I was recently asked for a few game recommendations. It is meant for a child, and said child likes Sonic. So I thought to myself. Surely Nintendo Switch has “Sonic All-Start Racing Transformed”, right? Wrong.
Whatever the reason Sega has for not including All-Star Racing Transformed on the Nintendo Switch – they’re wrong.
However, to my surprise, there was something of a sequel to “Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed” in the form of “Team Sonic Racing”.
I recommended “Team Sonic Racing” without playing it since my little cousin likes Sonic regardless, so he was bound to love it.
Cut to me a couple days ago, when “Team Sonic Racing” is on sale on Steam for like $4.99. That was too good of a deal to pass up, and since I enjoyed “Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed”, I figured I might enjoy this one as well.
The steam reviews, while generally positive, was also rather negative, more so than I expected. They all pretty much panned the game in comparison to All-Star Racing Transformed. They aren’t wrong, but they aren’t right either. Here’s Why.
Chapter I: This looks good (Graphics)
Let’s get something out of the way first and foremost. This game is visually stunning. I don’t know what Sega is doing here, but much like the previous game, Team Sonic Racing absolutely delivers on its graphics.
The moment you start a track, you are inundated with a barrage of colours, a dazzling array of set pieces that all make their respective tracks come alive. The gang’s race cars, cosmetics, and car upgrades are all visible, and with that pristine, sleek, almost Pixar look.
The game will take you across twenty-one stunning, and brilliantly designed courses, with some returning from Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed. Every track exudes charm and personality, that make it a joy to blast through at top speed.
The tracks are diverse, and no matter where you watch, up close or far off into the distance, there is always something interesting going on in the background, with an art style that fits so well with Sonic as a whole. Every part of the stage fits like a well-tailored glove, meant for a well-tailored suit.
The game also features a huge array of car modifications, always visible once equipped, and additional cosmetics that adds colour palettes and decals to your cars.
Chapter II: CRUSH ME. (Sound & Music)
I want to make something very clear. The only reason why I am writing this review, and talking about this game right now, is because of the soundtrack. This is easily one of the best sonic soundtracks from recent memory. I know that might be a bit controversial, but just listen to main theme song for this game.
There were several musicians who contributed to the game’s soundtrack, with Jun Senoue (apologies for mispronouncing) serving as the main composer, and for lack of a better word, Soundtrack Director, as he also composed the other tracks with the musicians who contributed.
He returns to the mainstream Sonic Games, since his last outing being Sonic Generations from 2011.
The soundtrack is easily the best part of this game, and I absolutely loved it. There is a lot of rock, jazz, and funk influences sprinkled throughout, with a genuine dose of EDM, that keeps your blood pumping with that high intensity music you’d expect as you barrel across a race track.
The sound design of this game is spot on for a casual car racing game. It sounds satisfying to race, to rev engines, to crash into other players.
Chapter III: Look No Hands! (Gameplay)
The game features standard racing game mechanics as its base. You can compete in races, or in a grand prix – where you play four tracks, with each position you place giving you different points, and the tally of those points wins the grand prix at the end.
This game’s main gimmick is the notion of team-based racing. You are racing as part of a team. You can give a slipstream to your allies if you are in front, and vice versa, which allows you to gain more speed. You can also use this to sling shot your self to the front. You can trade the power ups you collect to your allies, and they can send you their power ups that they aren’t using. Once you’ve performed a set number of drifts, collect enough coins, and probably do something else. You gain access to the Ultimate power up. This super charges your car, and your teammates cars, making you invincible and allows you to quickly charge pass your opponents. Another notable feature is if you get knocked off the track or otherwise come to a halt, your ally who is just passing by you will super charge your car and get you back into the game as quickly as possible.
Every time you complete a stage, you get Credits. These credits can be used to purchase ModPods. This is a gatcha style mechanic that gives you a random performance part which may affect your acceleration, boost, defence, handling, or top speed. It can also give you colour palettes, decals and the like to further customize your car. I would’ve rather just buy the parts I wanted using credits I earn. I don’t like the notion of gatcha/lootboxes in something like this.
The game features several different kinds of races. You can play standard lap races, knockout races, collecting rings races – where you collect rings to extend the time and collect more rings to earn points to gain medals. There are also exhibition races, with customizable rules. There is also this drift game mode that requires to drift around check points to score points. I don’t like it lol.
It also features online play. Here’s a screen shot of what that looks like. An empty lobby? C O O L.
Chapter IV: What in the Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed Is this?
The game is fantastic, it was honestly a lot of fun to play. However, this game got some issues. So, let’s head down. There may be 21 tracks, but it often feels like there is like 6, especially in the early part of the Team Adventure, the game’s story mode. The game has to stretch those twenty-one tracks across a significant chunk of races, and the main story line.
I didn’t mind the voice acting, but the cutscenes were terrible. The only good thing about the cutscenes is the fact that its only like thirty seconds long. The game’s plot is simple, which I don’t mind, but the dialogue boxes with just character portraits staring at me wasn’t. Several times, I would play a stage, and then play the other stage that on the same line, and the game would replay the same cutscene. WHY. Its clear that the programmers wanted you to see the cutscene which ever path you took, but if you already showed me it, then don’t show me it again?
The game features only twelve playable characters, and while this number is much smaller than the Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed cast, I didn’t notice as much as most people said I would. If you’re expecting a huge roster, don’t.
On the topic of other characters. The AI needs to be better next time. My team AI team allies would regularly try to gain first place, even if that means pushing me off the track and letting other players go pass us. This cost me several races. You get used to it after a while, and its more of a sporadic thing, but it happened enough that I am making note of it.
Team Sonic Racing is a fantastic Sonic & Friends only racing game. Don’t let the All-Star Racing Transformed stans fool you. The game is solid in what it offers, except for its story – but let’s be real, who plays racing games for the story anyway? (I am aware NFS exists, Sonic is not the entire Need for Speed Franchise.) A fantastic soundtrack, that gets you pumped and ready, with gorgeous graphics, and fun game mechanics make Team Sonic Racing a genuinely fun experience.