Following on from 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, comes the release of Team Sonic Racing.  Moving away from the land, air and sea “transformed” aspect, Team Sonic Racing has a more grounded approach with an added emphasis on working together as a team.  There are five teams to choose from, each with three characters to race with in their own unique racing karts.  In each of the teams, characters will have different classes, ranging from Speed, Technique and Power.  So for example, obviously on Team Sonic, Sonic will be in the Speed category, Tails in the more all-round Technique class, and Knuckles as the Power.

Then once you’re in the race, your aim will be for each of your team members to finish in the top three.  Playing singleplayer, you can only really ensure that your controlling character has the best chance of finishing first, however, you can help your AI team members.  Throughout each course you will be able to pick-up Power-Ups, you can use them or you can gift them mid-race to a team member and vice versa.  Performing actions such as this one will contribute towards your team’s Ultimate Team Boost, giving you all an increased speed boost, much better than the boosts you might pick-up during the race.

Once you have unlocked all the circuits available, there are a total of 21 circuits, not only new circuits inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog games of yesteryear, but it also features favourites from Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing from 2010 and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed from 2012.  Each of them are bright and colourful, but try not to get to distracted, as you may miss a game changing shortcut.

There are is also a high emphasis on kart customisation.  Not only can you customise each and every kart in the game, from a change of paint or a theme inspired by classic games and locations, but you can also kit out the racing karts wheels, bumpers and spoilers, each will change the various performance stats that a particular kart might have.  However, in order to unlock all the customisation items available, you will have to earn in-game credits by playing the various modes, which can then be used to purchase Mod Pods.  These are randomised rewards that can not only feature kart parts, but also race modifiers, so for example in a singleplayer race, you could begin with a short speed boost or rocket to attack an enemy.  The credit rewards are very generous, so you’ll soon be buying these Mod Pods by the bucket load and there are no microtransactions in the game, just to ease any concerns.

In terms of gameplay modes, you have Team Adventure, which does have a story that explains each of the racers motivations, but in all honesty, it’s very forgettable.  But it involves Sonic and co getting an invite to a mysterious Grand Prix by an odd looking, round fella.  However, in all fairness, it’s not like I expected this kind of game to have a story to begin with, just like I don’t with the likes of Mario Kart, so I’ll give the game a pass.  The Team Adventure is split into chapters and gives you a predetermined chance to try out each of the teams available.  During which, you will not only have plenty of races, but there are also special stipulation races that might have you collect as many coins as possible that prolongs your race time or survival races, in which characters at the back of the pack will be eliminated one-by-one, until there is a winner.  Also, while the story is a throwaway, the Team Adventure is the best way to unlock all the content and earn in-game credits.

Other modes includes your standard Exhibition, Time Trial and Grand Prix races which can be played locally with up-to four players.  In terms of online modes, you not only have three previously mentioned modes, but also modes such as King of the Hill and more.  Unfortunately, I never did get to try out all modes, I guess due to it being pre-release, but as long as there is an active online community and if you have friends that own the game, there is a lot of online fun to be had, as well as of course local play and singleplayer with all the added Sega and Sonic charm, with nostalgic music to boot.

In conclusion, Team Sonic Racing should not be disregarded as another “kart” racer, because this more than holds its own.  The developers at Sumo Digital have done a great job in not only incorporating team work with AI’s, but it feels even greater playing with friends or young family members, whether you compete in a traditional race or as part of a team.  In many ways, Team Sonic Racing has a similar cross-generation charm to that of the Lego games, because regardless of your age, there’s a lot of fun to be had.  We may already have been gifted with the likes of Mario Kart Deluxe, and the forthcoming new Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled on the way, but Team Sonic Racing is an absolute blast for all ages alike and will more than play its part in the kart racer revival.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake