Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review

Sonic's new racing adventure speeds past its predecessor and delivers a kart racer that can keep up with the best in the genre.

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Whenever Sega has released a mascot-fueled game, such as Sega Superstar Tennis, comparisons have inevitably been drawn to its Nintendo-developed counterpart. But Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is far from a poor man's Mario Kart. Fun track design, a solid character roster, and a bevy of multiplayer modes make this one of the best games of its class.

Like its predecessor, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed brings together a colorful cast of characters from many different beloved franchises. Many, like the popular Sonic and Knuckles, will be familiar even to the most casual Sega fans, while the likes of Golden Axe's Gilius and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia force longtime fans to dig a little deeper into their gaming memories. They are joined by guest characters Wreck-It Ralph, who fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the cast, and real-life racer Danica Patrick, who…well, she doesn't fit at all, really. Each racer has his or her own unique vehicle and associated stats, encouraging you to experiment with different styles.

But Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed doesn't depend on your nostalgia to be enjoyable. The core of the gameplay, the racing, is fast, fun, and easy to get into. The driving controls feel tight, allowing you to drift around corners and weave through enemy attacks with ease. When you bump into a wall, it feels like it was your fault, not the controller's. Drifting is as easy as holding down a button, and longer drifts earn you important boosts.

Items and weapons you pick up on the track work exactly as intended, and they do so in a well-balanced manner that prevents races from being decided entirely on one player's lucky item acquisition. You may still lose a close race due to a timely firework hit, but there is no "blue shell" equivalent to constantly ruin the fun of the racer in first.

Per the game's title, your vehicle transforms during a race into a car, boat, or flying vehicle, depending on the track's terrain. Don't be fooled into thinking this is merely aesthetic; each transformation handles differently, with track sections on water feeling more like Wave Race than a traditional kart racer. The flying sections feel the most different, because the ability to move up and down freely, as opposed to just left or right, makes a big difference not only in where you go, but also in how you use items. You're less likely to hit enemies with a weapon when they have an additional axis on which to move around and dodge.

All of this is complemented by wonderfully designed and often dynamic tracks that change as you race. You may make three laps around one track, but it won't always feel like the same track each time, because you might be forced onto a different route through the environment your second or third time around. You might spend most of your first lap on land while your second lap is much more water-based. Paths and shortcuts change, making it a bit harder to know an entire track by heart. The transformations are scripted--there aren't moments when you're changing the landscape at will--but they keep tracks feeling fresh longer. All levels are based on different games from Sega history, including a Nights level that's particularly good at capturing the look and feel of the game that inspired it.

You aren't limited to the standard Grand Prix style of events, although that's still available and done well. The more interesting mode of progression is the World Tour, which is a map full of events to play and earn stars through. Events range from simple races to more focused tasks like drift challenges, and each event has different difficulty settings. The higher the difficulty setting, the more stars you earn. Most new events are unlocked as you finish the previous event on any difficulty, though some gates to new events (as well as unlockable characters and car mods) require you to obtain a certain number of stars to move forward. You won't be able to see the end of the game by playing on easy the entire time.

While perfectly fine alone, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is more fun with friends, who can join you in all game modes locally, even World Tour and Grand Prix. So you are never forced to play alone if you don't want to, provided you have at least one friend to share your couch. The cooperative options aren't available online, though, where 10 players are limited to simple Race and Battle modes.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a joy to play and look at. The icing on this delicious multilayered racing cake is that the game launches at a relatively budget price of $39.99, despite being a quality product that would warrant a higher price tag. It has occasional technical glitches, but it's a high-quality experience that deserves a spot on the winner's podium with some of the best kart racers you've ever seen.

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The Good
Controlling the crazy vehicles feels great
Creative and varied track design that changes mid-race
Great local multiplayer
Transformed vehicles feel significantly different
The Bad
Can feel slow at times when not boosting
Danica Patrick is out of place
8.5
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

About the Author

Britton Peele is a freelance writer for GameSpot and a Digital Entertainment Editor for The Dallas Morning News. Find hi

Discussion

10 comments
cashnmillions
cashnmillions

Lots of fun, kept me entertained for hours. 8.5/10 is what I would give it.

eze_sl89
eze_sl89

this game was surprinsigly good

cicorongho
cicorongho

It's only 12 Euro on Steam right now!

BigB-65
BigB-65

It was fun and easy to play but still.....I wasn't realy excited by it. I'm probably getting a little too old for this and that's a shame. Crash Team Racing is one of my fondest gaming memories and I've absolutly adored Sonic Generations. But this was....a little bland, too simplistic maybe. Again...I think I'm getting old....cough...where are...cough...my pills, dear?

alafter
alafter

Can this be played split screen?

