5:19pm Monday 14th January 2013
By Mukti Paul, Games contributor
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a kart racer featuring classic characters from Sega franchises and a couple of guest characters.
The game will draw you in the moment you insert the disc with a beautiful intro movie that showcases the characters and the vehicle transformations promised in the title.
Adults will feel rushes of nostalgia when moving through the game’s cast of more than 20 characters and a younger audience will love the colourful style of the characters and their cars.
It is impossible to even think of kart racing games without Mario Kart being mentioned - however, Sonic Transformed holds up well in comparison and certainly deserves to be in the spotlight without being in the former’s shadow.
Sonic Transformed is a celebration of all things Sega. Music features remixes of classic music from old games, which even if not instantly recognisable will certainly seem familiar.
Visuals are vibrant and detailed, recreating classic worlds from games such as After Burner and Skies of Arcadia perfectly. Courses are also dynamic and will change between laps.
The brilliance is highlighted to keen-eyed observers who will notice the lesser known Sega characters making brief appearances such as Ristar appearing at the start and finish of races.
It is these small factors that add to the whole experience. Sumo Digital’s attention to detail has really paid off and created a game that everyone can enjoy.
Sonic Transformed is the perfect family title suitable for all ages and skill levels. In recent years this is becoming less common and it brings hope that gaming isn’t forgetting that games don’t need to be realistic to be entertaining and can please everyone at the same time.
The whole game, including career mode, can be played with up to four players in split-screen mode, a feature almost non-existent in racing games, allowing everyone to get the full game experience together.
It is even possible to go online and race in split-screen so you can even play with your friend’s family, if you want to take competition to a whole new level.
Racing as a car is simple and as expected, drifting can be used in all vehicles and allows you to charge up a boost to be released just as you exit a corner. This can take a while to master, but if you wish to make the best times it is an essential skill.
Boats are generally slower and can be trickier to navigate sharp bends, but will eventually be mastered by all. Flight mode may seem a bit daunting at first, but if you are struggling to deal with moving your plane up and down, the game will change the controls accordingly and even turn on flight assistance. This was a surprising addition to see midrace while playing with children and avoided what could have been a frustrating experience.
It is also possible to perform stunts using the right joystick and this can earn you boost or evade incoming attacks when in flight mode.
Weapons are simple to use and can be passed to teammates if you are playing in split-screen mode, which again is a great addition.
The game has three levels of difficulty initially with an unlockable fourth, which will challenge even the best racers.
There is a multitude of ways to race, the career mode is a good way to start and will showcase all the different playable modes. To give a brief overview of what Sonic Transformed has to offer races can be played with or without weapons, players can have a set number of lives, there are battle arena modes, drift races, time attack, traffic attack, time trials, to name just a few.
Players are encouraged to keep coming back to unlock more characters and tracks. Each character can even be levelled up to unlock modifications to their cars, to adapt to your racing style.
Characters are already well balanced making it possible to win using anyone and to suit every single possible racing style. These modifications just ensure that no one could be unsatisfied with the racers available.
This has everything anyone could wish for in a kart racer, whether you need an easy to pick up and play racer, a game that the family can play together or even just something that’s a little different with high production values.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed should be in everyone’s collection,
Out now for PS3, PSV, Xbox 360, 3DS, PC, WiiU - PS3 and Xbox 360 versions tested
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