With Mario Kart dominating the market (circuit?) for years now, trying to make a name for yourself as a new kart racer is extremely difficult. We’ve had games in the past like Diddy Kong Racing and Crash Team Racing that have proven to be effective on their own merits. The secret to their success I imagine though is they were based on established characters (they were awesome games on their own right, but still, they came with very established characters on the box). Going into All-Star Fruit Racing I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s bright and colourful and my kids gravitate towards these kinds of games (kart racing is big in our house) so I was immediately intrigued. After spending many hours go-karting and winning trophies, All-Star Fruit Racing is a great time, especially if you’ve got kids or company coming over.
As its name implies, All-Star Fruit Racing is all about the fruit. Seriously, it’s everywhere. During loading screens, you’ll learn real facts about all the fruits of the world (which I found hilarious, don’t ask me why). Each racer you can select is based on a fruit. What weapons you have access to during a race are entirely based on what fruit you collect on the track. The courses are bright and colourful and full of giant fruit mountains and bridges.
Like I said, it’s all about the fruit.
Included with the game are the standard modes you’ve come to expect including Career, Multiplayer (Online and Split Screen), Time Trial, Custom Race and Custom Championship. My kids and I spent the majority of our time in Career and Multiplayer but in order to gain access to everything, you will have to dabble in the other events. Each circuit varies in design with multiple tracks in each and they’re great to look at and take part in, from the volcanic coconuts in Coco Sunshine to the snow-covered Winter Kingdom, they’re all very easy on the eyes.
While the driving doesn’t feel quite as right as Mario Kart (it almost feels like you’re floating sometimes instead of driving), the controls still handle well and the karts can turn on a dime. You can drift through turns to gain a speed boost, and there is an option to just reset your character back onto the track should you veer to the side of the track or fall off of it completely. The feature that makes this kart racer unique from others is the way you use your power-ups. As you race, you collect fruit off the track. Gathering this fruit will fill up one of four meters in the bottom right-hand corner. You can use the X, A, Y or B buttons (I played on Xbox One) to close off certain fruit meters so you can mix and match as you please. The only downside to being able to concoct your own power-ups is that if I wanted to just use speed boosts all the time and knew the fruit combination by heart, I could just fly around the track like a madman if my opponent didn’t know how to counter this. There are races where there are no fruit and the boosters are completely random like Mario Kart, but most of the time there’s fruit on the track and you can create your perfect weapon based on what position you’re in during the race.
As you win more circuits, you’ll gain access to different decals to outfit your karts with from new tires to little trinkets like an eightball, a flag to represent your country, or some kind of fruit (of course). There are also plenty of secret characters to earn. Out of twenty-two racers, there are a total of five male characters to play as, but they have to be unlocked. The requirements aren’t bad (get a gold trophy in one of the required career races) so if you really like to play as a dude, it’s not a big ordeal to unlocking one. I commend developer 3DClouds.it for mixing it up and bringing the ladies to the forefront, I just found it odd to put all the male characters locked to start. Why not give the option to play as two or something, to begin with, and have the rest to be unlocked after? It didn’t bother my kids or me and it really isn’t a big deal, but I know there will be others out there that could find it a nuisance to have to unlock a male character they would like to just play as from the start.
Overall, All-Star Fruit Racing is a great game to play with the family and a nice alternative to the same old Mario Kart we’ve been busy with for a while now. While some of the driving can feel a bit off (floaty) sometimes, it’s always responsive, the tracks look great, the power-up system is very cool, the characters are full of life and attitude, and there are plenty of unlockables to keep you busy racing for days. – NVJ
All-Star Fruit Racing will be available in North America for PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch on August 21st, 2018
The game is currently available in Early Access to purchase on Steam
Xbox One Review Code provided by PQube PR Team