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Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (Wii) (Wii) Review

Review for Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Sumo Digital, the developers previously responsible for SEGA SuperStars Tennis, have skidded onto Nintendo Wii again with their latest entry into the world of SEGA franchises, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. With their previous title taking home a decent score, will Sumo follow suit with Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing? Let's find out...

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing warms up with a fairly basic tutorial that allows players to learn the ropes quickly and easily, from drifting (which is a little fiddly occasionally) around hairpin bends and getting a boost out of it, to learning about the weapon system and how to use them effectively for defence and laying sneaky traps. Players can then jump straight into grand prix with a decent host of characters at their disposal from both Sonic and SEGA universes - from the famous hedgehog himself to the maraca-swinging Amigo - and head into sets of four races on varying difficulties. The featured courses, which are all fun to play, are based around Sonic, The House of the Dead, Samba De Amigo, Jet Set Radio, Super Monkey Ball and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, so those looking for Crazy Taxi and Virtua Fighter tracks will be slightly disappointed - but worry not, as some of the characters are derived from these series. Once the controls are mastered, the speed begins to pick up and tracks go by in a blur of twists, turns and loops and occasional explosions.

Power-ups are very balanced, giving the player shields which last for a short period whilst in first and giant rockets that can be remotely detonated for maximum effect if you find yourself riding in last place. Along with the power-ups, each character has a special 'All-Star' move. These are awarded to struggling racers and allow them a chance to catch up to the rest of the pack. Sonic, for example, uses the seven Chaos Emeralds to turn into Super Sonic and blast through the course, tapping Z to go even faster, while Eggman's Quad bike grows to become more mech-like so that he can blast other racers off the track with missiles. All-Star moves do not mess with the pace of play too significantly despite their power, generally only bringing players up a couple of positions to get them back in the race rather than shoving them all the way up to first. Offline (up to four players in split screen) and online multiplayer (up to eight players) is great fun. With players battling it out to come out on top as weapons fly left, right and centre, it really feels like Mario Kart. There are a few weapons omitted from the multiplayer, but the competitive nature shines through well.

Screenshot for Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Presentation-wise, the courses and the characters all look rather lush. Every area is full of action, from roaming hazardous robots on courses to race courses consisting of in-action pinball tables. Occasionally things get a bit too bright and vibrant, scorching the eyeballs and messing with your mind as you wiz through the psychadelic worlds of Samba de Amigo and hurtle over large crevasses. The game also suffers from major, noticeable frame rate issues at random points. It is not always necessarily in the busiest part of the track or amidst all the other racers; it will just drop unexpectedly and frequently. It's enough to put a dampener on the gameplay and break up the flow, and is particularly apparent when other players or CPUs get All-Star moves. Perhaps this is part of the reason that there is a complete lack of All-Star moves during online play, which is a shame as it really does add a touch more competitiveness to the title.

Much-loved music from past titles is featured in abundance, and more can be purchased from the store with accumulated 'SEGA Miles' which are generated from races along; you can also buy extra characters with these. A nice addition to the title is a slightly comedic-bordering-on-annoying commentator that keeps you up to date with the race, how the player themselves are doing and odd little quips thrown in for good measure. Even though the karts and bikes differ in speed and acceleration, once at top speed they all sound very samey and monotone. This can be slightly boring, but it's a minor problem.

Overall, Sumo Digital have made a decent racer of Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing, with fun tracks that would put even some of Mario Kart's courses to shame and, with its occasionally trippy scenery, it certainly brightens the day. All of the Grand Prix's cups can be shot through in under two hours, with local and online multiplayer filling in for extra longevity. In addition there are some neat little challenges that will keep players going for quite a while, such as collecting Chaos Emeralds or contests to take out as many enemies as possible with unlimited items. The character roster is pretty impressive, boasting a full nineteen playable characters including the likes of Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue and Beat from Jet Set Radio. There really is a character for everyone - literally, too, since Miis are supported. Despite all the good points, it's let down by the irregular frame rate, lack of all weapons whilst playing online and the fiddly 'drift' mechanic. It's a real shame because, outside of the faults, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a fun, competitive little racer.

Screenshot for Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (Wii) on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Fun, twisting levels with a whole host of characters for the player to get competitive with either by themselves or with others. It ticks all the boxes as far as a racer is concerned, though there are some fiddly mechanics.

Graphics

Bright, vibrant courses and character models set the scene beautifully. The whole experience is bought down by the rather appalling frame rate, however.

Sound

Plenty of Sonic and SEGA tunes thrown into the mix with, more being unlocked the more you play, and there is a funny, if slightly annoying, commentator. All the vehicles have similar engine noises, though, which gets a little tedious.

Value

Plenty of characters and music to unlock, but the title isn't very content heavy. Grand Prix can be shot through in a couple of hours and the missions take a few hours more. Only multiplayer offers some extra depth.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

This is a great little racer with a whole host of great characters and vibrant, memorable courses that keep the player smiling throughout the races. It misses out on a higher score due to a few niggling problems, but Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing has all the right stuff to appeal to both the hardcore SEGA fans and any casual gamers looking for a quick racing fix.

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24.03.2010

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Developer

Sumo Digital

Publisher

SEGA

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Good stuff Callum, has cleared up some doubts but I'm still reluctant to part with some cash for this. Might wait a little and get it on the cheap later on.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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