A bit like a bus, you wait for one kart racer, then two come along almost back to back.
The first one to hit (before the Crash Racing Remaster) is Team Sonic Racing. Brought to us from Sumo Digital, which previously worked on the Sonic All Star racing series and whose years of experience working on titles like this has really shone through on this one.
Now SEGA has decided to drop the whole “SEGA Universe” thing and have doubled down on Sonic. The game is set in the Sonic Boom universe and the characters are all fully voiced by their cartoon counterparts and the humour and storytelling is very much what you would expect if you watch the show.
The main mode the game offers up is Team story mode. This is set up with you being wished off into space to take part in a racing competition. As you would expect, the story is just there to loosely tie together why these characters are racing, if you are not interested in it then you don’t even have to look at it as the game offers you the option to just race and skip all cutscenes before they even begin. The story mode plays out on level select that is a bit like Super Mario 3, you need to gain a specific amount of stars to move on and to gain the stars you have to tackle a variety of team races and also solo challenges, such as drift or overtaking challenges. The story mode does a great job of mixing it up and allowing you to enjoy the team mechanic.
One of my biggest fears coming into this game was the team element being forced on you. Well, I’m happy to say that when racing in multiplayer (online or off) you can scrap the whole team mechanic and straight up kart race 1 VS all as it should be. Now if you have a group of friends then team play is great but someone always wants to be the best so 1 vs 1 is great to have. While playing online you have access to leagues and ranking so the game has the potential to have a good online life.
Back to gameplay. The driving is fantastic and most importantly the drifting is perfect. It’s so much fun to drift and chaining drifts feels so natural and fun to pull off. All the typical weapon styles are available to you (by typical I mean what Mario Kart has). The biggest difference to this over your usual Kart racer is the team play. Now when you play your team is very important, if you win and they suck then you won’t win overall. Now there are ways to prevent this and help your team. For a start, if you’re the leader you lay down a trial that if your team follows they get boosted. So the better you drive the straighter and easier to follow your trial will become. You can also bump into them for a boost as well as slingshot at the end of long boosts to fly forward. You can also pass weapons to your team, unlike Mario when you are in front you will still gain useful weapons, now these won’t be good for you in first, but pass them back and your team will gain spots. Pull off enough team moves and your ultimate will activate allowing you to trigger a sort of supersonic dash allowing you to drag yourself and your team even further forward.
Overall I love Team Sonic Racing. The developers have added small things like customization that helps to add legs to the game. They have not locked it ‘Team Only,’ instead it’s everything I could want and it looks great to boot. I thought I would probably like this title but I’ll be honest and say it’s better than I expected and it’s one of those games that ticks the box for being “Fun for any age”.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*