Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review: Kart Racing Finesse
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Developer: Sumo Digital
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, Wi, Wii U
Rated: E10 for Everyone 10+
Sonic is known as the fastest thing alive, on foot. Place him in a vehicle and you’ve just evened the playing field. All-Stars, including B.D. Joe from Crazy Taxi and Wreck-it Ralph are all looking for recognition. Mario Kart has created the biggest buzz around it’s genre. It’s been tweaked and refined in so many ways, but never outshined the original. Sumo Games focused on the entertainment, not the competition. So, how entertaining is Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Transformed breakdown between career, multiplayer and custom games. Inside the career option you can choose from World Tour, Grand Prix, Time Attack and Single Race. Time attack and single races are basic modes, but will require you to complete areas in the World Tour to play individual maps. Grand Prix is sets of tournaments where you strive to obtain trophies and a high ranked licence.
In the World Tour, you’ll need to collect stars to unlock extra maps. The fastest way to collect them all is by playing of the hardest difficulty and coming in first. Choosing a lower difficulty will award you fewer stars, regardless of the finishing position.
What will help you in the end is your driving skills and completion bonuses, which will allow your character to level up. When you level up you’re able to adjust your skill set which will become a huge plus to winning races later in the tour or Grand Prix.
Every character vehicle handles differently which opens a variety of choices for particular races. The challenge from each race doesn’t end with driving technique or opponent, you also have to be mindful of the interactive stages. Random objects are moving in rotation; if you aren’t mindful, you just might take a hit and fall behind the pack.
Like any racing game, there’s special weapons and power-ups spread over the track. Unlike Mario Kart, there aren’t as many objects to smash while you’re racing to the finish. The make-up session for this begins is the ability to drift (power slide), giving you a boost if performed correctly and purple arrows / speed boxes that give you an excess amount of acceleration.
Though seeming like a lot, it balances quite well. When you aren’t on the road, your vehicle will be busy transforming into a speed boat or mini aircraft.
There’s plenty of interesting weapons you can receive such as bees that will complete block your opponent’s route or rockets that will target whomever’s closest to you (pending on which way you aim your rocket). At the same time, you can earn boost or a glove. The glove, which is most handy, allows you to catch any weapon being aim for you. If you’re lucky, you may earn an all-star which will allow a special attribute for a short amount of time.
In addition to the maps, you can unlock 13 hidden characters throughout the tour.
In the Custom Games, there’s some amazing mini games. You can play Battle Arena which serves as a demolition game with plenty of powers. Boost Race plays like, in a sense, capture the flag as you race to flag points.
At first glance I thought these would be silly, but as mentioned before, character selection takes you a long way on the tracks. It made each game feel fresh and worth playing more than once.
Graphics in Transformed are by no means high definition, but it has very vibrant colors. No one map stood out as they all seemed to have their own uniqueness. Character renders were decent, but nowhere near what you see during the game’s intro.
Controls are typical in what you’d expect from most kart racing titles. If you played one before, chances are you will already know the control scheme.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is indeed innovative. If you wanted to compare this title to Mario Kart, Sonic would be walking away with the trophy. Kart racing will honestly never be a forerunner for game of the year, but a game that can deliver like this deserves the recognition.
Replay Value: 4.25/5
Overall Rating: 4.25/5