TEAM SONIC RACING
Sega’s latest battle racer pulls into position, but without the supporting cast
Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed was one of the few decent kart racers on PlayStation, a mechanically sound battle racer spanning land, sea, and air, set across wildly themed tracks from IPs as varied as Sonic and Golden Axe.
Sumo Digital’s latest Sega-themed racer, Team Sonic Racing, focuses on Sonic and his companions, and restricts the action to kart racing rather than competing in more outlandish vehicles. In place of the eclectic madness of the last game is a new hook: each race is team-based, as you and two other players share items, speed boosts, and points. The team with the most points at the end (in other words, the highest combined finishing position) wins.
It’s an interesting idea, giving a rare twist to a traditionally staid genre. Closely follow in a teammate’s slipstream, for example, and you get a speed boost. Or if you’re leading the pack, why not send your buddy that projectile power-up you don’t need? Pull off enough team moves like these, and you can execute a powerful ‘Ultimate Boost’ that hurtles the lot of you towards the finish line.
This feels fine in action, and could really flourish in the 12-player four-team online multiplayer. But what we’ve seen so far – just two tracks – lacks the absurdity and unpredictability of its predecessor, leaving things feeling bland, a little grounded, with only the cast of Sonic for company. Here’s hoping more mayhem is just round the next corner.
“PULL OFF ENOUGH TEAM MOVES, AND YOU CAN EXECUTE AN ‘ULTIMATE BOOST’ THAT HURTLES YOUR TEAM FORWARDS.”
Why is Tails the slowest? Because he’s only one Miles Prower! (Hey, where are you going?…)
The team-based system will keep things exciting, despite the lack of characters from Sega’s other IPs.
Above The teamplay is a welcome twist on the traditional formula, encouraging communication beyond the usual screams associated with battle racing.
Above You can’t create characters, but you can customise existing ones.
Above The tracks we played in the hands-on felt a little rote.