All-Star Fruit Racing is a combat kart racer available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. 3DClouds.it have experience in the racing genre as they have co-developed graphical assets with Milestone for Ducati Challenge, MotoGP, Ride, Sebastian Loeb Rally, Valentino Rossi: The Game and more besides; comprising of former development talent from Milestone and Ovosonico. Can 3DClouds.it create the freshest kart racer since the retro era of Crash Team Racing and Speed Freaks?
Immediately after watching the introductory cutscene; players are given the opportunity to learn the gameplay elements in an optional tutorial such as accelerating, braking, reversing, respawning, changing camera angles, drifting, juicer, special move combinations and more besides.
Career mode comprises of 11 cups containing a multitude of races and event types, although the coco cup is the only cup that is unlocked from the start with 3 points for finishing in 8th position up to 10 points for the race win, while each further cup is unlocked through winning the previous cup. Fast Championship provides a random sequence of races that offer up to 10 points per race in a championship points table, while the player can only select easy pistons before unlocking medium and hard pistons and anywhere from 3 to 10 vehicles competing in the championship. Custom Championship allows the player to customise a championship to their preferences from unlocked tracks, a choice of event types for a duration of 1, 2, 3 or 5 laps, easy or harder unlocked pistons, with anywhere between 3 to 10 vehicles competing in a championship of one to half a dozen races in length, while Custom Race provides every element of customisation that Custom Championship offers, albeit for a single race. Time Attack mode has 8 tracks available at first to set your fastest lap time on before unlocking the rest of the tracks on easy pistons until unlocking harder pistons. Time attack mode rewards the player with a bronze, silver or gold medal based upon your time in relation to the required time, while a track record or unclassified time is also possible.
There are five event types including random juicer that provides a race in which competitors collect power-ups or weapons at a rapid pace from almost every straight and corner, while juicer requires the player to collect multiple varieties of fruits before combining them together to shoot at the on-track opposition; dragster is a race in the style of random juicer with the difference being the mega-juice moves recharge over time without the need of collecting power-ups, weapons or fruit; elimination sees the last placed racer being eliminated from the race after a 10 second countdown in a variation of juicer; and elimination mix putting a twist on elimination by randomising the duration in-between the end of one elimination countdown and the beginning of another.
Kart customisation takes place in the garage including a choice of three vehicle designs per vehicle; a livery design, three separate paint scheme colours with 105 colour tones per paint scheme colour and 7 bodywork surfaces; wheel designs and two sets of 105 colour tones; tyre rim designs, a set of 105 colour tones and 7 tyre rim surfaces; front bodywork; a fruit or national flag themed aerial; and 30 unique sounding horns or the ability to randomise the aesthetic of your kart. However, there are no kart customisation elements that actually upgrade the performance of your kart.
Characters are quite diverse in their design as there are 22 characters with the majority of characters being female, while having their own fashion senses, mannerisms and special combo moves such as Anny’s PineAzooka in which she stands upon her kart as she fires a pineapple out of a bazooka, Faith’s Shark Melon were she pushes a button to launch a melon in the shape of a shark fin, Brianna’s Apple Wall in which she makes a huge apple appear in the centre of the track or Giselle’s Avacado Bite that is unleashed from the front of her kart in order to bite the rear wheels of the next kart up ahead. In addition to character specific special combo moves; every character can also utilise an entire range of power-ups and weapons to be collected on-track such as turbo boosts and shields, while weapons include everything from ice cubes and water hazards being positioned behind your kart for those attempting to overtake you to firing weather related weapons at opposing kart racers further ahead of your kart such as a tornado or snowball, alongside the ability to drive over turbo boost pads to temporarily gain speed.
Track design is just as varied as character design as there are five themed islands including Coco Sunshine, Winter Kingdom, Papaya Grove, Chung Nook and Banana Bay, although the latter three areas have to be unlocked via finishing on the podium in certain tournaments. Each of the five themed islands are spread throughout Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, alongside a special island with every island containing four unique tracks totalling to 20 tracks including the multiple technical shortcuts of Junglanas; the magical Frozen Castle; the challenging Avocado Roller; the night-time adventures of Dragon Springs; and much more besides.
There are two camera angles that cater to the preferences of gamers that only use a first-person or third-person perspective when racing. The first-person camera angle is immersive almost to the point of VR as the camera positioning gives the impression of experiencing every incline, decline, jump, corner and straight from the character’s eyes looking out ahead of bonnet. Meanwhile, the third-person camera angle is positioned perfectly as it is not too far away from the kart, but it is also not too close to it either with the ability to look to the left, right or behind your kart to see if the opposition is gaining on you from behind or either side. Therefore, both camera angles provide a sensation of speed and control.
The extras menu contains a range of unlockables including more difficulty levels and many characters, islands featuring tracks and kart customisation components, while plans for downloadable content is also referred to within the extras menu.
All-Star Fruit Racing is the kind of kart racer that the Vita has been crying out for a native port of for quite some time as the last kart racer to release on Vita was Table Top Racing in August 2014 and another couple before that is 2012, so it is a genre that has a lot more to give on Vita, but it seems that All-Star Fruit Racing will not be releasing on Vita, although remote play functionality is supported. All-Star Fruit Racing’s remote play performance is a mixed bag as the graphics, audio and general performance maintains the quality of the PS4 version. However, remote play controls have not been optimised at all resulting in a very tricky control scheme of having to accelerate using the top right of the rear touch pad, while attempting to utilise a power-up, fire a weapon at an opposing racer or perform a special combo move, alongside drifting being mapped to the top left of the rear touch pad and respawning mapped to anywhere on the touch screen. Therefore, All-Star Fruit Racing is not a comfortable control scheme; it would have been so easy to re-map the remote play control scheme to acceleration and drifting being R and L respectively with power-ups weapons and special combo moves being mapped to the bottom right of the touch screen, braking moving to the bottom left of the touch screen, while respawn and the horn being mapped to the top left and right of the rear touch pad. However, what makes it worse is that players cannot re-map their remote play control scheme that essentially means All-Star Fruit Racing is better left as a home console kart racer instead of being played portably; unless an unlikely Vita native port occurs.
