I’ve been a big fan of Mario Kart ever since it made its debut on the Super Nintendo in the 90’s. So any game coming along that’s similar to it is one I usually have to take a look at it, as is the case with All-Star Fruit Racing. It may not be as polished as the Mario Kart series, but there’s more than enough fruit juiced-fun for the whole family in this racer.
Kicking things off with the career mode, you goal is to choose a fruit-inspired racer and race your way to the top through various cups where you’ll get to unlock even more characters to play with. You can even enter the garage and customize your car with different looks, colors and more.
Once you’re out there racing, it’s a lot like Mario Kart where the racing feels arcade-like, there’s power-ups to collect, and of course you can drift to give your car a small boost. The main difference here is how the power-ups work though, as each piece of fruit you pick up has its own meter such as cherries, blackberry, strawberries and such. If you happen to pick up a banana though, it fills up all your meters by a small amount.
If you manage to fill your meters with fruit, then you’ll be able to unleash the juice in the form of your character’s unique ability which can be a special weapon, speed boost, and more depending on what character you’re using. There’s also some good old fashioned power-ups you’ll come across in your races as well, which also grant boosts, fruit-filled weapons to fling or shoot, and other fun items to help turn the fruit juice tide in your favor.
These power-ups and your skills will be needed too, as sadly with a lot of racing games nowadays there’s plenty of rubberband AI to contend with. At times you’ll be ahead of the pack only for them to come out of nowhere and speed pass you as though they have lightspeed engines strapped to them. Thankfully you can always check out the other modes including one where you can setup your own racing event, and more importantly an online multiplayer mode where you and some friends can race against each other to find out who’s top banana.
Mario Kart lovers and those looking for some family fun time together will want to dive into All-Star Fruit Racing. It has some minor problems here and there with rubberband AI, but the fruit-filled fun of customizable characters, a unique power-up system and online play outweighs the sour grapes here.