2012’s Sonic All-Star Racing Transformed is still considered to be one of the best kart-racers ever made, so when Sumo Digital (yes, the Crackdown 3 guys!) is coming with a sequel you just have to pay attention! Team Sonic Racing has transformed into something entirely different, that brings positive changes but while very good it doesn’t match the epicness from before… read why in this review for Team Sonic Racing!
- Creative teamwork gameplay: As in all racers you’ll be trying to cross the finish line as the first driver, Sumo Digital tried to do things a little bit differently and that comes as a huge fresh air in the kart (and racing) genre! You are always on the track as a team and you’ll have to make sure that your teammates do a good job too. You’ll have some cool mechanics for that, first of all, Team Sonic Racing has found the perfect solution for powerups management, pressing B while having a useless powerup will give it to a teammate, you yourself can request powerups too by pressing the same button. This also fills in a team speed meter that once full will unleash a powerful and tactical speed boost for your entire team. It doesn’t end with that, when you are driving close enough behind a teammate you’ll start to notice a yellow line on the track, if you can manage to drive in this narrow line you’ll get a serious speed boost! This comes both ways, so you’ll have to be sure that when you are driving first you don’t make things too hard for your friends. Lastly, you have some sort of instant-spawn if things don’t go as planned, getting hit by a rocket when you are near a team member will give you a recovery boost so you don’t lose too much time. It reads a little basic but it really turns the gameplay into something special and fun.
- Fun campaign: Nothing to do with the story (see mixed) but the actual gameplay and
variation are what makes the campaign shine in Team Sonic Racing. Collecting every single star and keys won’t be an easy task but gives a lot of replay value and content. Things change frequently with exciting game modes that force you to play a little bit different, it isn’t the longest single player experience but good luck beating everything on the hardest difficulty, you will need it!
- Is this a dance game? Fantastic soundtrack: “Maximum Overdrive” is how the album is named and I’m sure that everyone will be interested in adding it on Spotify or buying it from publishing label Wave Master Entertainment when you played this game. It is THAT good.
- Brilliant level design: Not one of the 21 stages (+ mirror stages) based on Sonic locations are disappointing. The colorful worlds are full with details for Sonic fans and dangerous hazards or speed boosts. Sure a few of them are pretty confusing at first but that’s part of the learning curve. One thing I found really impressive is that each one plays and looks very different, in other words, it is hard to become bored as things change often.
- Ridicules mechanic for unlocking items: Car parts, horns and starting powerups are locked behind “coins” These coins are race rewards, nothing wrong with that but this is such an overly looooooooong mechanic that everyone will hate. You constantly have to confirm that you want to buy a new random reward, making this part of the game knife cuttingly painful and especially slow.
- Roster: I’m all for quality over quantity but having 15 characters isn’t really cutting it, it is a decent number but I wish it was a little bit more sizeable. You can’t mix up teams either so having a custom made team isn’t an option. While this might make sense, teaming Sonic with Eggman would be “funny”, is still a missed opportunity.
- Playable characters: Sonic – Tails – Knuckles – Amy – Chao – Big – Blaze – Silver – Vector – Shadow – Rouge – Omega – Metal Sonic – Dr. Eggman and Zavok.
- Weak story: You know that feeling when someone doubles you in an online racing game? Well, the story from Team Sonic Racing is that painful. Never, not even from the beginning did it manage to interest me. I’m placing this with mixed because I guess Sonic fans will see some value in it, but for me personally? I pressed skip on almost every scene after chapter 3.
- Massive performance issues with local-play: This was really surprising but playing with another player in local-screen has some MASSIVE performance issues. And I’m playing on Xbox One X.. you know “the current most powerful console ever made.” Playing alone or online doesn’t have a single issue but whenever you add another player the frame drops are very single digit obvious.
- Voice actors: I’m making a strong bet here and say that 95% of all the Team Sonic Racing players will skip some dialogues. I just finished A Plague Tale and coming from a game with such strong voice actors to… this. Let me tell you that this is worse than atrocious, even the “main character” Sonic seems to be a random dude that was shopping in Primark and was asked to speak in some sentences on a low-quality recorder.
Team Sonic Racing doesn’t match its former game in the franchise but it is still a really fun racing experience, more importantly, it isn’t afraid to try something new with the team mechanics! Awesome bonus points for the fantastic soundtrack!