GAME NAME: F1 Race Stars: Powered Up Edition
PLATFORM(S): Wii U eShop
GENRE(S): Kart Racing
RELEASE DATE(S): January 16th, 2014
The Kart Racing genre is always a hard type of game for me to review. Mario Kart has with every iteration pushed the genre with innovation in regards to track concepts, controls and the challenge itself. The handheld Mario Karts have even been some of the best online ventures Nintendo has made. With a great games like Sonic All-Star Racing and Mario Kart 8 just around the bend for the Wii U, how would Codemaster’s Kart Racing venture F1 Race Stars: Powered Up stand against the competition?
I’ll admit it, I’m not a racing fan. When I first saw the roster in the game, I researched the characters to find out if it was a licensed roster. It feels weird having real F1 roster in a Kart racing, but I really enjoyed the team aspect. Each racing team has its own special ability, whether that be speed boosts or attack bubbles. You can even play as your Mii character which is a cool addition. Career Mode is the main dish of the game with single race events and multiplayer modes. In career mode, you race a few different tracks for points and earn a medal based on your standing after the series of tracks. There are a lot of series to unlock, so for completionists this will keep you busy for hours. The lack of online play is a real bummer as online should be a staple at this point in video game history.
The gameplay is similar to your average Karting game with power-ups, jumps and crazy obstacles to avoid. One feature I really thought was cool was that If you get hit, you get slower and slower. They then have pit stops where you can repair your Kart. This was by far my favorite innovation to the genre. The drift system to earn a boost was okay but is better done in the Mario Kart series. The turning controls felt very floaty and loose and braking or letting off of the gas didn’t feel like it helped any.
Graphically the game looks great. The weather effects leave awesome puddles of water with nice reflections on them. It has a cartoony feel which makes it work with the karting theme instead of actual racing. The sound track is what you would expect from a racing game with nothing overly terrible but nothing memorable either.
If you are looking for a Kart racing game to hold you over until Mario Kart, this game has enough content to keep you busy for hours. The lack of an online mode really kills this game from being a high recommendation for me and at 29.99 it is a pretty steep price for an eShop game. It has some great level design though and good ideas and if you just want to have a good time karting you won’t be disappointed.