Sega often gets flack for constantly releasing new Sonic games, but Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing did a good job of ‘righting some wrongs’ when it was released on consoles to positive reviews last year. Now, on Sonic’s 20th birthday, we have an iOS version that simply blows away any other iOS kart racer. This is more of the Sega we like to see.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to kart racing. Each track has its own quirks, and you utilize power-ups to make your way to the front of the pack. The cast of characters hail from a variety of Sega titles, including Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, and of course, the Sonic series. However, there are only three characters from the Sonic games (Sonic, Tails, and Dr. Eggman) while favorites like Knuckles and Shadow remain nowhere to be seen. Don’t let this be a deal-breaker, though.
Sonic gives his tired legs a rest.
The single-player experience has a large amount of content, including a Grand Prix with three cups of four tracks each, objective-based missions, time trials, and free play. Multiplayer with up to four players is available both locally and online via Game Center. You can also choose to race or battle opponents in an arena, a la Mario Kart. Besides the few rage-quitters, online play is very smooth and easy to jump into. In a future update, we hope Sega brings the battle mode to single player as well.
The better you perform in a given race, mission, or battle, the more ‘Sega Miles’ you earn. This currency can be used to unlock new characters and tracks for free play. They also automatically fill your rank meter. Higher ranks change the look of your ‘license’, a profile that shows your name, nationality, and records.
Out-of-ball monkey action!
Visuals play a large role in solidifying a kart racer’s wacky personality, and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is no slouch in this department. Every character, kart, track, and sound effect feels like it fits right in. Racing with Dr. Eggman through a Mexican fiesta straight out of Samba de Amigo, or sending Jet Set Radio’s Beat swooping in a Green Hill Zone loop-de-loop never gets old. The high-resolution graphics and smooth animations are excellent as well.
It would be a disservice to call this a port or cash-in. Sega has proven that they’re serious about making top-quality iOS games instead of just emulating relics. Plus, you can get Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing for a measly $1.99, making it one of the best deals on the App Store.