of its own to play.

The racing is pretty standard, but the game packs plenty of twists, turns, jumps and explosions to make it a very fun play.

ModNation Racers also gives you the option of competing against others by using the ad-hoc mode, which forms a wireless connection between up to six different players. You can also post your customized track, karts and drivers on modnationonline.com, where others can pick them up for their own use.

The game’s overall style and look is pretty simplistic, but it really works in its favor. It’s no “Gran Turismo,” but it isn’t trying to be. It’s every bit as fun and looks just as good as the PlayStation3 version. And it’s a game that both kids and adults will enjoy.

But key to getting the most out of the game is being creative.

“The cream will rise to the top,” Mollette said in regard to players sharing their creations on the website. “We decided in the beginning that we wouldn’t limit the player creation.”

The PS3 and PSP versions of “Racers” are being released simultaneously, but the PSP has some added features. One of those is the Stomp, a weapon that can destroy another player’s kart. There is also a special mode called “Last Kart Standing,” a new take on the demolition derby.

All in all, I highly recommend picking up ModNation Racers. It’s a fresh take on an old standby.

PS3 version ideal for families

Sony’s PlayStation 3 is known as the home of shooters and gods of war. However, with "ModNation Racers," the console plants its feet firmly in family-friendly territory.

The PS3 version offers the same cartoony characters, outlandish tracks and fun game play as the PSP game. It also lets up to four players compete head-to-head on the same screen. This helps the game stack up well against Nintendo’s popular "Mario Kart" series.

What pushes "ModNation" ahead of "Mario" is the ability to customize your cars and characters and to build your own tracks from scratch. The track-building mechanic is easy and fun — actually, it’s downright addictive.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 is known as the home of shooters and gods of war. However, with "ModNation Racers," the console plants its feet firmly in family-friendly territory.

The PS3 version offers the same cartoony characters, outlandish tracks and fun game play as the PSP game. It also lets up to four players compete head-to-head on the same screen. This helps the game stack up well against Nintendo’s popular "Mario Kart" series.

What pushes "ModNation" ahead of "Mario" is the ability to customize your cars and characters and to build your own tracks from scratch. The track-building mechanic is easy and fun — actually, it’s downright addictive. — Brian Bowers/Stars and Stripes

Platforms: PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3

On the Web: www.modnation.com/en_us/

Migrated

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up