A fruity version of Mario Kart.

Title: All-Star Fruit Racing
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: 3D Clouds
Publisher: 3D Clouds
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Mario Kart. But with fruit.
Price: Console: $40/£35
PC: $30/£20
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

All-Star Fruit Racing is a kart racer inspired by Nintendo’s long running kart series, Mario Kart. The major difference being the fruit theme, where the karts and the environment are all filled with fruit. While Mario Kart has question mark boxes to pick up power ups, All-Star Fruit Racing racers have four meters that fill up, thanks to a variety of fruits picked up while racing around the track.

While All-Star Fruit Racing does not have a proper story mode per se,  it does feature a handful of interesting game modes. Players can choose between Custom Race, Career, Fast Championship, Time Attack, and Training. When selecting either Custom Race or Championship, players are also able to choose unique rules to the race(s): Random Juicer, Juicer, Dragster, Elimination, and Elimination Mix. Random Juicer will release fruits with question mark bubbles on the track, rewarding players with random power up à la Mario Kart. Juicer will leave the fruit on the track, so players can fill one (or all four) power up bubbles on the right hand side corner of the screen. Dragster features an auto-filling Juice move. Elimination is pretty self explanatory, and Elimination Mix will get rid of one of the racers at the bottom of pack.

So how does the Power ups work in All-Star Fruit Racing? Simple. As mentioned, players have four distinct bubbles that represent four different fruits. By picking up fruits, they fill up the assigned bubble, giving players the opportunity to mix and match. As long as players have one bubble filled up, they can use their Juice Moves. Fill up two or more and players will have a different special Juice Move which can range between a speed boost, ice cubes to “freeze,” the competition or throw a tornado to take out the competition ahead, just to name a few. Players can also decide to save their power ups. Each of the four bubbles can be “disconnected,” through the corresponding controller’s face button and reconnected to use later in the race. Each of the 22 characters represent a fruit, and once all four power bubbles are filled, players will unleash an associated Juice Move.

One of the game’s strongest aspects is the quantity of content available. While players will start with a handful of characters, many more can be unlocked as they progress through the career mode. The same thing happens with the tracks; while only two areas are available off the bat, players can access a total of 21 race tracks, all with their boosts, obstacles, and pitfalls. The tracks are spread across different worlds representing the various seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Once all seasons have been cleared, players will access Special Islands tracks, which are sure to give racers a run for their money.

As mentioned earlier, the game features a whopping 22 fruit racers, but unfortunately they all have the same feel as you race through the tracks. While they have different power ups depending on who you choose, there’s not any difference in how they handle. There’s a handy drift button which allows players to gain an extra boost after exiting a drifting section; while it is helpful, players can go through a race without even needing it.

My main concern about this game is the fact that pre-set races feel like they drag on for too long. I was going through Career races, most of which have five laps, and it sincerely felt like it lasted 30 minutes; it feels like the finish line never comes. This is where Custom game modes are a bit more fun as they allow you to set shorter races, and there’s a difference, as it goes by faster and feels more fun. I felt more challenged to do my best during shorter races.

On the presentation side of things, All-Star Fruit Racing really feels like it was designed for mobile devices from the ground up, thanks to the long loading times and a streamlined, non-interactive interface. It also looks like a mid-8th console generation title. Not to say that it’s horrible looking, but during the PS2/Xbox/GC era, it would’ve been a standout title. Thanks to its fruit theme, the game is colorful and really pops out. Audio-wise, the characters’ screams are quite aggravating, with no voiceovers, and the score during the races are a bit annoying. But, the silver lining is the in-between races score, which is an upbeat song you could imagine yourself hearing in a pub.

In all honesty, it’s kind of hard to recommend All-Star Fruit Racing, considering there are better kart racing alternatives. While it gets more fun as players put time into this racer thanks to the bevvy of content to unlock, the tedious feel of the races and lack of content variety through the characters will make the game feel like a chore. All-Star Fruit Racing will be a nice temporary diversion and alternative from games like Mario Kart and Beach Buggy Racing, but unfortunately it won’t finish in first place.

The Good

  • Ideal for kids
  • Bevvy of content to unlock

The Bad

  • Races feel boring
  • Grating character screams

Family Focus

All-Star Fruit Racing is rated E10+ and PEGI 3 for comedic violence. Throwing fruit can be dangerous and harmful to others.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.