F1 fanatics must have been taken aback when F1 Race Stars was announced by Codemasters earlier this year. Featuring dinky F1 karts, big-headed cartoon caricture drivers and fantastical versions of the famous F1 circuits, It represents a radical departure for Codemasters' F1 series, but one that could help revitalise the karting genre as we know it.
Described as "fast-to-the-fun arcade racing," the initial teaser trailer hinted at F1 Race Stars' aspirations, but now we have a new trailer packed with in-game footage to fully demonstrate what to expect. In essence, it's what I imagine watching F1 to be like after smoking substances.
Previously familiar tracks have suddenly morphed into vibrant worlds stuffed with massive ramp jumps, loop the loops and, erm, a Truckasaurus. Because more games need a giant stomping Truckasaurus out to foil your racing line.
All in all, it sounds like a refreshingly lighthearted take on the license designed for people who love the idea of driving an F1 car at ludicrous velocity but aren't too concerned about the nitty gritty aspects of the sport.
Of course, being a kart racer, power-ups had to feature somewhere along the line. True to form, F1 Race Stars is set to include a range of novelty power-ups, including "Wet Weather to slow the pack, deploying DRS to speed past rivals and using a range of sneaky bubbles to trap other drivers."
Codemasters also went on to detail F1 Race Star's career mode, which is said to feature three tiers of difficulty with traditional GRAND PRIXTM championships along with objective modes including races against the clock and gate challenges.
I had a brief hands-on with F1 Race Stars at the Eurogamer Expo, and was surprised to find that it breaks the kart racing convention of powersliding around every corner – you can still gain KERS by pumping the throttle along specifically marked corners, but the cars felt weighty, meaning you actually had to slow down for corners. Then again, it makes sense when you think about it – as Codemasters once said, F1 cars were never built for powersliding, so it would look rather daft.
By sticking to the spirit of F1 whilst injecting its own unique character and style, F1 Race Stars could well have the edge as it battles against LittleBigPlanet Karting and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Transformed.
We'll find out soon when F1 Race Stars is given the green light on November 16th – just one week after its karting rivals, incidentally.