Juice everywhere. Not much flavour.
Any kart game released on Switch will have to deal with the fact that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the king of the genre. Not only does it have an iconic character roster, but it also plays brilliantly. As an attempt to be noteworthy, All-Star Fruit Racing bring some unique elements to the track – some better realised than others. Does it have enough to become a worthy option for kart aficionados, though? Well… Let’s say that a bad fruit can spoil the basket.
The game has an unique approach to how to collect and use power-ups.
It may be a kind of odd comparison, but at a first glance, All-Star Fruit Racing reminds me of Sugar Rush, that fictional kart game that appears on the Wreck It Ralph movie. It features an equally vibrant and colourful world, inhabited by a roster of strong female drivers. Instead of sweets, though, the whole theme here is centered on fruits.
From that comes the main difference of All-Star Fruit Racing in comparison to other kart games. The standard for kart games is that you can collect items and power ups over the tracks. Here, you don’t collect the power ups directly. Instead, each icon on the track represents a certain fruit, with different colors. By gathering them, you’ll fill one of four tanks. With the four face buttons of the switch, you can attach or detach certain tanks. This is useful because each combination represents a certain power up. So, you’ll have do to different combinations in order to shoot people, activate a turbo, or protect your kart. It takes some time to learn about everything you can do, but this adds a very unique pacing to the races.
Objects pop in during the race, and it gets worse with shadows.
The other elements from the game plays similarly to what you may expect from a kart game. For instance, there’s the drifting mechanic, that allows you to increase your speed during curves. All these tools add depth to the game, and they are important to all modes of the game. Talking about modes, you can play on Quick Races, Time Attack, or Career modes. All of them have a good number of tracks and completing some challenges will unlock new racers and kart parts that can be used for customization.
If you consider all these modes and unique mechanics of All-Star Fruit Racing, it sounds like an interesting experience. It could be the case, if the game didn’t have too many technical drawbacks. The first thing you’ll notice on this regard is the lengthy load times. It gets a long time for you to get even into the main menu of the game. It gets worse when you must select a mode, select a kart, then get into an actual race. This could be tolerable, if not for the many graphic glitches during the races. Stuff is frequently popping out in from of you, and it gets worse with shadows: you can clearly see the “line” in which they appear.
You can play the game with up to 4 friends. Don’t expect to do that online with other people.
All-Star Fruit Racing can be enjoyed with friends, with both local and online modes. However, at the time of writing this review, I wasn’t able to find a single online match, so I’d say it’s pretty dead. Considering all things, All-Star Fruit Racing doesn’t get in the podium of the Switch kart games. The famous plumber boy is unbeaten.