On your marks, get set, create!
ModNation Racers looks like... well, it looks like whatever you want it to be! You can create your own mod characters, karts and tracks and share them with the world via PlayStation Network. Thanks to the accessible yet infinitely flexible creation tools and the imagination of the community, you might never race the same track or line up against the same mod ever again.
Using the Creation Station to build mods, karts and tracks, there are two tiers of complexity - it's easy to come up with a unique, cool looking creation in minutes, or you can delve deeper and discover just how intricate it can get. Take the mods and karts: you may just choose some favourite parts from those provided, be they haircuts, T-shirts or a hamster in a wheel powering a sports car, add on some stickers and be happy. But with practice you could be layering stickers to create custom badges, changing material properties to get a metallic paint job and much more. The possibilities are endless.
The same applies to creating tracks; laying down your course is simply a matter of driving around a field and using the right stick to adjust the elevation. Then you can choose to auto populate the track, which will add scenery and gameplay elements such as boost pads, jumps and obstacles, and you're ready to race in minutes.
Or, you can pore over the placement of every tree and explosive barrel. You can create multiple routes and shortcuts. You can create mountains, valleys, tunnels and then set the position of the sun so that their shadows cast just where you want them. Or you can simply dump a flock of camels in the middle of a straight road and try to jump them. Everything is up to you.
Millions of miles of mayhem
On the track, the general aim is to cross the finish line first - it is called ModNation Racers, after all. However, getting there requires a little more strategy. You can use the X button to drift around corners to fill your boost meter, giving you a limited burst of speed. However, your shield, activated with the Circle button, also depletes this meter, so it's worth bearing this in mind before tearing through the field - you don't want to leave yourself exposed to a rocket up the back bumper.
Weapons are crucial to getting ahead of the pack and they include Bolt, Jumpstart and Sonic Boom. You can grab one by picking up Item Pods as you speed round the track. You then have the choice of using it there and then or going for another Item Pod and getting an upgraded version of that weapon; you can even collect a third for the ultimate upgrade. For example, the Straight Shot rocket can take out a single opponent, but upgrade it to the Swarm and it homes in on its victim; take it all the way to the Hydra and it will practically destroy the entire field.
Career Central is where you'll find the main single player mode. Here, you control Tag through the ups and downs of a ModNation career, guided throughout by antagonistic commentators Biff Tradwell and Gary Reasons. The gameplay is comprised of a series of tournaments held on tracks created by ModNation Racers' developer, United Front Games. Performing well in each race opens the next contest and unlocks new creation objects. There are also objectives to meet, such as taking out a certain opponent, that unlock further creation materials.
Brush bumpers with the community
Up to 12 players can compete in online races. The two types available are Casual Races, in which the player creating the race chooses everything from the track to the number of laps, and XP Races, where you compete with other ModNation Racers to earn XP (experience points) and climb the leaderboards.
If you're having friends over, you can also have split screen races for up to four players around the TV and gain the advantage of being able to elbow the leader if they get too far ahead.
For even greater home advantage, you could race one of your own created courses either in split screen, Casual or Single Race game modes. Sharing your created tracks, mods and karts with the rest of the online community couldn't be easier: just head over to the Share machines, select your creation and hit the Publish button. Simple!
That way, any other ModNation Racers player in the world can see what you have made, download it into their game and even make minor tweaks of their own (don't worry, you'll still get some of the credit). Best of all, you can see which creations have been downloaded most and rated highest by the community, taking you straight to the juiciest bits.