The Fast and the Furry-ous
Team Sonic Racing released this past week for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC. As a longtime Sonic fan since the Genesis, I’ve grown accustomed to mediocre Sonic games (with the exception of the amazing Sonic Mania) and had no intention of playing Team Sonic Racing. That was until it started getting positive reviews. Ditching the hover-boards of Sonic Riders for the Mario Kart-esque vehicles of Team Sonic Racing, I decided to give this a try. And, I’m pleased to say, I had a good bit of fun.
There are two things that draw me into the game: the team-based racing and the customization. The team-based racing introduces some neat mechanics that spice the go-kart racing formula in a nice way. Similar to 2018’s Trailblazers, racers can “paint” the road with a slipstream that gives teammates an edge and even gain the lead on other opponents. The mechanic works well here with a sort of magnetic “snap” that holds the player into the stream well. This allowed my AI-controlled teammates to overtake some other AI racers in my time playing.
The other mechanic I found more complex than I originally thought was the level of customization. Akin to Mario Kart, you can customize three separate parts of the kart: the bumper, the wheels, and the front/grill. You unlock these via Mod Pods which, at face value, seem like loot boxes. But have no fear, there are no micro transactions here. In fact, playing through both the Grand Prix and Adventure Mode net you a good pile of coins to spend on Mod Pods; something that is becoming more rare as AAA developers seek to milk money out of you any way they can.
While I don’t think Team Sonic Racing will pull people away from Mario Kart, it certainly is a fun diversion. If anything, if you’re looking for a new kart racer to play with friends or family, this is one worth checking out.