Look to your pension book Mario there’s a new kart game in town, F1 race stars developed and published by Codemasters, and I like it.
If you’re a fan of Mario kart racing then you know what’s coming. In fact this is very similar in game play and feel, the advantage is that in this game (unlike Mario) you can turn off the annoying arcade music for starters.
F1 race stars is a karting game looely based on the 2012 F1 season with all the world’s best known circuits recreated in a fun way, and fun it certainly is.
You can play as a cartoony version of a well-known F1 star or if you prefer with your own avatar.
All the 12 teams and 24 drivers are available, each one has certain abilities but to be honest it doesn`t make much difference really who you are or what team you drive for, and with the addition of two female teams it adds a nice balance to the game.
This is the first time Codemasters have ventured into the kart racing genre, being best known for creating such classics as Colin McRae rally and TOCA touring cars. They took over the F1 license from Sony in 2008 and have been producing the F1 series ever since.
So, with this pedigree F1 race stars should be something special. Well, to be honest, special isn`t the word I would use, perhaps slightly quirky would be a better way to describe it, more of a grown up Mario cart game really, with bright colourful graphics and pretty good game mechanics.
It might look a little strange to see all these famous F1 drivers driving in this cartoony world and although they have made an effort to make each character look cute they just look like strange big-headed dwarfs.
The tracks are rendered nicely though with some nice ideas, like driving through traffic in Germany or avoiding giant Geisha girls in Japan.
Yes folks it’s all very jolly and fun, yet can become a bit repetitive after a while.
There are the usual amount of power ups and weapons, again similar to Mario Kart with homing bubbles, trap bubbles, slip stream power ups - all very nice but nothing new.
What is new, though, is the use of KERS within the game. Instead of sliding around corners you have to break and press the right trigger three times to fill your KERS so you can boost briefly.
Also, the use of the safety car power up that slows every one down giving you a chance to catch up and the rainy weather option adds a bit of variety as well.
F1 Race Stars certainly puts a new spin on the karting genre and it does have its moments, with plenty of races and three different classes to choose from.
It`s not all about just finishing first mind with challenges like elimination or keeping your car topped up with fuel, to name but two,
The career mode offers plenty of races in all three categories, whilst the other modes like time trial and free play are what they say they are.
The best part of this game, of course, is the multi-player with up to four players playing split screen locally or 12 players on line.
This adds a nice element to the game as you’re not up against the AI drivers so gameplay is pretty unpredictable.
F1 race stars isn`t the most innovative cart racing game ever created, yet it does have its charm and requires a little more skill than say Mario Kart. Unfortunately, repetitive gameplay and slightly uninspiring career mode let the game down, but with a great multiplayer F1 race stars does redeem itself.
I personally like this game more than Mario kart and it’s certainly worth a punt just for the multiplayer element.
F1 Race Stars
Genre: Kart Racing
Release Date: 16th November 2012