Sonic the Hedgehog is about to spin dash his way back onto the scene in a big way, bringing with him a whole host of friends and enemies as part of Team Sonic Racing. This marks the third kart racing game centred around Sega’s blue blur, but notably the first that focusses solely on Sonic characters rather than Sega as a whole. This added focus brings a new lease of life to a series that has continued to rival Nintendo’s Mario Kart series – thanks, in part, to a fresh emphasis on teamwork.
So how do you know whether the thrills and spills of Team Sonic Racing will be for you? Here we’ll be running through five specific reasons to play and pick up the game. Team Sonic Racing is available on all major platforms, meaning no-one need miss out on the high-speed fun.
Team Sonic Racing’s big, new standout feature this time around is its focus on co-operatively, which sees multiple teams of three take to the track instead of going it alone. How does this affect races? Quite drastically, when you consider than any items or power-ups no longer need stay with the character who picked them up – they can also be shared amongst other racer characters in the same team. Team Sonic Racing still sees you race as a single character, but you can now also piggyback off of the efforts of other team members.
Utilising these shared items is one way to stay ahead of the race, as is using your own power-ups and abilities to defend your other team members. This sort of co-operative ethos fits perfectly within the world of Sonic, where squads such as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles can go head-to-head on the track with villainous teams like Shadow, E-123 Omega and Rogue the Bat. No other modern kart racer lets you buddy up together in order to win.
This next point is one that should get most players’ hearts racing: Team Sonic Racing is available on PS4 and Xbox One. That might not sound like a lot in the grander scheme of things, but it’s a big deal when you consider that Team Sonic Racing’s main contender, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, is a console exclusive on the Nintendo Switch. If you’re looking for a colourful and fun kart racer and you don’t own a Nintendo’s hybrid platform, Team Sonic Racing has arrived to fill that gap.
This isn’t the first time a Sonic The Hedgehog racing game has been made multiplatform, but it is the first example of one that’s arrived on PS4 and Xbox One. Team Sonic Racing’s predecessor, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, came out seven years ago; as such, the game was left stranded on PS3 and Xbox 350. Team Sonic Racing, however, harnesses the power of current-generation consoles – including the Nintendo Switch.
Despite shrinking the scope from the entirety of Sega’s history to just Sonic the Hedgehog, there are plenty of characters to play as. If anything, this increased focus means that more obscure characters from the Sonic universe can step into the light. Big the Cat, for example, has made very few appearances since 2006’s Sonic Heroes, but now him and others take centre stage alongside Sonic mainstays like Sonic, Knuckles and Shadow the Hedgehog.
What’s more, each one of Team Sonic Racing’s characters boast their own vehicles which all handle, look and feel differently from one another. Sonic and Silver, as you might imagine, are centred on speed. Other characters, meanwhile, focus on technique and power. Technique characters have fantastic acceleration and can drive over every surface, while Power characters can break through objects and create new routes unavailable to others.
It might seem weird to learn that a kart game focussed on racing has a campaign, but it’s just another one of many feathers Team Sonic Racing has in its cap. This is a feature-complete single-player story where teams are pre-determined into groups, and it’s a great way to hone your driving skills before taking to the track against real-life people either in the same room or online.
Progressing through Team Adventure might act as a tutorial for the mechanics and controls initially, but completing it is the only way to unlock extras that can be used in the other modes. Team Adventure also features fully voiced cutscenes that help bring life to the world of Sonic the Hedgehog – and when you’re done with that, a challenge mode awaits those wanting to test their Team Sonic Racing ability.
Mario Kart might have its mystery boxes, but in Team Sonic Racing these randomised power-ups are known as Wisps. Wisps are split into certain types, gifting racers with a deployable ability that will either focus on offence of defence. As already mentioned, any of these can be shared between any three characters which make up a team. Just make sure to keep an eye on what your team members have picked up.
Some popular examples of Wisp powers include the Orange Rocket that fires straight ahead and can bounce off walls; the Yellow Drill wisp which propels you forward at great speed, smashing enemies in front of you; and the Jade Ghost wisp lets you become invisible, allowing you to pass through racers. Learning the quirks of each will give you a stark advantage during the heat of tournaments and races.
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