All Star Fruit Racing Review: Nothing But Sour Grapes
I decided to take a chance on PQube’s All Star Fruit Racing for a couple of reasons. Number one, [...]
I decided to take a chance on PQube's All Star Fruit Racing for a couple of reasons. Number one, indie games seem to be doing a lot better lately than they used to; and number two, the PlayStation 4 has been in need of a decent kart racing game. So, what could go wrong with giving it a shot, right?
Boy, was I too optimistic. Everything that can go wrong with Fruit Racing pretty much does, save for some visual polish here and there. The game never just really ripens up enough to find its appeal; as a result, it can't even get to the point where it's just an average racer. Everything here feels like it's been poorly conceived. And even if you do get past some of the hang-ups, there's the general design of the game, which is almost to the point of nausea.
The All Star racers in question here aren't all stars at all, but rather general racers assigned the task of racing through a fruit-based world using a number of cars inspired by, well, more fruit. That's really the theme of the game, but the title kind of throws you off. You expect some kind of actual all star to show up, right? Like at least the Chiquita banana or something. Nope.
Once you get past that, you get the game's visuals. On the one hand, they're bright and colorful, with decor that fits in with the somewhat oversaccharined world. But on the other, there's the incredibly long load time. You'll actually be waiting nearly a minute to start each race, and even once you get into it, there's a countdown that lengthens the time even further.
Top Banana? Nope, Not Even Close
Then there's All Star Fruit Racing's track design, which is heavily flawed. Most of the time, the tracks aren't wide enough to really get anything done; and there's also a noticeable lack of imagination. Whereas Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was going for DaVinci, All Star Fruit Racing seems to aspire for "drunken lunatic with finger paints." It just never clicks.
Oh, and turn off the audio when you race. Not only will the lacking music drill its way into your head, but the character voices do nothing to help you like your racers. In fact, you'd probably hear better chatter from a group of folks putting on an amateur Dungeons & Dragons musical. We'd rather see that than listen to these folks ever again. Plus, that announcer doesn't sound excited at all. He sounds like he's covering a shoe-tying competition in Hoboken. (Apologies to those that actually compete in versus-based shoe tying.)
Speaking of never clicking, the power-up system in this game fails on almost every level. Even if you do manage to collect enough fruits to activate certain things, you have to click in the right analog stick to activate them -- an odd design choice to say the least. And half the time they don't even hit. For once, I was looking for something with the dependability of Mario's spiked shell. Didn't get it.
And the gameplay, while serviceable, is also uninspired. The drift system, shamelessly "borrowed" from Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, feels like it's all over the place; and the steering, while acceptable, doesn't offer any new tricks over time. Even Mario Kart had variations of vehicles to choose from. This just gives you the same ol' ride, time after time.prevnext
This Fruit's Gone Rotten
The game's AI is also all over the place; a pushover at times, but then drastically smarter than it should be. As a result, the game feels like a drag in single player. You could rope some friends into the game via local multiplayer, but why would you play this instead of something more established? All Star Fruit Racing isn't exactly the game you'd pull out to impress people. It's better reserved for when you're trying to get people to leave.
The UI doesn't help the game's favor, either, making everything drag in-between races. In fact, the only thing that shows any kind of inspiration is the customization engine -- and even then, most of it can't even compare to Mario Kart 8's barrage of neat stuff. Even the flags look like half-ass versions of what you'd find in Rocket League.
I can get that PQube wanted to go for a variation of Mario Kart with All Star Fruit Racing. But the developers at 3D Clouds.it just never really get their resources together the right way. The track design is iffy and useless at times; the characters have nothing to offer their so-called fans; the customization engine doesn't offer much in the way of originality; and the audio is probably the worst you'll hear in gaming this year. The gameplay is decent, but why put up with decent when, for a few bucks more, you can put money down on the far more dependable Team Sonic Racing?
Just avoid All Star Fruit Racing at all costs. Even if you're feeling that kart racing itch, the last thing you want to be stuck with is this lemon.
WWG's Score: 1.5 out of 5
(Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.)prev