Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

2:00 PM on 11.19.2012 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

More than fan service

The first time I turned a sharp corner next to a goomba and tossed a red shell at King Koopa, I barely knew the world of Nintendo. Mario Kart was a great racing game for its time, providing one of the best arcade racing experiences you could get at home. Having the races and racers come from familiar Nintendo franchises was the cherry on top but not necessarily the main draw. The same can’t be said of the kart racers that would follow from Konami, Naughty Dog, and now Sega.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, released in 2010, threw together a wild cast of Sega characters that didn’t exactly fit well together -- but that was kind of its charm. Its sequel, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, has an even more awkward title, but, as a game, it’s superior in every way. Sega has managed to drive away from Nintendo’s shadow to create a unique, thrilling arcade racer that doubles as excellent fan service.



Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (3DS, Wii U, PC, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sega
Release: November 18, 2012 / December 7, 2012 (3DS, Vita) / TBA 2013 (iOS, PC)
MSRP:  $39.99 

The nuances of driving rarely factor into casual Mario Kart matches, in my experience. The focus is always on picking up items and griefing friends. When someone who knows how to drift and perform tricks picks up the controller, the dynamic suddenly shifts and people get frustrated at this newly introduced Mario Kart scholar. In All-Stars Racing, the scales are shifted. Item pickups aren’t as devastating, but the ability to drift through long roadways and boost past opponents is paramount to winning. In this respect, All-Stars has more in common with Ridge Racer, Blur, and Split/Second than Mario Kart.

That’s the fun of All-Stars as it was in 2010, but things have changed in this iteration. Racers and the race track now transform throughout a race, thus the title. Cars become boats and planes as the terrain morphs more and more after each lap (a la Split/Second). Planes go faster and gain boosts from dodging incoming objects at the last second and by air drifting (is that even possible?) Boats are much slower than cars with difficult handling. Many maps feature routes for two types of transport, but you’ll need to become proficient at each by the time you reach Transformed’s last track set.



The original’s bare bones campaign that mirrored Mario Kart has been overhauled. Transformed offers one of the most robust, imaginative single-player racing experiences. There are so many variations of maps and modes that you won’t likely grow bored during your 12+ hour playthrough. I lost count of all the different modes in Transformed, but they can be divided into three categories: races, solo events, and missions.

Races are self-explanatory, with some modes putting an emphasis on item-picks (elimination) and others foregoing items (boost race). The races are exhilarating, demanding players to master sharp turns, item pick-ups, and stunts on the fly. I ignored tricks and drifting for my first couple hours with the game, but I soon learned how vital they are in battling Transformed’s vicious computer opponents. No rubber banding or cheap tricks here; the A.I. is just really good and believable. Each track offers numerous secrets, hidden routes, and coins that you can collect and spend on a slot machine that spits out power-ups between matches, both online and offline.



Solo events are hit and miss. Trying to beat a ghost’s time is boring, and the air events can become maddening with the wrong pilot, but the drift and boost challenges are great fun and help you learn the mechanics. My favorites are the missions types that put a creative spin on the game’s mechanics. Pursuit has you track down a tank and take it down with items, as it evolves and applies defensive techniques. Traffic Attack has you cross lines between cars for time extends, as you dodge incoming traffic. The single-player does a great job of throwing new modes on old tracks, keeping the game fresh until you reach the unforgiving final world that offers mirrored versions of the game’s 20+ tracks.

Transformed offers three difficulty settings for each track, with a fourth Expert option that unlocks after finishing the majority of the single-player. I struggled on normal but always wanted to do expert since a win earns four stars, as opposed to normal’s two stars. These stars are what you use to unlock new characters and mods. Each mod re-attributes a character’s stats, so you can fit him or her for the current challenge instead of swapping your favorite character out. Some mods are unlocked with stars on the world map, but others you have to earn for each character by leveling them up via xp earned after a race (regardless of winning or losing).



Sega has left almost no franchise out of Transformed. The game even has a Ristar cameo. You can even drive as a Dreamcast VMU card! In comparison to Transformed, PlayStation All-Stars looks like brash self-promotion that seems to care little about loyal fans’ nostalgia. Seeing bright, gorgeously designed Skies of Arcadia, Burning Rangers, and Panzer Dragoon tracks make me pine for HD sequels to these franchises. Playing Transformed can be bittersweet, but not because we are seeing Sega characters we love in a bad game. For once, that's not the case.

Transformed’s online multiplayer is lean but functional. You can show off achievements with a sticker book and earn points for racing, but there isn’t much to do online than race. Nothing wrong with that when the racing is this fun.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the perfect arcade racer for those that feel left out by Forza and Need for Speed’s latest open-world, multiplayer focused outings. Sega has cherry-picked the best elements of kart racers and applied it to the best arcade racing games to create a sleeper hit that’s great fan service and great fun.



THE VERDICT

8

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.







 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed


  Jan 02

Sega's All-Stars Racing on iOS is fun, but has horrid IAP

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed hits the mobile platform


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
Uncontrollable with slightly less Engrish.
Scrustle avatarScrustle
Hachi Roku is my waifu.
Occams avatarOccams
#Darksiders2
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Finally getting around to cataloging all the intergalactic-level augments I want to use for post-game Tyrant killing in XCX. The grind feels more substantial than Monster Hunter but then again there are no four-story-high monsters in MH.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Your waifu is poop. The Ultimate Waifu agrees.
mrandydixon avatarmrandydixon
Boner.
Kaio Da Silva Queiros avatarKaio Da Silva Queiros
Kaio Da Silva Queiros avatarKaio Da Silva Queiros
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
So due to things at my job picking up and bunch of real life stuff, I don't think I'll be able to give my Waifu Wars blog the love and attention it needs. Still, I don't think I need to remind you guys who best waifu is, but just in case you forgot.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Nurse Joy is watching your Waifu quick posts
RenaudB90 avatarRenaudB90
Happy belated 30th anniversary!
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
Playstation Universe obviously taking notes from Destructoid. http://www.psu.com/news/29381/Enter-PSUs-Nitroplus-Blasterz-Whos-Your-Waifu-contest
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
I said I'm sorry Linkslaya, I never meant to hurt ya, I never meant to make you cry But today, someone else brought PM up (in the discord chat)
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Waifus. Waifus everywhere. I want them all, but I won't dare. nya
Torchman avatarTorchman
THE TRUTH BOMBSHELLS ARE DROPPING FOLKS. OH MY LORD, GAJ'S SUPPOSED LOVE FOR NAOTO IS ALL A LIE
El Dango avatarEl Dango
For the next Assassin's Creed, they should completely overhaul the gameplay and base it on the latest Splinter Cells. Stealth, climbing and action would all be massively improved that way.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
I come to remind you all , that these tights are ever vigilant , Best Waifu is watching YOU
Torchman avatarTorchman
YOUR WAIFU IS AS GARBAGE AS ZELDA IN COMPETITIVE SMASH 4.
SayWord avatarSayWord
So I am totally in love with adult Nep Nep. New Waifu approaching...
Brazen Head avatarBrazen Head
When does Undertale get "Interesting"? Played for 2-3 hours, having fun, but failing to see what it does that's so utterly amazing.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -