Sumo Digital is an experienced company in the driving genre, and it is not the first time that it works on the Sonic license. In our analysis of Team Sonic Racing, we tell you how to get away from the Mario Kart saga, finding its essence, one based on team racing and supersonic speed.
Creating a driving video game in the style of Mario Kart is not easy, except when you have a reference (and at the same time rival) so powerful, with a formula not only refined but could be considered as the germ of the genre. That is why, and despite everything, we have to recognize the work of the British Sumo Digital for making Team Sonic Racing a courageous and successful racing videogame that does not only worry about taking the slipstream to the Nintendo saga but of try to advance it in certain aspects.
Accustomed to listening to users ask for a story mode in these titles (it was mythical what Diddy Kong Racing did in his day ), I am surprised to see that SEGA has listened to the community to integrate dialogues between careers, a plot that unfolds in a luck of adventure mode that has a generous amount of events.
It is not the only thing that stands out this racing game. At the playable level, one of the biggest news comes from your team. Here you do not run alone. Two other pilots accompany you, and it is as important that your pilot wins, as that the rest are in a good place. To do this, important and original game mechanics are introduced (slipstream, transfer of objects, synchronized turbos …). In the end, the good thing about Team Sonic Racing is that it not only cares about doing well what others have achieved but also finds its own hallmark. It’s complicated, and sometimes it does not emulate the competition, but it’s fair to say that it manages to follow its own wake.
Team Sonic Racing, a karting game with Story Mode
The highlight of Team Sonic Racing is its adventure mode, which is considered as the main game modality. It consists of several worlds to complete, on a map containing races, optional events, and blocked areas. Along the way, there are not only great prizes but scoring challenges and the occasional test that goes out of the ordinary (how about a kind of Out-Run with checkpoints in which the goal is to get as far as possible?).
The plot is not the deepest one, and most likely it does not attract much attention. Neither is that they have worried much about it, because they are only dialogues (dubbed into Spanish) that, in a correct decision, can be omitted at any time. The most interesting is actually the way in which the events are presented, under three levels of difficulty in which we are rewarded with points through which to obtain new pieces of the vehicle with which to improve the cars of our characters.
The adventure mode is actually made for that: compete, gain game experience, but at the same time get new customization elements. In this sense, it behaves like a very successful modality, since there is playable variety. One of the challenges is to touch some flags to gain points, while later there are other tests of the style of firing projectiles against a series of robots that circulate through the circuits. Do you convince? Yes, enough, and above they bring variety, which is what counts.
The adventure mode is balanced and interesting.
The adventure mode is balanced and interesting. Give for more than one game afternoon (about 6-8 hours easily) if we do not count the replayability since each event has a series of conditions to obtain the maximum decoration. In this sense, we are rewarded with stars that limit our progress: before accessing a new area, we must obtain a certain number of them. Everything is pretty well built, and you can also play cooperatively. Imagine being able to join forces with other users, form a team and fight for victory in adventure mode. You can, and it’s something to be thankful for in a video game that also consists of other game modes.
Team Sonic Racing has the possibility to compete in great prizes and races separately (here is included the classic “time trial”). It also has a multiplayer mode that supports up to 12 players on the track. It even has a split screen for up to 4 users, which is to be welcomed (there are fewer games with split-screen every time). It has to be said that it works quite well, at the expense of a lowering of frames per second logic, as well as a loss of definition.
Relative to the online game, it surprises. It worked well in our tests, without loss of remarkable fluency, but what I would highlight the most is that it does not limit itself to winning races without more. Here you can also play by teams, which gives a lot of game to pose certain race strategies. On the other hand, there is a system of levels, so you are rewarded for continuing to play (if you stop doing so, your level drops with time). With this decision, it seems that SEGA wants to encourage the community to stay alive and there is always someone to play with. We will see how the online behaves after the launch …
Looking for his own wake
Although all this is very good, the most important thing is in the game experience, in the races. The work of Sumo Digital behaves basically like a Mario Kart, with an exit in which we must tighten the accelerator, curves that take advantage of to skid and provoke mini-turbos, as well as the use of a series of 14 items (Wisps) that come to be modifications of the objects seen in the Nintendo series, the style of projectiles, bombs or turbos. Nothing bad in this, less when the developers have been concerned in proposing an important variation on the formula.
