Chris Mooney24 October 2012

First look at F1 Race Stars game

It’s Mario Kart meets Formula One as Codemasters releases first gameplay trailer

So, what's the best racing game ever? Inside Top Gear HQ you'll hear various spirited arguments for the hyper-realistic/hyper-difficult iRacing, the sheer scale and detail of Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo, or the shameless hoonery of the DiRT series.

But for sheer, unadulterated fun, there can only really be one winner: Mario Kart. Which makes the release of F1 Race Stars from Codemasters some of the most exciting gaming news of the year.

Known internally as ‘Formula Fun', this is as far from Codemasters' official F1 title as you can get. Instead of tiny margins of error and a punishing learning curve, this is Pixar-esque cartoon drivers with ridiculous super powers doing loop-the-loops amid utter chaos. It's wonderful.

Gallery: F1 Race Stars

Yes, it's all shamelessly influenced by Mario Kart, but the way F1 has been implemented really makes the game. All 24 drivers and 12 teams are here in toon form, you access KERS by powering up on corners, pit stops cure damage, and power-ups range from the usual missiles and boosts to ‘safety car' (slowing down the field) and ‘wet weather' (ruining everybody's handling).

The long tracks are inspired, allowing you to jump the swimming pool at Monaco or navigate through a Bavarian castle at Hockenheim. Your choice of team counts too: each has a unique power. Ferrari, for example, can fire missiles backwards. So you really don't want Fernando being faster than you.

Four players can play split-screen, or there's the option of 12-person multiplayer online. It'll hit shelves on 16 November, but you can pre-order yours now - which you should, because it's great.

And to prove it, here's some new gameplay footage which you'll want to watch. There's a robotic sumo! There are loop-the-loops! There's a giant mechanical dinosaur!

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