The game was initially announced pre-turn 37, and a few details were revealed. Among the features detailed include extensive kart customization, a fantasy-Japan based art-style. and a multiplayer component featuring a ranking system.
Sakura Racing is a racing game featuring 16 traditional-themed tracks, and 16 modern-themed tracks.
Your enemies are the other racers. There are items along the track. There are 3 types of items Trap, Speed, and Slow. The trap items are dropped and slow enemies behind. The speed items provide buffs to the user. The slow items attack enemies ahead of the user.
The biggest feature of the game is the huge customize-ability of the karts. There are 15 engines, these affect speed, acceleration, and weight. There are 15 chassis, these affect drafting and weight. There are 15 tires, these affect handling and traction.
All of these parts have 3 different looks which can be used without changing the stats.
Story Mode (1 player)
A single player mode featuring a storyline that connects all of the characters together and is the primary form of unlocking all the content. The other way to unlock content is by doing a certain amount of races.
Multiplayer Mode (1 - 4 player)
A mode that allows up to four players play at the same time. Content can be unlocked on this mode by performing a certain amount of races, which will unlock the content randomly.
Time Trials (1 player)
A mode that allows the player to compete world-wide for the best track completion times.
Online Multiplayer (1 - 2 player)
Allows the player(s) to compete real-time racing online with people across the world or regionally.
Annually the Red, Blue, Green, and Purple clans send 3 of their best racers to compete and decide which clan will elect the Emperor of Japan.
The first races seem normal, but during the 3rd track, the racers notice that outside interference is taking a toll on the races. The racers notice this but the clans cannot work together to search out the cause.
Eventually the clan leaders are kidnapped from all of the clans. The racers finally join forces to get to the bottom of this. As you return all the clan leaders you unlock them to race with. You find out there is another clan of Black color.
Finally you challenge the underground Black clan to a race for honor. By beating them, you can then play the story over again except there are generic enemies and the Black clan sends their racers to become emperor as well.
The soundtrack mixes in traditional Japanese instruments and a little underlying modern beat to pep it up make it catchy and exciting. During the final lap, the music speeds up and is a little more tense.
For the races featuring modern cities like Tokyo, the primary beats are techno, and makes good use of fluttery wind-based instruments like the flute. These tracks are very upbeat.
Sakura Racing has received positive reviews upon release. Critics praised Zealous Entertainment for their simplistic, yet customizable and expansive first game, and most agreed it was a solid debut. The game currently holds an 8.2/10 user rating on Metacritic.
"Sakura Racing comes to us as the debut from Zealous Entertainment, who no doubt looks to impress What we have is a neat, customizable, fun, if simple, kart racer. The racing itself is fairly vanilla, with your standard items to pick up, and the courses themselves are fun, but don't stand out. What does stand out, however, is the customization, which is purely staggering. They managed to squeeze in over 300 possible combinations, and they're all available to you to make your kart fit your racing style. It's a lot of fun to mess around with. The story, while not amazing, does its part in pushing the tale along, but the multiplayer really shines when you add in the kart customization. The graphics aren't anything to hit home about, but as a video game, they come second to gameplay. And the gameplay in this one isn't bad at all. Overall, a simple, but fun and customizable debut from Zealous Entertainment, and we look forward to seeing what they have next." OVERALL SCORE: 7.0/10
"Zealous Entertainment make their first mark on the gaming industry with Sakura Racing, a nifty little kart racer that, while certainly not quite as popular or engaging as Mario Kart, certainly holds its own as a kart racer. The racing is fun, even if the tracks are unremarkable and the characters are a little flat. We've got plenty of different options to cusotmize the kart, and in a kart racing game, that's certainly more than important, and it's here Zealous Entertainment shows their strength. I can only imagine what type of amazing games they can make if they get a solid story base and some varied gameplay to make a solid foundation on top of endless customization. As it stands, this is a decent kart racer, and worth checking out for fans of the genre." OVERALL SCORE: 6.5/10
"Sakura Racing is a very solid debut for Zealous Entertainment. It's not overachieving, but it solidifies that this developer knows what it's doing, and can make a credible first game. The graphics aren't too great, and certainly the story's lacking, but the gameplay is fun, and it provides a nice little alternative to some of the more popularized titles, like Mario Kart. It certainly has the little plumber beat in customization, though, with over 300 possibile combinations. That number alone is worth checking out the game just to see the different ways you can deck your ride out, but as it stands, the customization ultimately outweights the game itself, which is a shame, because at its heart, it is a fun little racer. But I still recommend it to my friends, and anyone looking for some light-hearted fun." OVERALL SCORE: 7.0/10