I know I’ve already said this in at least one review that I did, but I’m gonna say it again — I am a racing-game fanatic. Few things in videogames get my adrenaline pumping as much as fighting my way through a motor-filled hullabaloo. And after covering popular series like Daytona USA and Burnout, I thought I’d jump back in the cockpit to talk about this new racer involving everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. Team Sonic Racing has finally taken the green flag, and has a whole bunch of tricks up of its sleeve in an attempt to both imitate Mario Kart and stand out in the garage. Let’s pull up to the starting grid and chat about this thing for a few laps.
Gotta drive faster, faster, faster-faster-faster
It’s not very often you find a story in a kart racer, but Team Sonic Racing has one under the hood. To set the scene, a mustachioed Tanuki named Dodon Pa has recruited Sonic and co. to race through a handful of prominent environments that make up Sega’s flagship franchise. Needing a well-earned break from sending evil robots to the junkyard, the blue hedgehog and his cheris bust out their lovely sports cars and accept Dodon’s invitation regardless of how “shady” they think he comes across as.
Of course, the story would bust a flat if the racing itself didn’t deliver the goods, but the racing is as tasty as all those chili dogs Sonic’s been cooking up for years. The team at Sumo Digital has incorporated a unique style of team-based racing that even Mario Kart hasn’t attempted. During team races, you’ve got a couple of teammates that you can slipstream and swap items with. Working as a team, doing some drifting, and pulling off air tricks fill up a Team Ultimate meter. When you activate a Team Ultimate, you and your teammates get a short period of unlimited boost, and you can even spin out your rivals by simply making contact with their cars. Combine all of the above with tight controls and a well-designed roster of tracks, and you’ve got an addicting arcade racer in front of you.
Turn the car into the wind
Like a loaf of bread, it’s important that a video game of any kind has good sound, and Team Sonic Racing passes that test with ease. The voice-acting is above-average and full of lines that may make you laugh out loud. But more importantly, the music in this racer will give you an adrenaline rush you’ll want to have in multiple servings. Notable artists like Crush 40, Hyper Potions, and Tee Lopes have done a stellar job composing new melodies and remixing a truckload of past bangers.
If you’re gonna make a kart racer, you’d be mistaken big-time if you didn’t include good multiplayer, and you will find plenty of fun multiplayer in Team Sonic Racing. 12 players can be in one lobby, and those slots are allowed to be taken by someone playing via split-screen (Four players per TV). You’ll also find a variety of race types including solo races, team races, King of the Hill, Ring Challenge, and Traffic Attack. And if you want your ride to stand out, you can earn new paint jobs, horns, and attribute upgrades.
A way-past-cool racer
It can be difficult to make a game look unique in a heavily-flooded genre, but Sega and Sumo Digital have managed to put the pieces together for this exhilarating kart racer. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the most famous anthropomorphic hedgehog, you should take Team Sonic Racing for a test drive if you’re adept at arcade-style racing games. Put down the chili dog and keep both hands on the wheel!