Do not bother with anything less than the 3000cc difficultly level in F1 Race Stars, even if the AI is a torturous mess. The 1000cc is nothing more than a leisurely stroll, the 2000cc feels restrictive, it is the 3000cc that brings out all of the intent within the design.
Despite a cutesy veneer--complete with hard-edged, shaded polygons and podium stunt performances--F1 Race Stars carries elements of the sport. Corners need navigated, not blown through. Charged boosts must be earned on deadly curves. Cars need repairs in the pit to keep their peak performance. Drafting is essential. It's a shame there's no tutorial to lay this out or a manual well designed enough to get this information across.
This title couldn't be called “easy,” even if easy in the realm of kart racers is subjective. Either you can personally deal with being blasted by a deadly homing shot a few feet from the finish line or not. With friends, it's in good fun. Against AI drivers, it's all frustration. There's no solid judgment curve for such an element.
Yes, the game takes a traditionalist approach with power-ups spawning on the tracks, drivers grabbing them, and shooting them off in a desperate bid for the pole position. At times, it's painfully obvious what a carbon copy this is. The homing shot is red, as if it's trying to remain familiar to Mario Kart aficionados in every way possible. F1 Race Stars has a few tricks, including inclement weather that takes a toll on each racer except for the one who launched it. There is also a safety car that bursts onto the track ahead of the first place car to force a slower pace for everyone except the racer who launched it.
That stupid safety car turns an already droll race into a slog fest on anything less than the 3000cc, making the race into an arduous, overly long trek across courses that seem ample in design. It just doesn't click until you become brave. Even at its speed peak, F1 Race Stars is a mundane racer punctuated by moments of high intensity.