In a small two-TV kiosk at the Sega booth, I encountered something quite remarkable. A man with a Sega shirt directed me toward what would turn out to be one of the best racing games I’ve played at NYCC.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a kart racing game filled with Sega stars of days past. As far as kart games go, this one looked very crisp and responsive.
As soon as you start this game, you begin to realize that it’s not a generic kart game. The controls are probably the most responsive and intuitive that I’ve encountered in a racing game outside the later Mario Kart series. Acceleration is done with the right trigger and drifting with the left trigger, which turns out to be a more comfortable setup than having the bulk of your command options on one side of the controller.
Where the game really shines is in it’s homage to older racing games, Diddy Kong Racing in particular. Transformation is a key point in this game, with karts changing forms between a kart, a boat, and a plane. However, in this instance, you don’t choose one mode of transportation at the beginning, rather you go through transformations during the course of a race.
This adds a level of dynamism to the courses, as they often have to change in order to accommodate for the change in transportation. Roads will sink into the sea, and bridges will be destroyed by angry serpents, forcing the players to take to the seas and the sky. Thanks to this, the courses rarely get dull.
The weapons felt generic for the most part, except for one: the Tornado. This cruel weapon reverses the controls of whoever it hits, i.e. left is right and right is left. This has the possibility for endless fun or intense recrimantion, but either way it definitely adds a unique element to the game.
In essence, the crisp controls are what make this game stand out. Even though it was my first time playing it, the controls were easy to understand, intuitve, and were on a forgiving learning curve. This makes the game accessible to all, but allows for polishing of skills to make it more competitive.
It will be released in November for the PS3, Xbox 360, and the Wii U, as well as the 3DS and the Vita.
Sega’s answer to the dominating Mario Kart franchise is definitely a solid one.