NCG Review – All-Star Fruit Racing (PS4, PC, Switch)

“All Star” is usually a name that pops up in video game titles after a series or company has a good reputation.  Does All-Star Fruit Racing meet your expectations?AllStarOnline_2

Visuals

All Star Fruit Racing is very colorful, filled with an array of terrains and courses that are vibrant  and eye-catching.  Characters themselves are colorful and portray a unique fruit.  However, everything visually just seems to fall short.  Although the visuals are vibrant, there is too much on the screen making the courses feel cluttered with graphics.  One thing that I look for in a racing game is enough to create a setting or theme, but nothing that distracts or overwhelms me visually while I am trying to navigate a course, and win.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the course is at and when you go off course, you’re not really sure how or why.  Characters themselves are quirky with a design that matches the fruit they’re based on, but characters fall short of being unique.  There’s a generic feel to the each character with few qualities to set them apart and make them memorable.AllStarDateAnnounce_5.png

Navigating the menu also imposes a challenge since the font is small and difficult to read.

 

Audio

If you’ve ever sat at a slot machine and kept pushing the button, then you’ll have an idea what a race course sounds like.  While playing, the course is filled with mellow tunes that fit the course design and chimes that interact with what your character is doing on the course.  Music intensifies as you lap around the course, but nothing particularly stands out about the audio tracks.

Gameplay

There are 5 game modes: Random Juicer, Juicer, Dragster, Elimination, Elimination Mix.  You’re given 10 characters to start with out of 22.

The button layout is more relatable to a modern-day racing game, but the overall game play style is similar to Mario Kart.  Each mode imposes a different challenge.  Random Juicer is the most similar to Mario Kart.  Juicer mode is a twist, where you need to race and collect fruit in order to mix all the fruits together, while racing, to get a juice.  After making a juice concoction, based on whatever you made, you can use it as a weapon or booster to help you through the course.  Elimination mode is a unique mode where players are eliminated at intervals through the race if they’re in last place. Elimination Mix is similar to Elimination, except, you never know when the counter will pop up during a race.AllStarOnline_4

While racing there is no real sense of speed.  You’re not rewarded with a boost after drifting or collecting items. The only time you feel a sense of acceleration is when you go over a speed booster, but even so you’re never really moving faster than the character in front of you. There also feels like a lack of punishment if you collide or crash around in the course. After you crash or bump into a wall, you immediately resume max speed.  Weapons feel very unbalanced and almost useless.  They impose some advantage, but they don’t feel like they’re doing much to other players since the game doesn’t provide heavy punishment when hit with the weapons.AllStarDateAnnounce_2.png

Car customization is an option, but this feature is cosmetic and doesn’t add any additional attributes to the vehicle. Characters have special abilities, but these abilities can only be accessed in the Random Juicer courses.

Verdict

Pros: While some aspects of the game feel lacking (i.e. lack of speed and punishment for messing up), you can tell that you need to be strategic about how you play.  In Juicer mode, the fruits you collect determine the weapon you send out.  You need to determine which fruits you want to collect, then you need to create and access the mixture which can be difficult to focus on while you’re driving.  The lack of speed makes sense since players will be multitasking while they race. Not only do you need to know what to mix, which fruits you want to collect, you need to know how the weapons will work since they can potentially back fire on you.  It’s a lot to take in at once but gives the game a unique challenge despite all the downfalls.

To help make load screens a bit more bearable, you get a lot of fruit facts.  Mostly trivia facts you wouldn’t have guessed… about fruit!  It made me want to sit through all the load screens and learn more about fruit!

Cons: As stated earlier, courses feel cluttered with visuals, it’s hard to read the menu, the overall design isn’t very eye-catching, and using your weapons can be frustrating.

The price tag is also a bit much.  The game doesn’t have as much to offer compared to other games of the same style.

Overall, I would rate the game a 6 out of 10.

Score

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