Team Sonic Racing Review

Richard Walker

Driving a car must be a frustrating experience for Sonic the Hedgehog. Apparently, the blue blur is so fast that he can break the sound barrier, so imagine how boring it must be for the spiky little sod to be stuck behind a steering wheel, chugging along at a pitiful 100mph. Despite this, Team Sonic Racing is anything but dull; its frequently fun and even brings a neat twist to the crowded kart racing genre with its team-based gameplay. Gotta go fast? Sure, but you need to work as a team too.

It's this teamwork angle of the game that proves to be Team Sonic Racing's unique selling point, placing an emphasis on your team of three working together to take the chequered flag against up to three other teams (a total of 12 racers), using a range of abilities to jostle your way to the front of the pack. And it works exceedingly well, although you're not restricted to these team-focused modes, they're arguably the most enjoyable part of the game. Don't panic if you're here just for standard races, however; they're still present, albeit in local play for 1-4 players.


Hidden Volcano is just one of many lovely track venues.

The crux of Team Sonic Racing is to be found in the single-player Team Adventure, where you'll discover that Sonic actually loves nothing more than haring around in his car and working with his buddies to figure out the motivations behind the racing competition to which they've been invited. Created by a mysterious moustachioed tanuki (a Japanese raccoon dog) named Dodon Pa, the series of races see you getting to grips with the game's team mechanics, which, at a basic level, involves driving in a teammate's slipstream to catapult your way forward and gain a temporary boost.

Beyond that, you're able to share unwanted power-ups with allies, perform team actions to fill your collective Ultimate gauge, then together unleash a tide-turning Team Ultimate boost that makes you an unstoppable, nigh-on invincible force for a few seconds. You can even help one another out with a deft 'Skimboost' for a burst of speed, when you're not using the Slingshot trailing ability to get ahead. Obviously, there's a variety of power-ups too, this being a karting game and all, although they're remarkably generic.

Since Team Sonic Racing begins on Planet Wisp (the same Planet Wisp from Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations), the game's power-ups take the form of Wisps, each of which serve a specific purpose. There are Wisps that can be fired as rockets, ones that can be used as boosts, bombs, and roadblock cubes, while the Jade Wisp turns you into a ghostly green apparition, enabling you to ignore obstacles and surfaces that slow you down.

While the game's power-ups are somewhat uninspired, and could have been more broadly Sonic the Hedgehog-themed (springs, TV boxes, invincibility with that music), they still cover all of the karting archetypes you'd expect and make for an always exciting race. The assortment of modes in Team Sonic Racing also injects a welcome shot of variety into proceedings, standard Team Races joined by novelty asides like Traffic Attack (dodging robots), Eggspawn Assault (shooting Egman's robo minions), and Ring Collection (self-explanatory), as well as Grand Prix tourneys and Elimination races.

Team Adventure builds its story around these race types, adding new teams to compete with as you complete each chapter, and accumulating credits to spend on 'mod pods'. These are in-game loot boxes, essentially, which you purchase using the credits earned during the story, or by competing online. And no, there aren't any actual microtransactions to get in a flap about. If there is a complaint to be levelled at Team Sonic Racing, it's regarding the difficulty –  particularly in modes like Daredevil, wherein you have to drift as close to star posts as you can to score as many points as you can within ludicrously stringent time constraints. It's bloody hard.


The story too is disposable pap, and it seems that developer Sumo Digital secretly knows it, giving you several options to skip all of the expositional dialogue before a race in one fell swoop. Nonetheless, playing through Team Adventure proves enjoyable, despite the rubbish narrative and unfair difficulty spikes. Each team of three having their own class – Speed, Technique, and Power – with differing attributes, mix things up a bit, some having access to unique Wisps, for example. You can bust through certain obstacles as a Power class character like Knuckles, Big, Vector, Omega, or Zavok; go faster through slowdown surfaces as a Technique class like Tails, Chao, Silver, Rouge, or Eggman; or deploy projectile defences as Speed characters like Sonic, Amy, Blaze, Shadow, or Metal Sonic.

Tracks, while lacking the breadth that previous games boasting SEGA characters had, are still full of colour and personality, whereas the wealth of vehicle customisation options on offer transforms each kart with interchangeable body kits and wheels (each with their own stats to weigh up), paint jobs, horns and decals that can be chopped and changed. It's a genuinely great touch. Indeed, much of Team Sonic Racing has clearly had a lot of love and attention lavished upon it, and that shines through in the presentation, the robust arcade handling, and consistently fun racing action.

Team Sonic Racing

It might not be as good as Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed, but Team Sonic Racing is a joyous and remarkably fun kart racer with a smart team-based twist. Gotta go fast, and that.

Form widget
75%
Audio
65%

Jaunty, but largely unforgettable music, slightly irritating voices for the story bits (what did you expect?) and during races. Some classic Sonic theme tunes wouldn't have gone amiss.

Visuals
80%

Bold and colourful, Team Sonic Racing is a candy-coloured confection for the eyes, with pleasing track environments, shiny vehicles and animated characters. Pure blue-skyed SEGA joy.

Playability
80%

Simple to pick up and play, tricky to master, Team Sonic is all about commanding your drift, deploying your power-ups and Ultimate team move at the right time, and leveraging those teamwork abilities.

Delivery
70%

The Team Adventure storyline is pants, but that doesn't really matter. The customisation, selection of modes and options on offer make this a complete package. Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing it ain't, but this still has its own unique charm.

Achievements
80%

A good, solid list that embraces completists looking to earn every star in Team Adventure, achieve a win online, and perform all manner of feats on the track. An excellent spread with a strong variety.

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