We talk about team play. In Team Sonic Racing we compete in groups of three pilots, which are pre-established following the logic of the Sonic universe. Very interesting is that each member of the team responds to different roles: speed, technique, and power. Thus, Sonic (speed) will be the fastest of his team, while Tails (technique) will not be hampered by the types of terrain, and Knuckles (power) will be able to pass through obstacles, giving access to hidden routes. Given the approach, and played cooperatively, the game can win many integers if we consider the combination of these skills.
In total, the game includes 15 pilots and 21 tracks, to which we must add their inverted variants. Good numbers, although it must be said that in the adventure mode the tours end up repeating themselves (almost too much). More intermediate tests would have come well, or maybe some final boss. Given the approach, it would not have been out of tune. In short, more imagination to feed a game in which, by the way, we can get up to 135 pieces of equipment for karts, something useful to fully customize our experience.
But what was said? Here the important thing is the team mechanics that have been integrated. Crucial to point out that the leader generates a wheel mark that his teammates can (and should) follow to gain momentum and, in passing, fill in the mega turbo bar. Collaboration is essential to complete this meter, either by transferring objects to our allies or by taking advantage of their stelae to practice a slipstream mini turbo. There are many possibilities associated with this team driving mechanics, and it is the best that Team Sonic Racing does, apart from what sets it apart from other games of the genre.
The combination of scenarios is good, the most fans of Sonic sure to recognize them
SEGA responsible has considered it as a game “very different”, and in the words of the very Takashi Iizuka (leader of the Sonic brand), they did not want to do something like Mario Kart 8, but to propose a team game more like Splatoon or Overwatch, where there is a certain sense of collaboration . It’s interesting because this video game gets it pretty good. Also noteworthy is that the creators have recognized the conceptual resemblance to Sonic Heroes, in which we handled three characters.
The video game runs on a modified engine that we saw in Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, responsible for transmitting a good feeling of speed (the better the greater the difficulty chosen). However, the key is in the circuits, which defend varied and pleasant designs at the controls, although sometimes not too inspired. Note that they belong to the universe of the blue hedgehog, such as Sandopolis (Sonic & Knuckles), Planet Wisp (Sonic Colors), Seaside Hill (Sonic Heroes) or Rooftop Run (Sonic Unleashed).
That is a good combination of scenarios that most Sonic fans will recognize. There is a lot of fan service, also in the sound, with special attention to the great compositions of Jun Senoue, which you will know as one of the key pieces of the Crush 40 group, very important within the SEGA license. The musical themes of Team Sonic Racing are electric, with a highlighted techno touch. Very good quality in this section, although it is missing some song sung by the mythical Johnny Gioeli. We will only listen to him on the Green Light Ride theme, which he knows very little.
In conclusion, carefree videogame care, with enough duration and replay, which only sins of something repetition in the approach. For the rest, the mechanics of team driving work really well and the adventure mode (history) proposed is a good idea that if polished in the future can become a revulsive for Sonic driving games.
Team Sonic Racing makes a genuine and interesting bet in the karts video game genre with team driving dynamics and betting on a particular story mode. The developers of Sumo Digital sin of something of repetition in the proposal, and they lack that spark and octane of the great ones, but as an arcade driving videogame it is an option very to take into account, especially if you like this type of titles or you are directly unconditional of the popular SEGA hedgehog.
- It has adventure mode (history), with enough hours of duration
- Interesting and mechanical novelties of the group driving
- A successful number of tracks and personalization elements
- Imaginative circuits, with a lot of fan service
- It has a good repertoire of musical themes, ideal for this type of game
- Split screen for up to four players and a competent online
- Something of repetition in the adventure mode: more types of tests are missing
- It lacks more ambition and a better playable setting to go further in the genre