While Mario Kart dominates the racing genre for Nintendo, other platforms dive into the more serious, simulated inspired racers. But isn’t it time that racing games got more family friendly?

All Star Fruit Racing looks like something from the movie Wreck it Ralph, with extremely colourful characters and glorious landscapes inspired by the healthier side of the food chart. While without a famous line-up of colourful characters, All Star Fruit does well enough to engage all players young and old into this blissful racer.

Much like every other racing game on the planet, players must compete in a number of events throughout a massive tournament and become the best of the best when it comes to racing on giant plums and strawberries. Each racer has a distinct personality linked with a popular fruit (I was a kiwi inspired racer) and the world you race in is a collection of visually creative racing race tracks with inspirations of fruit and child friendly fantasy.

Mechanically speaking, All Star Fruit Racing is pretty easy to pick up with a number of tutorials to help settle you in and with gameplay that thankfully never complicates things. Players can do all the basics from reversing, drifting and tackle more tactical moves such as using special attacks. Unlike Mario, there is a system in place that allows players to use special attacks once they’ve collected enough fruit or performed certain actions. There’s different types of special attacks which are linked to the player, rather than engaging with an object in the environment. There is that as well but this player focused system gives a dynamic edge and one that relies more on player skills rather than sheer luck.

Race courses are beautifully designed with a wide range of aesthetics and terrains to compete on. However there’s a lack of detail when it comes to incorporating hidden paths and environments that don’t rely solely on a static race track. I hate to bring up Mario again but what Mario Kart did well is give players a risk and reward system when it came to short cuts. That was if players wanted to use a short cut at a higher risk of crashing, the option was there and it broke up the race track from being extremely linear.

I bring this up as playing All Star Fruit Racing can be rather challenging and slightly aggravating as well. The AI can be utterly ruthless and even in early stages of the championship; you’ll have to pull off some particularly tricky manoeuvres to even get a top spot. All it takes it one slip up and players will find it extremely difficult or near impossible to recover. There are of course the special attacks which you get by collecting fruit, but surprisingly this comes more into focus later in the game.

All Star Fruit Racing may not stand high above many others including Mario Kart. Yet this is a nice enough game for children with an Xbox One or a PS4. It’s easy to pick up and play, has some great visuals and nice little touches including the fruit facts on the loading screens. Yet the lack of dynamics in the race tracks and the gruelling difficulty of the AI at times can make this a little too much for younger racers. Still fun enough to check out.

++ Colourful and bright
+ Easy to pick up and learn
- Annoying AI difficulty
A PS4 review copy of All Star Fruit Racing was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review