3DS Review: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Road Rage?

Despite his superior speed, Sonic has always been on the sidelines when it comes to racing games which has been lead mostly by his old rival, Mario. Games like Sonic R and Sonic Free Riders have tried to tip the balance and failed, but a few years ago the formula was just right with a little game called Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and although it borrowed heavily from the Italian Plumber’s karting series, it was still a great game in its own right.
Finally, the game gets a sequel and I’m taking a look at the 3DS version which some might think will be inferior to the console versions, well you’d be wrong. It’s just as strong thanks to the tight controls, the great 3D which gives everything a sense of urgency and great tracks to master. It may not have the same visual finesse as its console brethren, but it’s great to play when you are on the go.

As you race, you gain EXP which unlocks bonuses to your racing style, but it’s purely optional if you just want to play with a standard setup. There’s also challenges to conquer, not to mention the Grand Prix’s and of course, multiplayer. Thankfully online is included but I did struggle to find matches and the ones I did find did suffer from lag, hopefully it’ll improve as racing with AI isn’t quite as fun as with friends.
As with Mario Kart 7, Transformed doesn’t just put you in a kart. It literally transforms your vehicle at certain points of a track and in some cases, changing the course entirely just when you think you’ve got the track figured out. You can be driving along one second and then be flying in the air and then transform into a hovercraft in lava pits, it’s crazy and it can be overwhelming when it first happens, but once you get used to it…you begin to wonder why karting games haven’t been doing this before.

The framerate does tend to dip at certain points, but it’s good for the most part. The loading does take a bit longer than it should, but overall it’s a solid package. The tracks are great and designed well, with some truly memorable moments to be found with AI and friends. The music and tracks are based from Sega licenses like Sonic, Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio, NiGHTS and so on, just like the original but Transformed is definitely more refined.

The Verdict

Tech issues aside, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a great racing game on the go. The tracks are imaginative, transforming when you least expect it is a treat, the controls are solid and the overall game is a blast to play. If you have a 3DS and need a new racer, then Sonic is right for you.