F1 Race Stars Logo - We Know Gamers

Before you shrug this off as another simple Mario Kart clone, look past the cell shaded graphics and you'll find F1 Race Stars to be a pretty rewarding racing game with plenty to offer. It's a Formula One game with a bit of a difference, but can it take pole position?

I'm going to be totally honest here, if you've played any type of kart racer before, this game doesn't offer much more to the genre. The whole pull of this game is the blend of real world F1 and… well a kart racer. It's aimed more at the casual player who doesn't want to fully jump into the more complex F1 simulation games.
F1 Racing but with a twist.
Cars handle exactly as you'd expect them to and no team has any different handling, cornering or speed perks, the only difference they all have is the colour scheme on the car and the weapon set available to them. Cars are modelled on the real F1 team liveries and the drivers that race for those teams. One thing I do wish was in the game was the option to drift the car, it breaks the whole thing about F1 but it's not a simulation game and it could do with drifting. Some of the more windy tracks are full of hairpins and chicanes; forcing you to slow to a crawl to corner otherwise you just slam into the side rails and grind round so while you're busy trying to slowly cruise around, the AI will fly past you as they don't seem to be affected by this.

Speaking of AI, the game does a good job of keeping it balanced and fair, they never get too far ahead of you unless you stop completely so you don't really feel cheated if you get knocked off course and then are left behind as you can catch back up.
Miniature real F1 Drivers.
The tracks in the game are well designed and partly mimic real world circuits, with branching routes full of shortcuts and hidden areas. Every course has a hidden key on it which will unlock another route which cuts out huge parts of the track. Tracks are also littered with weapon pickups and short boost pads which are glowing red squares, while other parts of the track have larger blue sections where you can get some major speed boosts if you use KERS, which is the only thing actually explained in game with a tutorial as you go over the first one you encounter.

One other thing on the tracks is the pit lane, unlike real F1, you don't have to stop driving to get your car serviced, you just pull into the highlighted areas and your car is fixed as you carry on moving.

A lot of real teams and drivers are represented in the game albeit with a very cartoony look to them, this really suits the style of game well as you wouldn't expect replica models of F1 cars and drivers in a kart racing game, and while the characters look awesome, the real hero here is the track design. Blending real world F1 race courses with typical kart racing circuit designs certainly makes for some recognisable but also innovative racing.

Weapons are poorly designed, looking bland in comparison to everything else; it's just different coloured balls which don't really represent anything. Each one has a different type of property with attacking but none of it is explained in game so you have to work out what each one does for yourself. There are a few extra special weapons as well but again, they don't really do much other than give you a boost in speed or slightly better grip when turning.
Colours fit the overall theme.
The sound is everything you would expect in a driving game, Codemasters have really perfected the driving simulator and so engine noises pick up really great, however this game is not so much simulation so it includes all the extra funny noises such as random horn sounds and characters mocking each other as you over take or get hit by weapons.

Cars can take damage as they get shunted or hit with weapons, this visually affects the car by having parts like spoilers or wings bending, or snapping off entirely, as well as affecting your overall speed.

One of the good features in this game, is if you have a few family or friends around, you can play any game type you like with up to 4 players, that includes the usual single player only career mode. Having the game split screen doesn't drop the graphical quality either which is a nice touch and having 4 people on the same couch is great while you’re all fighting for first place.

As for the online experience, there's not a whole lot I can really say as every time I've tried to play, I've only found a couple of people and after doing one track I've been disconnected. The game has many different game modes on it, yet none of these seem to be playable online. It's racing solo or in teams and you can have weapons on or off, which is slightly disappointing due to the other game types mixing it up and keeping it fresh.

Final Verdict 
Overall F1 Race Stars is a solid kart racer. It has a few issues such as control over your vehicle however that may be due to your own preferences. What works for some doesn't suit everyone and at least they haven't carbon copied any other kart racer. Its track design is some of the best I've seen in its genre but that alone won't save the game. A simple pick up and play aspect will see you having fun in short bursts but the overall experience doesn't really grab you and keep you playing for long periods.

Gameplay = 7/10
Graphics = 7/10
Multiplayer = 6/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 6.7/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
F1 Race Stars Review
Reviewed by Zero
on Dec 03 2012

Rating: 6.7/10


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