Following in the steps of the Persona dancing game, one fan decided the next logical step would be a Persona go-carting game.
Persona 4: Racing All Afternoon is a recently completed fan-game by MaxieManGames. In it, you race Mario Kart-style against members of the Persona 3 and 4 casts. Many of the game's resources come from other Persona games—namely the soundtrack, voices, and character portraits. The carts themselves are original (likely based off of SNES Mario Kart sprites) and are quite cute in their own right.
The race tracks in the game, while varied in layout, are little more than featureless corridors. The only difference in the look of each track is the color palette. Also, the other racers don't seem to drive on the track when in the distance. But the graphics of the tracks are not the core mechanic of Racing All Afternoon, the battles are.
Like in Mario Kart, you can pick up a variety of weapons to use on other players—based on the elemental magic spells from the Persona games. Zio, for example, hits all those in front of you that you can see with lightning while Bufu fires a block of ice that freezes anyone it hits. When hit by these attacks, you slow down slightly for a few seconds unless the attack fully depletes your HP, in which case you slow to a crawl until you recover.
The main strategy, however, is not to deplete the other racers' HP but to use your attacks to knock them off the side of the tracks into the rough where their speed drops dramatically. Getting back on the track wastes valuable time, allowing you to get far ahead. Of course, the enemy racers have no qualms about doing the same to you... constantly.
One thing I noticed early on while playing is that being in first place is a deathtrap. While the game warns you of incoming attacks, it is impossible to dodge them all. And even if you manage to not be knocked off of the track, you will eventually run out of HP, usually on lap 3 of 3, costing you your victory. That said, the racing is rather easy. I never had problems placing in the top three—which is all you need to do to continue to the next level of the game's story mode.
That's right, Racing All Afternoon has a story mode. Between each of the seven races, the characters of Persona 3 and 4 meet and proceed to travel through the world inside the TV via go-carts. The plot is somewhat tongue-in-cheek—lampooning the RPG's party-size limit among other things—but does actually manage to hit an emotional beat or two by the end. While short, the plot turns out to be rather enjoyable.
All in all, Racing All Afternoon took about two hours for me to fully master—i.e., working through the plot and unlocking the hidden characters. It can be downloaded for free from the MaxieMadGames website. [Note: My Avast anti-virus warned me that the game's exe file was a virus. I scanned the file with various other virus scans, however, and it came up clean. Still, download this game at your own risk.]
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