The control scheme is appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller consisting of holding R2 to accelerate; holding R1 to brake; holding L2 to drift or reverse; pressing L1 to sound your vehicle’s horn; pressing X to use the summer fruit tank; pressing square to use the autumn fruit tank; pressing O to use the spring fruit tank; pressing up on the d-pad to change the camera angle; pressing left, right or down on the d-pad to pan the camera to the left or right or look behind respectively; pressing R3 to launch a move or fire weapons at opposing racers; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to steer your vehicle; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad respawns your vehicle, although there is no vibration support that could have vibrated when using a power-up, firing a weapon or combo move at any opposing racer and even when being hit by an opposing racer, while there is no light bar support that could have produced the colour of your most recently filled juicer tank.
Graphically, All-Star Fruit Racing is quite impressive as every character, track, power-up or special combo move and customised kart are always exactly on-point to what is anticipated from a kart racer, while the frame rate is always consistently fast. All-Star Fruit Racing does not support PlayStation VR, despite the game releasing for multiple mobile cardboard VR platforms.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, single player menus, multiplayer menus, track selection menus, character selection menus, kart customisation garage menus, settings menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. Every loading screen displays facts about fruit including strawberries being made up of 90% water, peaches originating from China having been cultivated for over 5,000 years and apples floating in water due to containing 25% air.
Voice-overs introduce each race with phrases such as “Let’s win”, “Let’s go” or “Super duper”, while laughter occurs from race competitors. Sound effects include accelerating, braking, drifting, beeping the horn on your vehicle, collecting juicer power-ups and weapons, firing a juicer or special move combination at an opposing kart racer and the audience of fruits squealing with excitement. Music is composed rather brilliantly as every song is unique to each track; tying in perfectly with the surrounding environments such as the music accompanying the Frozen Castle track that makes it audibly sound as though the player is racing through a picturesque environment on a grand scale. There is no DualShock 4 speaker support which could have produced various sound effects such as power-ups, weapons, special move combos and incidental trackside ambience.
The trophy list includes 46 trophies with 35 bronze trophies, 7 silver trophies, 3 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Stop And Go bronze trophy for starting in 10th position and finishing in first place; the Déjà vu bronze trophy for using three mega-juice moves in a 3 lap race in the juicer event type; The Perfectionist bronze trophy for winning a race using only one mega-juice move; The Dentist bronze trophy for throwing an apple for the first time with Brianna’s Apple Wall special combo move; and the STRIKE! bronze trophy for getting hit by a coconut. Meanwhile, there are 8 multiplayer trophies including the You And Me bronze trophy and the My Little Seed silver trophy for winning one and 20 races in online multiplayer respectively; the Hi Mate bronze trophy and the Do You Think You Can Stay In Front Of Me? silver trophy for winning a 3 and 5 race online championship; the Don’t Boast bronze trophy for winning a race in elimination mode in online multiplayer; and the Two Pistons Are Better Than One and the Flaming Pistons bronze trophies for winning a two and three pistons online championship respectively; alongside the On The Couch bronze trophy for winning a race in split-screen multiplayer. Harder trophies include the Greedy silver trophy for achieving gold on every track in time attack on three pistons difficulty and the Ah…You Really Are Special! gold trophy for winning the golden Fruit Special Cup. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are two sets of difficulty levels including a 5 star rating of difficulty for every track based upon the complexity of the track, while there are three piston difficulty levels beginning with easy before unlocking the medium and hard piston difficulty levels by winning the third and sixth cups in career mode named Peach Prize Cup and Fruits Star Cup. Piston difficulty levels increase the effectiveness of your opponent’s driving, therefore increasing their pace and making them far more competitive for the race victory even on the tracks you have become most familiar with as the piston difficulty level advances step by step from easy through medium to hard.
Split-screen competitive multiplayer allows for 4 players to race in a custom race, custom championship or fast championship with a high quality of performance in frame rate and graphics, although career and time attack do not feature split-screen multiplayer.
Online multiplayer allows players to utilise fast join in order to quickly search for an available lobby to join or alternatively; a player can create a lobby containing up to 8 players including total customisation of character selection, piston difficulty, event types, tracks, quantity of laps from 1, 2, 3 or 5 laps per race for up to half a dozen consecutive races in a custom tournament and the ability to invite friends into your lobby. However, the host of the online lobby cannot begin the race or tournament until multiple players are present within the same online lobby, while a local player or A.I. cannot be used to start the race or tournament without waiting for additional players which would have been far better as it would have enabled players to take the place of an A.I. controlled vehicle that was the closest to the player that was furthest back in the field in a race or tournament that had already begun.
All-Star Fruit Racing’s replayability stems from the unpredictability of the results in single races and entire tournaments comprising of power-ups, weapons and special combo moves in proper wheel-to-wheel kart racing in single player, split-screen competitive multiplayer for 2 to 4 players and online competitive multiplayer for 2 to 8 players that will collectively keep players returning for a significant period of time even after completing the 11 cups in career mode on each of the three piston difficulty levels.
- Title: All-Star Fruit Racing
- Developer: 3DClouds.it
- Publisher: PQube
- System: PS4
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-4 (Split-Screen Competitive Multiplayer)/2-8 (Online Competitive Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 4.34GB (Version 1.02)