With fun filled Arcade Racers all but gone from our consoles, it’s about time that someone tried to breathe some fresh life into them once again. At one point there were quite a few to choose from with the likes of Mario Kart etc. All-Star Fruit Racing attempts to re-create those fun filled days, but in its own way.
All-Star Fruit Racing has now been around for a while, It was released back in July 2018, but for some reason I missed out on grabbing it to review. It was only thanks to PQube Games who kindly gave me a review copy that I got around to playing it and I’m glad I did.
3DClouds.it are the guys behind the game; probably not someone who you are familiar with as they have a very small profile so far, but with this game I can see them doing much more in the future.
The Karting genre has slipped in recent years. One that both noobs and seasoned Hardcore Gamers can both excel in has been blown by Sony. They tried to release ModNation Racers and Little Big Planet Kart, both of which were extremely fun, but they went head to head with each other on the PS3 and kind of cancelled each other out in the public eye. Other than that, there have been no memorable titles that I can think of as I am writing this. It’s a pity because I used to spend hours during my childhood playing games like this.
But there lies what could be the first issue for the games release. There is no pedigree to the game, no history. You can’t identify with the characters from any other games. So many other franchises went the way of making a spin-off karting title that as soon as you loaded the game up you had a pretty good idea of which character you wanted to play as and if the game implemented varying levels of grip, speed and control you had a rough idea of who would be good and who wouldn’t.
Anyway.. Right from the outset as soon as the game loads we are treated to a fun yet thumping soundtrack which continues through the game and compliments it really well. Its bright and colourful as you would expect from a game like this which does appeal to all age ranges. Hell, I’m 40 and found it fun!
Obviously, as the title suggests, the game is based around fruit (I probably didn’t have to point that out, but for those who didn’t spot the concept, there you go). I’m sure I don’t have to go as far as to say that it’s a racing game and the idea is to finish in first place on one of the 21 tracks within the game, but I just have to be safe.
The two main game mode options are Offline or Online. Online speaks for itself but its the Offline part that holds your career mode as well as Championships, time attacks and training for the game. You can also set up custom races and championships if you really feel the need to. Starting off with a relatively simple introduction to the game in the form of training was OK, but it’s where I found my first problem with the game; the controls! The mapping of the controls is all over the place. Every single racing game you come across sticks to the same principles in as far as R2 is your accelerator and L2 is your break. Not this game. For some unknown reason your brake has been mapped to R1 and your L2 button will initiate a drift within the game. These controls cannot be changed in options either, so finding your way around a foreign layout makes the game frustrating at first.
In a game like this, you don’t need the use of left and right cameras, just a rear view to see what is about to attack you from the other drivers, so why not put all the fruit tanks to the directional controls, give the drift to the square button, launch move to X, have the brakes where they’re supposed to be and a rear camera on one of the other buttons that’s free?
So I just mentioned the fruit tanks. Well, as you are driving you collect fruit (title gives it away) and the tanks fill. Once these are filled they will give you boosts, fill all 4 and you get a massive boost, but you can deselect tanks to just fill 2 or 3 which is why they are mapped into the controls. In career mode you have the classic way of driving over question marked bubbles which will give you weapons to fire against AI drivers and the tanks don’t really come in to play as much.
Its quite difficult to actually make a bad karting game and I’m pleased to say that this is far from a bad game. Once you get your head around the messy controls it does start to become fun to play and with the bright graphics they just add more to the experience. The characters that you can choose from are basic enough and have no personality to themselves as such, so choosing between them isn’t filled with choice.
Handling within the game is a delight. The Karts handle very well. Drifting is easy to do to help build a speed boost when you have finished the corner. The longer you hold the drift, the longer your speed boost is, but hold that drift for too long and your engine will fail. The problem there is that its pretty much impossible to hold a drift for so long this happens. It’s a great idea, but if you are going to put that into the game then shorten the time period to add some form of challenge to using the drift.
Track designs are fun. Not exactly challenging but I can let them off for that. This is a fun game to play, not a simulator of growing difficulty levels. As I’ve mentioned before, the graphics are bright and appealing and thought has gone into the designs of the tracks. I would have liked to have seen some form of track editor to possibly upload your creations to the web for others to play on as once you’ve completed all the games tracks, that’s it, repativity kicks in and the spark seems to die off slightly.
All that being said above, I do love this game. It has issues, but what game does not? I just wish that the controls could be edited above anything else. I would love to score the game highly, but it needs tweaking; perfecting slightly for me. 7/10 I feel is a commendable score for a game with no history and a relatively new development team.
**Please note. All opinions are my own. I was given a copy of the game to review by PQube Games and this has in no way influenced my opinions contrary to what some people may believe**