Markey83
Markey83

I really enjoyed this game...more than Mario Kart Wii.

Sir_Bozack
Sir_Bozack

Amazing! Lookout Mario Kart!

Played the demo &  was instantly hooked!

Papasee1
Papasee1

best sonic racing game yet

IceJester45
IceJester45

This game is great. At $39.99, it's awesome.

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

''Danica Patrick is out of place" who fucking cares?

about lower the score over a tiny detail?

it's like lower AC score cause collecting feathers are hard (they are not BTW)

that BS and fuck the reviewer 

this game is now the best go-kart game (i was a long fan of crash team racing 

but this, this is truely something new)

Panzer_Zwei
Panzer_Zwei

By the way, I just read Alex Kidd is on as a special unlock present. However, I don't want to spoil it for everybody.

l3igl3oss
l3igl3oss

A game this good on so many platforms can only spell success for SEGA! Hopefully they're all good! Though, I wish they got the classic Sonic rolling and momentum gameplay down and made it 3D with one hell of a multi-platform game. Check out Sonic GDK on youtube and you'll know what I'm talking about. These spin-offs and celebration titles are great, but I crave for a great Sonic game! Hiro Yasuhara and Naoto Oshima are nowhere to be found in SEGA though...

Sir_Prize_88
Sir_Prize_88

I was sceptical about the first game because I loved Mario Kart so much, I didn’t want to play some cheap rip-off. But seeing a used copy being sold for £4 last month I thought I’d give it a go. As it turns out it's heavily influenced by Mario kart but probably just as good. So I can’t wait to buy this one and get in on the action whilst the online scene is booming for it.

DS-man
DS-man

The first one already beats all of mario kart games, so im really hyped about this one.

 

rafaelburigo
rafaelburigo

I have the first one and will probably buy this sequence, the game is really funny. The only question I have is: are there CPU controlled racers on split screen multiplayer?

greebe55
greebe55

i was shocked when i read this got 6.5, but then realised i wasn't on xbox 360! phew.

 

Great game love the fact you can have 4 player split screen on any mode

Dschadir
Dschadir

This game is so much better than its predecessor, which was already pretty good. But with this one I dare say that it's one of the best kart racers ever made. With the previous game I couldn't

bumblebug
bumblebug

The demo was really fun, its nice to see the game get a good review.

kekejefferis
kekejefferis

Good review for an excellent game.

The only issue i'm having is a rather unstable online which keeps dropping out, also if you are shunted from behind in an online race you pretty much stop dead and do a full 180. This basicly ruins your race as at times this can force you into the track walls and you become stuck having to wait for the game to respawn you.I really hope they patch the online, IMO the shunting needs urgently fixing as its a major problem.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

I played the first one to death and picked this up day 1 and agree it's a superb kart racer. Got F1 Race Stars the same day which is now causing me a dilemma every time I turn the Xbox on lol 

Wensea10
Wensea10

It is obvious that this game is awesome and it is amazing to see other Sega franchises in here like Golden Axe.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

Damn I was really hoping for a video review... Not even ign bothered making one !

alvarokike
alvarokike

So it´s Diddy Kong racing +Sega + HD?

sounds awesome to me

itchyflop
itchyflop

 @IceJester45 no disrespect why would it be any more??? surely it would be better at 20 quid

Sargus
Sargus

 @thequickshooter I can promise you that the inclusion of Danica Patrick did not lower the score even a tiny bit.

KokutenNagaki
KokutenNagaki

 @thequickshooter Calm down, angry clown. I doubt the presence of Danica Patrick lowered the score at all. Reviewer was just pointing out the absurdity. Have a sense of humor.

Sir_Prize_88
Sir_Prize_88

 @kekejefferis Hi Keke, i don't have the game yet but in the original you could shunt players in front by boosting into them with either drift or standard boost. so perhaps this isn't a glitch.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @agehaelhaym We weren't sent a PS3 copy. Hopefully we can fit it in.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @Getbacktogaming It was reviewed by a freelancer. Sadly, it was impossible to fit one in :(

IceJester45
IceJester45

 @itchyflop It would be even better free. But, the going rate for a new game in the U.S. is $59.99. It's unusual to see a fully featured title with high production values launch at a bargain price point. The game would be well worth $59.99, but it's a steal at $39.99.

