Ever wondered what it would be like if you take one of the most popular racing tournaments in the world, then paste it roughly over a Mario Kart template. Well you don’t have to, welcome to F1 Race Stars, Codemasters answer to Formula one if it was accidentally shrunk in the wash. Bringing bobble-headed characters designed of all the f1 drivers, crazy race tracks based around the host cities of the season, and funny animations that after the first few races can get a bit repetitive. But does this seem a bit of a cheap cash-in on Codemasters F1 licence, or is it some sweet fan-service? Looking at this game, it is a great idea on a sport that does take itself very seriously, but it’s hard not to look at it, and think that it is just another attempt for F1 to make money in a genre, mainly taken over by Mario Kart. Then again it is still fun to play, and that is what is important in a game, if you’re not having fun then it is not worth playing.
F1 Race Stars has more than just simple lap racing. Bringing other modes; Elimination races, where after a certain amount of time the driver in last place is eliminated, winner is last one racing; Refuel, like a normal race, but you having to keep collecting fuel tanks that are on track to keep your fuel meter up, too many and your car will go slower, run out of fuel your out of the race; Trophy Chase, where you collect trophies that are on the track, if you are damaged you drop trophies; Pole position, a bit like a King of the Hill style of play, but you gain points if you are in pole position (1st, 2nd or 3rd) higher up faster you gain points; Slalom, you have to drive through gates that are on the track to score points, chain coloured gates together to gain bonus points; Exhibition, where you gain points on badges you earn in race, you earn badges by many things from hitting another driver with a bubble, to managing to chain boosts, higher up you are in the race, the more points you gain; then finally their is Sector Snatch, where you have to set the fastest time between the flagged sectors on the track.There isn’t just different types of races in the game, but also 30 Championships you can race in that use the game types that were mentioned. Also you can modify races from flipping the track, to having the driver in 1st place have there controls reversed, allowing you to add up to 3 different modifiers to an event.
The graphics are beautiful to look at too, using cartoons of popular racers, from Jenson Button to the current world Champion, Sebastian Vettel. Also Codemaster has added 4 other characters to choose from, forming 2 fictitious teams, the all-Girl team of Jessica Chekker and Ruby Power, and a boy and Girl team of Kira Hoshihara and Josh Merit. Also you have a choice from 11 out of the 20 official events, from Italy as you swerve across the ancient aqueducts; to the USA as you wall-ride on the Canyon Dam. All looking beautiful and all to designed to what represents each country.
Even though this is a great game and it is a lot of fun for up to 4 players, in the end there is still better party racing games out there, including Little Big Planet Karting to the obvious Mario Kart series. But if you get a chance to play this game, even as a rent, try it because, even though it’s obviously more F1 merchandise, it’s still a good game.
Reviewed with the Playstation 3 version