Once again, Sumo proves that they might just be the best when it comes to kart racers. Though the character roster has some strange choices (especially in the transition from Sega All-Stars to just Sonic characters), the gameplay, kart customization, and excellent music cement Team Sonic Racing as an absolute gem of a racing game.
Team Sonic Racing
Developer: SEGA and Sumo Digital
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review
Ever since 2010’s Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing, I’ve been a big fan of Sumo Digital and how they make kart-racing games. The fluidity and high-speed of both Sega racing games, as well as the company’s clear passion for SEGA and its franchises, made me hungry for more. It’s taken a while, but SEGA and Sumo have given me just that, and outside of a couple speedbumps, it’s exactly what I had hoped for.
Team Sonic Racing places a strange amount of its attention on its fairly standard story mode, which has Sonic and friends race against one another (and Eggman, naturally) after being invited to do so by the mysterious tanuki Dodon Pa. The story has some fun character interactions but it’s fairly forgettable overall, especially since X/A (the default “confirm” button in the West) is the “Select Race and Skip Story” option, meaning you’ll probably accidentally skip at least a few cutscenes throughout the course of the adventure.
There are some fun special races scattered throughout adventure mode, like ring-collection time trials and Eggbot battle races. These are a lot of fun and add a great deal of variety to the otherwise basic adventure mode.
“You can even transfer items to other teammates, which promotes a pretty unique type of teamwork, whether playing with friends or A.I.“
The vehicles in Team Sonic Racing are quite customizable, all with mods and pieces you get from a gashapon-esque capsule machine. You get currency pretty quickly, so the random acquisition of equipment doesn’t feel unfair or bothersome. The mods make each character’s kart look quite different, which makes them worth obtaining if you want to make your favorite character’s kart as cool as it can be.
Like with all kart-racing games, the actual driving is the most important part of the package. Team Sonic Racing has this in spades, as it’s as smooth and exciting as kart-racing could be. Transitioning between driving and drifting is seamless, which makes maintaining a constant high-speed a thoroughly enjoyable challenge. This is made even more seamless through the skim-boost system, which lets your teammates speed you up or help you recover from a crash. You can even transfer items to other teammates, which promotes a pretty unique type of teamwork, whether playing with friends or A.I..
A lot of Mario Kart-inspired games often have nonsensical and random items as replacements for the iconic Koopa Shells and Mushrooms, but not Team Sonic Racing. In a rather creative decision, Team Sonic Racing uses Wisps, the super-powered aliens from Sonic Colors, as its items. Different colored Wisps have different abilities, many of which correspond with their abilities in Sonic Colors. It’s a unique way to present power-ups in a way that fits with the world of Sonic the Hedgehog, which I appreciate.
The selection of playable characters is alright, except for a few odd omissions/choices. The idea behind playing as three Chao in one vehicle is pretty neat, but it feels strange to have them take Cream the Rabbit’s place in “Team Rose”, which was established all the way back in 2004’s Sonic Heroes. The same goes for “Team Vector”, which includes Silver and Blaze instead of any other members of Chaotix, which has been Vector’s team/detective agency since 1995’s Knuckles’ Chaotix. Most fan favorites are present and accounted for, like Shadow, Rouge, and Blaze, but the choices for parts of the roster still stand out as strange.
“There’s so much to love in Team Sonic Racing’s soundtrack that I’d recommend it to everyone, even if you’re not interested in the game itself.“
I do wish there were a few more stages in Team Sonic Racing, as a few of the present stages are fairly similar aesthetically, which makes it feel as though there aren’t very many stages. There’s no shortage of iconic Sonic levels and stages to make tracks out of, so I hope we get some really different and exciting ones added in the future as DLC.
Team Sonic Racing has an amazing soundtrack that’s chock-full of stellar remixes of classic Sonic tunes. I’m a sucker for Rooftop Run, no matter what game it’s in, and the remix and track in Team Sonic Racing based on that stage are top-notch. The same goes for the Seaside Hill-based track, as well as the ones based on original Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing courses. There’s so much to love in Team Sonic Racing’s soundtrack that I’d recommend it to everyone, even if you’re not interested in the game itself.
The Final Word
Team Sonic Racing is yet another fantastic kart-racer from Sumo Digital and SEGA. I wish there were more courses and some different characters, but otherwise, the fast and fluid racing and godly soundtrack makes Team Sonic Racing an easy grab.
MonsterVine Review Score: 4 out of 5 – Good