*Originally published in The Argus Friday, August 24, 2018*
When it comes to kart racing, Mario Kart has dominated the genre for decades now. So, how well does All-Star Fruit Racing, a kart racer with no ties to popular gaming franchises stack up?
Upon playing through your first race it’s immediately obvious that this isn’t trying to do anything particularly new, which means you will have an instant sense of familiarity. Of course, there are new features such as collecting fruit alongside the standard random power-ups which is unique to All-Star Fruit Racing, but with the basic formula being so familiar it makes for an easy transition into this world of fruit.
Appearances may not be as polished as its counterparts but it certainly comes with its own sense of style and charm. The soundtrack is largely forgettable and samey, but the game shines in its kart customisation with a large variety of vehicle parts and skins to unlock as you progress. These are ultimately just cosmetic and do not improve performance, but it’s nice to be able to create a style that is truly your own.
The game keeps its limited number of tracks interesting with the use of different race types including Sprint and Elimination, alongside the standard race format. This also helps to keep each set of races in a cup fresh and interesting, while keeping you on your toes as you could very well see yourself eliminated before you’ve even hit your stride.
What sets the game apart the most is in its fruit theme and this blends into the gameplay brilliantly. Fruit can be collected as players race and then used as power-ups to get ahead. Each fruit gives you access to a different audacious power-up, collect different types of fruit to create a cocktail of fruit resulting in ultra-powerful skills to cement your victory or turn the tables.
All-Star Fruit Racing may not include everyone’s favourite platforming hero or even any memorable characters for that matter, but it’s a good attempt at a kart racer that features some unique differences to the usual formula and that makes it worth a look. You’ll also learn some interesting facts about fruit along the way.