Xbox Series X/S Review: Sonic Superstars

Is the latest Sonic game Fang-tastic?

Adventure through the mystical Northstar Islands in this all-new take on classic 2D Sonic high-speed action platforming. Play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose and harness all-new Emerald powers to move and attack in dynamic new ways. Navigate gorgeous, never-before-seen environments solo or with up to 3 other players and stop Dr. Eggman, Fang, and a mysterious new adversary from converting the islands’ giant animals into Badniks before it’s too late!

The original Mega Drive version of Sonic the Hedgehog was my introduction to the Blue Blur and I’ve been a fan ever since. Sonic 3 & Knuckles remains my all-time favourite and I absolutely loved Sonic Mania. It feels strange for Sonic Team to bring out an old-school version of the series after the success of Sonic Frontiers, but I’m all for it. It’s nice to see that they haven’t forgotten about Sonic’s roots.

You can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Amy during the game and can switch between them with ease. Each handles differently but like you would expect them to, while the levels are classic Sonic with multiple routes to the end. Special Stages activate when you pass a signpost with 50+ rings for a throwback to Sonic 1’s psychedelic stages where you had to grab the Chaos Emeralds. This time it’s for gold Medals that can redeemed for cosmetics.

Getting the Chaos Emeralds is no easy feat either. You swing across the stage in the only 3D-like part of the game and try to nab the ever-moving Emerald, but you’ll need to contend with its unpredictability as well as the environment and in later stages, bombs. You do actually get additional Chaos Emerald powers with each one that can only be used once until you reach the next signpost.

These vary from slowing time down, showing hidden items or paths to being able to swim easier without the risk of drowning as well as others and of course, the ability to being the Super version of what character you are playing as…as long as you have 50+ Rings.

There is a good number of stages to be found and I was impressed with the majority. You can play the game up to 4 players if you wish and there’s a nice Battle Mode to be found as well. Boss battles have to be the toughest in the series, especially towards the latter stages of the game. Some are just brutal, but there is a deep satisfaction when you beat them. Plus, the game isn’t entirely over once you beat it…

The visuals are charming with nicely animated characters and its vibrant surroundings. Even though the game has 3D models, the game still retains the charm of the classic 2D Sonic era. The music is also top quality as you would expect from the series. Framerate was solid throughout and I didn’t come across any bugs throughout.

The Verdict

While it may not be as memorable as the classic 2D games or Mania, Sonic Superstars still manages to recapture that pure nostalgia of the series from start to finish. I can’t say I was a fan of the difficulty spike of some of the bosses, but the rest of the game was a real joy to play. Let’s hope this isn’t the last classic Sonic game we get.

Score: 8.5