Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review

by Jake Galouzis Featured

8 Comments 23 Votes 4501 Views 04/12/2012 Back to Reviews

Everyone's favourite blue hedgehog returns for some fast-paced action.

Sonic & All-Stars Got Right
  • + Tracks are vibrant and creative
  • + Diverse character roster
  • + Co-op is great fun
Sonic & All-Stars Got Wrong
  • - What the Danica Patrick?
  • - No dedicated tutorial mode

Following up to its well-received predecessor, 2010’s Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed improves on its sibling in almost every aspect, providing an immensely enjoyable experience for all ages. Whilst Sonic is certainly no stranger to whoring himself out to different genres (see: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games), the game provides a mix of your favourite Sega characters along with some of the most unique and fun to play tracks you’ll find in any racing title. Put simply, if you’re a PS3 user and trying to decide between this and LittleBigPlanet Karting, this should undoubtedly be your mascot racer of choice.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed instantly throws you into the action, no matter what game mode you choose. There’s no dedicated tutorial mode to explain the game’s mechanics, instead dropping tips for areas such as drifting and info on weapons as you play. This is only a minor gripe – the game’s controls are extremely simple to grasp – just make sure you’ve read over the controls so you don’t spend the first ten seconds of your inaugural race trying to figure out which button is mapped to accelerate and which one is for item use.

In saying that, if you didn’t happen to play Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, the level design is going to blow your mind. Playing for the first time, I loaded up the ‘Coastal Cruise’ track – what seemed like a vibrant and relatively meek raceway soon flipped my expectations on their head – for the last lap collapses the road and throws your car onto the water beneath, transforming your vehicle into a virtual hovercraft and shaking up the gameplay dramatically. Gameplay-wise, there’s never a dull moment, with the colourful tracks never ceasing to provide frantic gameplay.

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Vehicles handle well, and while each character possesses a different set of attributes, tracks are always a joy to play and won’t leave you wanting to pull your hair out. Weaponry and other various pickups are also easily identifiable and simple to use. From a measly boost to speed past your enemies, throwing balls of ice to freeze your opponents or even summoning a swarm of bees to block the path of other racers – each weapon/item is useful in its own way.

The game’s Career mode will see you explore a vast array of different terrains, with certain areas of each track transforming your seemingly innocent vehicle into a plane to soar through the skies or even a hovercraft to transcend along water. The gameplay is frenetic and the World Tour mode provides plenty of replayability – not only will you face standard races along the way, but you must pass various other events such as Drift Challenges, Versus and Traffic Attack. Drift Challenges must see the player drift along a set path to gain seconds to add to each checkpoint, and must gain enough time before the clock runs out. Versus sees the player battle three different icons from the Sega universe in a 1v1 race (you have to be in front at certain intervals for the new counterpart to appear), and in Traffic Attack players must weave through virtual traffic to reach checkpoints before the timer runs out.

In terms of playable characters, you can choose from a variety of familiar faces such as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, whilst characters from the game’s predecessor (Sonic & All-Stars Racing) such as Beat from Jet Set Radio, B.D. Joe from Crazy Taxi and AiAi of Super Monkey Ball return and are just as fun to play again. This time around though, Sumo Digital and Sega have given the nod to nostalgia and included playable icons such as Gilius Thunderhead from 1989’s Golden Axe, and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. The inclusion of American racecar driver Danica Patrick as an unlockable player is rather bizarre and frankly laugh-worthy, however, especially after playing through the Skies of Arcadia stage in World Tour and expecting to unlock Vyse, only to have a real, helmet-wielding woman pop up on your screen.


Back onto Career mode, whilst World Tour is the central theme, Grand Prix, Time Attack and Single Race modes provide plenty of incentive to persist with the game. For those familiar with Mario Kart, Grand Prix is the stock standard four map, three lap tournament – you’ll be awarded points based on your placing at the end of each map, in order to win tournaments and take home trophies. Time Attack allows players to race against ghosts of other online players in an effort to set the fastest lap time, and Single Race is ultimately the game’s pick up and play mode. The game’s online and local split-screen modes play seamlessly (as they should), and you can choose from a variety of different race and arena gametypes to play.

The Final Verdict

While obvious comparisons can be drawn to Mario Kart, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed more than deserves to exist in its own right through its ingenious use of transforming stages and alternating vehicles – not to mention its variety of game modes and entertaining co-op play. It does right what LittleBigPlanet Karting failed to – incorporate personality, vibrant level design and hectic gameplay all at once. Not only is it one of the most enjoyable mascot racers of recent times, it’s one of the most fun racing games, period. If you’re looking for some fast-paced multiplayer fun, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a definite buy.

By Jake Galouzis

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Platform: PS3 / Xbox / DS / PC / WiiU / Vita
Similar to: Sonic All-Stars Racing, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart
 
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Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review Comments

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One to pick up thanks for the review, glad it has a decent career mode :)
This game is actually quite cheap too which is kind of sad. Cause cheap games are usually games that people want to get rid of.

It's a pretty good game. It's a great game actually. I reckon if they advertise this and keep the quality up Mario Kart could have a real contender for once.

And the harder the difficulty the more brutal they get. I also love how the tracks go under a transformation themselves, and it really puts you on the spot at times you have to change your whole mindset. It's actually exciting having something totally different the second lap.

I don't mean to diss Mario here. But it's amazing people say Sonic's a Whore and he's selling out and no one buys Sonic games anymore because of it. But so is Mario. There's like tons of Mario games out there, 3 to 4 Mario games a year and yet everyone still goes out and buys them. Mario makes Spinoffs too. Yet no one seems to mind. Yet Sonic tries it and they're like look at Sonic selling out, he's just copying Mario i'm not going to get that.
hey LittleBigPlanet Karting was awqesome but thanks for the heads up i will give this a try now
I love how games like Sonic All Stars and All Stars Battle Royale (just realized the similarities in titles) are both innovating in areas where Nintendo's main franchises (Mario Kart/Smash Bros, respectively) are becoming stale; mainly, changing levels, third-party characters, and new ideas. I enjoy this sort of change and hope to see more as time moves on. (*)
Now it would be cool if they made a Mario Kart where all the levels or some changed depending on the lap. Don't see why they couldn't do it with a the next one
I'm enjoying this but I'm finding some of the levels quite tricky. The transitions sometimes totally mess me up. I find them fun but geez....

I've raged a lot at this game.

Still over all it's fun and the co op is AWESOME!
Loved the original and also enjoyed the demo for this one. My 'limited edition' copy finally came in the mail today... yet to fire it up.

Part of me thinks Sega missed out on a fair amount of nostalgia by leaving out Wonderboy, ToeJam and Earl, and Streets of Rage (and why did they have to leave out the Fantasy Zone ship?) but this does seem to be a real tight game and worth more than they're charging for it.

Sony's two karting efforts really lack the personality of these Sega karting games... I bought the first Sonic and Sega All-Stars because I found ModNation Racers to be lacking in personality and good tracks, and I bought Transformed because I thought LBP Karting lacked personality as well. And I suppose, having owned a Master System and Mega Drive, I'm a bit of a Sega fanboi anyways.
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