During my 24 hour gaming marathon I played on of my favourite co-op games, Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing Transformed.
I’ve previously suggested that Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie was my favourite karting game. So why might I prefer it over the sequel?
In short – transforming. Racing around in the cars is brilliant in this game. The levels are fun, the pack can thin out nicely and it is a very well balanced racing game. Then you start flying which feels slower. It is harder to control and for new players in particular, will involve bumping into things. Then to make matters worse you might soon take to the water, which realistically enough (for a karting game) is harder to control than the driving and also slower.
So yeah, adding this amazing feature to make large portions of the lap really gash is not all that welcome.
However the transformed gameplay does have some upsides. Not the flying/water part, that’s shite, but the levels evolving. The first time around a lap might be heavy on the driving but then the next time you might see the environment crumble and the game takes you on a different path and on the third lap you have an additional variation (of course each time you repeat the course it follows the same pattern). I’ve some mixed feelings on this but on the whole I like it.
The great thing about this is that it adds more variety to the gameplay. Even when the differences are quite subtle, it gives much more life to the game and you feel like you’re racing through an actual world, not just a curiously built race track. However on the other hand for a new player (i.e. getting friends together) it is very harsh that despite their best efforts they may not be able to learn the track. Additionally these variations more often than not result in more water/flying action, which as previously mentioned… I strongly dislike.
There is another feature of the game that I’d like to mention and that is the levelling of characters. Rather than giving you a “better” car, you unlock mods that alter the balance. This means if your favourite character is quite slow then playing with them unlocks mods that can give an improvement to speed and accelleration at the expense of say handling and boosts. Equally you could choose better handling over speed.
I thought this was a really nice touch. Often when playing racing games I’ll see my favourite character or vehicle but opt for another choice simply because the balance of stats favours my style a little more. However this game lets you unlock the ability to customise the balance of your favourite character to more closely match your driving style / needs.
So in conclusion, this is a really cool karting game with some very nice ideas. I really enjoyed playing it during my SKSP marathon, although it was still disappointing and frustrating that I got stuck going through awful water and flying sequences, especially when the racing is nice and slick!