 

I mean, this game launched at the same price that Mario Kart 7, a portable game, did.

kekejefferis
kekejefferis

 @Sir_Prize_88 Oh believe me the online in this game is seriously broken, you can read up on the all the currently found glitches/bugs/issues on the official forums here: http://forums.sega.com/showthread.php?427106-SPOILERS-just-101-ed-the-game-here-are-my-impressions-and-some-bugs-I-found

IMO as the multiplayer currently stands it is damn near unplayable.

The offline part is generally without fault other than some odd pyshic glitches in the faster/harder modes and at times the AI can be unfairly brutal. I'm suprised my Sonic dosnt cross the finish line a broken and battered corpse.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

 @Kevin-V Well thanks for replying. It's a fine review but it's just that I find video reviews is well one of the things that makes Gamespot stand out above other websites so I always look forward to more = D. You guys aren't reviewing literature afterall... what better way to make an educated decision on a game purchase than to see what it's like? Thanks for the great reviews!

glidem
glidem

 @Kevin-V  @Getbacktogaming I am a Freelance Journalist and create video reviews if you are looking for additional content creators :)

IceJester45
IceJester45

 @Shingetsu  @itchyflop No doubt, though I have to admit that I really enjoyed Skyrim.

Actually, I bought Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed on launch day. I'm willing to go as far as to say it's the best kart racer I've ever played. It's a shame these types of games usually don't sell particularly well unless they have Mario on the cover. 

Shingetsu
Shingetsu

 @itchyflop  @IceJester45 

 

I paid £40 for Skyrim, and only £20 for this.

 

Despite the fact this is twice the game that bland, boring over-rated piece of rubbish was.

 

Not complaining I saved money, but it's a shame that devs have to drop the price of a great game so much, and so soon after it's release. No justice in this industry but hey. 

 

If you haven't already. Get on Amazon and order this game. Endless hours of harmless fun to be had :)

itchyflop
itchyflop

 @IceJester45 haha yeah in ideal world !! no disrespect intended, im British and live in sunny Blighty, all games are usually that price on launch (£39.99 not dollars)!! it is a steal at around 25 English pounds ($39.99), sadly over here it is £39.99, that's what i was referring too !!! If i can play on the vita against ps3 that will be awesome or i may just buy loads of them give them to my pals and enjoy like we used to on mario kart gb advance!!

keep gaming bro :)

Sir_Bozack
Sir_Bozack

 @thequickshooter  @KokutenNagaki .....I think he was just trying to rhyme.... But yeah, she really is out of place. I would love to trade her in for another long lost dreamcast character...I'm just sayin. I'm floored that it scored as high as it did. GS is always really hard on games that aren't part of a blockbuster series (halo, COD, Madden, etc)

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

 @thequickshooter  @KokutenNagaki Dude calm yourself. He wasn't trying to be offensive. Geez. I honestly doubt that the game received a lower score because of an odd character, they just mentioned that it was odd. 

 

And I loved Crash Team Racing. Favorite karting game!

kekejefferis
kekejefferis

 @Sir_Prize_88 Oh don't get me wrong the game is great, probably an 8/10 for me.

I think the launch day update was to fix some of the achievement glitches with some of them not popping.

Sadly the leaderboards are already swarmed with glitch times.

I have also ran into one of these glitches by accident on the new Jet set radio course, I did a tranform flip but the game messed up and thought I had finished the race even though I had 1/3 lap to go, subsequently this placed me 3rd on the leaderboard with a time of about 40 seconds behind what I assume to be glitch times in the mid 20 seconds! ¬_¬

Sumo/Sega are aware of these though they have made no comment about removing them and fixing the said glitches.

As you may well know SASASR is rife with glitched leaderboard times still to this day.

Sir_Prize_88
Sir_Prize_88

 @kekejefferis 

Hi Keke, I just bought the game today and now I’ve just read your reply : (

 

 I’m still buzzed about the game though, it seems like they’ve improved pretty much everything on the original. I breezed through the previous games single player championship cups in a day, but having played this game for an hour I can tell that this is going to take some time to complete and get skilled at.

 

Hopefully they’ll fix the online racing problems soon. I noticed a 15 mb download when I started the game so it looks like they’re still tweaking it which is a good sign.

 

Anyway as long as the time attack leaderboards aren’t glitched yet, I’ll be happy just trying to climb up them for now.

 

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    • Android
    • + 6 more
    • iPhone/iPod
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    Sonic and the All-Stars cast battle for supremacy across land, water and air in transforming vehicles that change from cars to boats to planes mid-race.
    8.2
    Average User RatingOut of 366 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
    Developed by:
    Sumo Digital
    Published by:
    Sega
    Genres:
    Arcade, Driving/Racing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Language