In a world full of first person shooters and dragon slaying adventure games, 3Dcloud dares to keep it classic with the release of an all new racing game, All-Star Fruit Racing. A beautiful display of color and assorted fruit. Pick from 22 different characters all based off fruit and all with a unique look and personality. All-Star Fruit Racing combines all the great components of kart racing and then takes it even further.
All-Star Fruit Racing offers a fast paced racing game with stunning visuals and insane amounts of customization. Instead of just picking up a specific power up and being stuck to use, lets say a banana peel, you can combine the items you pick up to brew your own cocktail of destruction for the other racers. By combining different power ups, or ingredients, you gain a leg up on the competition because now a once fruit tornado might have a special added ability.
Collision detection seemed to have its issues in the closed beta, meaning when I would run into another car I would either do nothing, climb on top of the other racer or just phase half way through the opponents kart and then rubber band back behind them, meaning I would just appear back behind them after phasing into their kart.
No matter how many speed boosts I pick up or slick traps I lay down, there is no real way to get a commanding lead on the other BOT racers. The game just keeps them right behind you no matter how well you think you have been racing. This can be very frustrating when you have spent the entire race in first place thinking you are destroying everyone else, only to be hit by one little power up and have the entire track of racers pass you by at the finish line.
I would also like to talk about the music for a moment. Even though the music seemed to fit the tracks appearance, it didn't really seem to fit in with a racing game, I wanted the music from the opening scene of the game that got me pumped up to race and instead I got a very lackluster sound track that didn’t quite match the feel of a fast paced racing game, it was much more lethargic and kind of wandering. Even when you are down to the last lap, the music picks up a little, but nothing in the sense of real urgency. It just felt boring to what the game play was trying to offer.
This is ultimately going to help you win races, which is your clear objective. The art and music along side the art for each individual track is fun and exciting. For example, if you are on a track that seems to be based around coconuts and bananas then you will likely get a very island feel of music and on the flip side when you are driving through apple orchards you get kind of country twang feel from the music. The tracks offer there own sense of individuality depending on the types of fruits you see, strawberries often add hot fudge pits that will slow you down or giant cherries bowling towards you to smash you flat.
Ice based levels are based around fruity, ice-cold drinks that give you the feeling of drinking a margarita or sorts. The courses are more like roller coasters, twisting and turning in the air flying off jumps and driving tightly through caves made of chocolate. All of these elements combined offer a visually stunning experience that is quickly when you take a cherry tornado to the back of the head.
In direct comparison to Mario Kart Racing, even though I know 3Dcloud probably doesn’t want that, All-Star Fruit Racing doesn’t really seem to offer any real sense of accomplishment. After winning a series, nothing really happens, you just unlock a new series of races. Where as other racing games often show a small award ceremony of sorts, and that alone offers a lot to a game about racing. It gives you a little sense of accomplishment instead of just a feeling of grinding to unlock new tracks or wheels.
Yes I know, at the end of every match, if you win, you can see your character playing the air guitar on top of her car if she has won the race, but even that doesn't have much variety between characters. Every character seemed to do the same thing after winning a race, which really doesn’t give a very unique feel to any character's personality other than the abilities they can use during the race.
What It Can Do Better
Creating a more competitive environment. There is more of an illusion of difficulty. The bots will always be on your tail, no matter how well you do. Programming AI is difficult, but non-fixed AI is very difficult. If they could program difficulties to fit the skill of the bot, that would be preferable. The soundtrack could use some consistence as well. The opening track fits the game as a whole, but the tracks audio could use some work on fitting the genre. Not a game breaker, but could use a second look.
I'd like to see a more consistent and predictable collision detection. Especially for racing games. Uncertainty can be fun, but not in this case. Lastly, creating better ways to award the player for completing tasks. Winning races can be difficult, and would feel more rewarding with a variety of ways to show off the amazing rewards the game offers. Maybe a video preview of a map or cart you unlock.
All of this being said, All-Star Fruit Racing has attractive visuals and light hearted music but also the impossibility of achieving that satisfaction wanted. I would recommend the game with leeriness. It's neither good nor bad, its very OK. The game is available on Steam for $14.99. There is also a demo available to try out. Let us know in the comments what more you'd like to know about this game.