Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, an outstanding go-kart racer from SEGA, is now available from the app store. The most polished Mario Kart clone to date, SEGA’s best-known characters take to the track with an impressive wealth of content that should keep gamers busy for some time.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Pros:
- Beautiful 3D graphics and detailed environments to enjoy
- Great soundtracks that fit each course style
- Multiple control options, very intuitive
- Plenty of game modes and multiplayer options to keep you busy
- Bunch of unique racers and nice variety of tracks
- GameCenter and OpenFeint integration for leaderboards, achievements, & matchmaking
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Cons:
- Menu navigation is a bit awkward
- Easy to get confused on some course layouts
While the opening video may be a little faster and more furious than the actual in-game racing, it appropriately sets the tone for an exciting adventure. You must first acquire your license, which is as simple as entering your name and selecting an avatar. It’s nice to see that multiple licenses can be set up on the same device, giving multiple players the ability to enjoy the game without impacting the stats of another. In addition to local and online multiplayer options, you can also engage in Single Races, Grand Prix, Time Trials, and Missions. Single Races allow you to select any unlocked character to race against 5 others on any unlocked course. Each racer is rated for speed, acceleration, handling, and turbo boost, so certain racers are better in certain situations than others. Grand Prix sees you racing 4 specific courses against the same racers, earning points for your finishing position that carry over through the set of races to determine a winner. Time Trials tests your ability to get through each track as quickly as possible, while Missions gives you a specific goal to meet, such as collecting a certain number of coins, passing through a set number of gates, dodging a preset number of objects, and much more. There are 10 available racers, 15 tracks, 25 missions, and 3 Grand Prix races.
Completing races will earn you SEGA miles, which can be turned in at the Shop to unlock additional racers and courses. The racing itself is very reminiscent of Mario Kart, as each track shows a great deal of character and fun design, with jumps, twists, turns, boost pads, and the like. There are also barrels that contain special power items that can be used both offensively and defensively against your opponents. The usual speed bursts and bombs are present, but there are also some unique power-ups like the rainbow that obscures another racer’s view or the tornado that whisks you quickly along the track, blowing other racers off-course at the same time. Drifting is a key component of the game, as this is the method by which you charge your boost meter, giving yourself a little extra oomph and requiring that you plan accordingly so that you can aim in an open direction rather than simply ram yourself into a guardrail. In fact, our biggest gripe was the menu system, which can be a little confusing to navigate.
Graphically, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing really nails the console feel, with beautiful 3D graphics, plenty of detail, and smooth animations. The variety of racers and courses keep things visually fresh and it’s always nice to see some familiar faces. The soundtrack has an arcade techno vibe, perfect for the quick action and crazy mayhem inherent in the gameplay. There are 2 control options available: tilt or touch to steer. Braking and drifting are controlled by a couple of buttons on the right side of the screen. Activating your special power is handled by tapping the box on the left when using tilt steering or tapping a button on the right when using touch. The controls are sufficiently responsive and there is a sensitivity slider to tweak them to your liking. Your progression meter and lap time reside at the screen top, and your lap number and position are indicated in the upper right corner.
Replay value abounds, from the multitude of game modes to the unlockables to multiplayer races to the exciting gameplay that keeps you striving for better performances. GameCenter and OpenFeint integration allow for global leaderboards and an achievement system, too. As a universal app, gamers with large or small devices can enjoy all that this game has to offer. At $4.99, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a very worthwhile offering and a 4.5-Dimple top-notch performer.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review,