All-Star Fruit Racing Review - Not Quite Ripe
Updated: Jul 7
All-Star Fruit Racing
I'm not entirely sure why a kart racing game starring fresh fruit exists, but here we are. Despite a title that very much suggests a $3 game created from randomly selected store assets, it actually seems to have had quite a bit of effort put into it. The number of tracks and characters on offer would put most other kart racing games to shame, although the fact that all characters use the same car and customization is purely aesthetic is disappointing. So, it's not a lazy game by any means, but is it a good one?
At first, it is actually quite good. The tracks have a lot of variety both in their racing and visual styles. Most impressively, it has a unique power up system where you collect nodes of four different colors and can create power ups by mixing and matching those colors. Some races only spawn a subset of the colors, which can shift individual events to be more about speed or more about attacking opponents. You also have the option of charging up each character's unique super move by filling all four colors and then expending all your energy at once. It's a neat system and other kart racers could certainly learn something from it in terms of giving players more interesting options with their power ups.
Although it's a great idea, issues with the implementation of this system crop up quickly. Some power ups are simply better than others even though they cost less, for example, and I found that it was really only worth pursuing blue and green in order to get boosts. It's possible that I'm wrong about how good the other abilities are, though - since the game doesn't communicate what your abilities are doing off-screen, it's very hard to tell how effective some of the attacks actually are. I didn't bother using my ultimate ability because I couldn't tell if it was doing anything and I could easily have several clearly effective boost power ups for the same effort.
Another major issue, which is one I have with many games in this genre, is that it only really knows how to scale difficulty by having the computer spam you with attacks. It doesn't seem like there's much room to learn to skillfully dodge attacks, and getting hit five times in a row isn't very fun. There is a shield ability you could use in some races to mitigate this, but it isn't very fun to just spam shields and you usually wouldn't be able to collect it rapidly enough to stop the flow of attacks anyway.
The weird balancing and annoying stream of power ups would be tolerable if the game had more variety out of the gate. Like I said before, there are a huge number of tracks and characters, but nearly all of the characters are initially locked and the since many of the tracks take 90 seconds per lap and need five laps, it takes significantly longer to complete a cup in this game than in most other kart racers. Finishing those races at least lets you get to new tracks before too long, but characters are unlocked at a drip feed since to unlock requirements like completing endgame cups or playing for 20 hours. That kind of unlock condition is one thing when you're getting to play as Mewtwo at the end, but leaving the game on overnight is less appealing when the reward is a playable fruit.
All told, All-Star Fruit Racing is fine. I can't recommend it since there are many better kart racers out there and I'd always rather play one of them, but it's also leagues better than something like Garfield Kart. You may get your money's worth here if you have a high tolerance for attack spam in these games and don't mind that cups can take twice as long as is normal for the genre.
Time to beat: I lost interest after about 90 minutes.
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