All-Star Fruit Racing understands the basics of a kart racer, and it gives you plenty of tracks and content. Coupled with a solid multiplayer mode, it’s also a family friendly experience that extends the life of what would otherwise be an average racer. It’s only real fault is that it never comes close to matching the depth and polish of the game it is so clearly trying to copy.
All-Star Fruit Racing really puts the fruit at the forefront of every aspect of the game. There are five different areas that separate the twenty-one tracks. The first four are based on the seasons with the fifth group containing tracks that don’t neatly fit into the others. Even with this many tracks, some of them felt little too similar.
Each of the seasonal tracks is bursting with fruit themes. There are giant pieces of fruit lining the tracks with juice and other fruit-related items clearly in view at all times. I actually liked the fruit theme in the game.
The mechanics are mostly familiar to anyone has played a kart racer. The R2 trigger is your gas, and clicking R3 unleashes your power up. The L2 button allows you to drift around the track. The movement controls are simple and sometimes lacking in energy, but knowing the pedals from go to slow is not enough to win.
Mastering the drifting mechanic is critical to finishing at the front of the pack. The tracks are filled with twists and turns, and these can be used to your advantage. Drifting can help you cut off a fellow racer. More importantly, it can provide a slight speed boost when you stop drifting. There is a small gauge on the screen that slowly fills up as you drift, but drifting for too long will cause you problems.
There are areas of the track that seem to slow down too much. The only way to regain that feeling of speed was to drift for a boost. It wasn’t frequent, but an overly long stretch of track or going upward at a steep angle was enough to slow you and the experience down.
The characters and cars continue the fruit overload. Each of the twenty-two different characters has their own special move, but it’s not always unique. One of the characters has a pineapple bazooka. My favorite had a banana rocket launcher. There are a range of offensive and defensive abilities, and I tried a few, before finally settling on my favorite.
The character’s special move is only one part of keeping ahead of your competition. On the screen, you will see a tank with four connections corresponding to the directions of the triangle, square, circle, and X buttons on your controller.
This allows you to customize a special move while racing, and it’s a very clever twist. Instead of just giving you one special move or having you run over a certain move on the track, each of those tanks has a color. If you run over the same colored spheres on the track, that tank will fill. By combining certain tanks and disconnecting others, you can create a specific powerup. One combo leads to a speed boost. Another gives you a protective shield or projectile. Filling up all the tanks gives you your special move. Used strategically, it provides some choice in how to move yourself to the front of the race or to stay there.
Options and customization is really where All-Star Fruit Racing does well. Starting with the modes, playing offline will give you a career mode with eleven different cup events to unlock. There are three different difficulties, and there are multiple types of races within each cup. The variety can be really nice. We have the standard race event that has you trying to beat all the other racers around the track in a certain number of laps. There is also an elimination event that throws out the person in last place until you only have one left.
For me, the true test of any kart racer is the multiplayer portion. The multiplayer allowed for some great customization. You can setup a race for two to four players. All-Star Fruit Racing lets you pick a certain cup, the amount of laps you want to race, and how the power ups work. It goes even further to allow you to create a custom cup with races from different locations. It’s a playlist of your favorite tracks, and this a brilliant addition.
After you complete an event or reach a goal, there are a few new unlockables. These range from a new racer or new customizations for your car. The garage allows you to change your car’s appearance in seven categories including the wheels, rims, vehicle, and sound of the horn. There is a mask option for the body and the front to change the applied designs. From the beginning, I had plenty to make any car my own, and it didn’t stop at parts. The colors can be changed, and the amount of shine can be customized.
Keep in mind, these are all aesthetic changes. I never felt like it increased the handling or maximum speed. If you just like being able to change the appearance, its fine. If you want some more depth, this isn’t it.
That was really what held this game back from being just a little bit better. The racing mechanics, the tracks, the upgrades, and general visuals and sound are all fine. The fruit theme is unique and facts about fruit are shown at every loading screen. The bright and colorful world is nice, and the music has a mix of decent tracks with some forgettable and outstanding ones thrown into the mix.
In every aspect, All-Star Fruit Racing is unashamedly shooting for Mario Kart, but it falls short every time. There is even a track that is audaciously similar to Rainbow Road, with some of the same annoyances I feel every time that track comes up in rotation. Despite that, they have done very well in their attempt to mimic the genre king.
There is enough good in All-Star Fruit Racing to offset any bad. It really does a decent job with the fundamentals of a kart racing game, and it has a good multiplayer, a very unique theme, and a nice selection of tracks. Unless you go into it expecting to play another game, I think you will enjoy All-Star Fruit Racing’s take on kart racers.
All-Star Fruit Racing PS4 Review
Overall - Good - 6.5/10
All-Star Fruit Racing is the best kart racer I have played on the PS4. With it’s unique fruity design, there are enough tracks, unlockables, and customizable multiplayer in a family friendly package to keep you going.
The lack of additional depth in driving mechanics and some track design keeps it from being the game it wants to be, but it’s a good homage to the very best.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using a PS4 Pro.
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Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.