Sonic the Hedgehog is back on PlayStation 3 for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, a new racing game featuring some famous characters from the SEGA universe.
The Blue Blur, as he used to be known back in my day, is known for his speed, wacky levels and delightfully furry characters. So what happens when you throw him into a race car and pit him against some of gamings most beloved and iconic characters?
Read on to find out!
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed borrows heavily from the Mario Kart franchise Nintendo has crafted to perfection for so many years. A lot of it feels replicated in glorious HD, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The game presents you with three options – Career, Match Making and Custom Game. Career had a few different gameplay options to choose from; “World Tour” is the most notable as it presents players with races with special conditions achieve in order to progress – you may have to become the winner of a race to unlock the next, for example.
Grand Prix is a familiar option to racing fans and includes five cups with four race tracks each. These modes, along with Time Trials, give players hours of excuses to replay Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed many, many times.
Track design is an absolute stand out in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The race tracks are colourful, fun and will require many play-throughs to master. It’s a great trip through the history of SEGA. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the track design and the hard work by the designers have paid off – you’ll want to keep racing on these maps!
The tracks are dynamic – one moment you’ll be in your comfortable race car, the next it will transform into a boat as you find a shortcut through a canal, or into a jet, navigating a cavern.
Each transformation feels wonderfully different. It’s amazing how quickly the dynamic changes when you’re forced to suddenly come to grips with the new steering and quirks of your transformed vehicle.
Each character also feels very different from the last. Some have tighter steering, others feel clunky but have faster top speeds. Tails seems to be the best all-rounder and easiest to pick up and play, even if that role was supposed to be filled by Sonic. The roster of characters aims to please everyone from long time SEGA fans to new gamers with the inclusion of characters like “Wreck-It Ralph” so there’s plenty in store for all experience levels.
There are tonnes of weapons to pick up as you race though most you’ll map back to Mario Kart. The “Baseball Glove” is your token “Banana” item in defence mode as it absorbs attacks, while a “Blowfish” acts as Mario Kart‘s offensive “Banana” items. RC Car’s are your “Blue Shells” and your “Red Shells” have been replaced by tornados. There is some innovation, though – projectiles like Ice Balls require line of sight and aiming to hit your targets, making for some wickedly cool gameplay in Jet mode.
Online multiplayer is silky smooth and gets very, very heated. With added voice chat over the race and in the pre-race lobby, it’s a load of fun and everyone enjoys it immensely. Online also has a “level up” system in place, so you will be spending a lot of time going head to head with players all over the world.
What Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed lacks in innovation it more than makes up for in a highly polished racing title that puts fun ahead of anything else. Make no mistake, this is a Mario Kart clone but one that respects the genre that game invented and because of that, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the best alternative to Mario Kart you’ll find.
Look out, Nintendo – SEGA is onto your winning formula!