The rivalry between Sonic and Mario has been going on for quite a long time, with each character trying to undo the other with better games. Mario has starred in more high quality games, that’s for sure, but there’s no denying that even Sonic has managed to appear in some really good games.
Their rivarly has led SEGA to develop during the years some racing games that were supposed to challenge Super Mario Kart and its sequels. The first games weren’t as good as the competition but in recent years things have started changing, with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing being a game that could not only challenge the latest Mario Kart games but also stand on its own thanks to many interesting design choices.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed is the sequel to Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, building on gameplay mechanics of its predecessor while adding more gameplay elements that make the racing experience quite engaging.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed is truly a racing game at heart, unlike the most recent Mario Kart games where power ups usage is the main focus. It’s all because of the game’s balancing, as all the power ups and speed boost elements are never so important as to impact the final results of the race greatly. Some of the weapons can indeed make a difference but most of the time they cannot change the face of the race. This is a great design choice that truly makes the game stand up from similar titles.
In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed you will be controlling many different SEGA characters as they race through tracks inspired by SEGA games. The tracks look great and play just as nicely. The Transformation mechanics also add an element of surprise not seen in previous game, as well as adding quite a lot of variety. During the races, you will be forced to transform your vehicle, changing into a boat or plane, depending on the track. The physics will also change, obviously, requiring players to master the three racing styles. The sequences on water are incredibly well done with the use of real physics that make the experience more involving. This isn’t to say that the ground and air segments are bad, as they are incredibly well done.
Some of the racing mechanics, unfortunately, don’t work well with tilt controls. If you own a control pad, things are much, much better, with controls obviously becoming more responsive and better suited for a high speed gameplay experience.
The two game modes of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed allow gamers to race through the available tracks with a twist. Grand Prix mode does exactly what you’d expect, while World Tour does something better, in my opinion, making players go through different challenges that make the experience quite varied. The iOS version comes with some new challenges, better suited to a smartphone experience. This is proof that the game isn’t a mere port from the other versions with touch controls slapped in.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed also has something that I personally don’t like: in-app purchases. Thankfully I never felt like I required them to unlock something or increase my enjoyment. They’re not invasive at all and can be easily ignored.
Useless to say that the game looks really great. It may not look as good as the console versions, but those vibrant colors certainly look good on recent iOS devices.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed was one of the best racing games released on consoles in recent times and the same can be said for the iOS port. The game is fast, engaging and surprisingly deep, with three racing styles that require a good degree of skill to control and master. Tilt controls may not be up to the task, unfortunately, but the experience is just too good to pass on just because of this.