This title was reviewed on PS4 but is also available on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
I only found out about Team Sonic Racing about a week before I received the game, and was super keen to give it a go as I’d watched a livestream of it. As a massive fan of Crash Team Racing (only a few weeks to go!) I knew that this would be a game I would enjoy, and I can definitely say I did. With a focus on teamwork and some unique mechanics, check out my review below for a full run down on the game.
You play as Sonic’s team to begin with, where Sonic has been invited to a racing match by a mysterious character named Dodon Pa. You will race against other characters from the Sonic universe, and uncover what Dodon Pa’s true motive really is!
Team Sonic Racing has three different modes. These are Team Adventure, Local Play and Online Multiplayer. Team adventure is your main campaign mode, and through here you will be progressing through the map and main story. Each race has stars and sometimes a key. Each star represents a different challenge to complete within the race, which is the same with the keys. These challenges are usually for you to finish first, along with winning the race as a team. The keys are usually a bit trickier, such as completing a lap within a certain time frame. The hardest one is to finish a survival race without losing a team player. You will progress by completing races on the map, along with side events.
This is laid out just like the old days, where there is a main section and you start at event 1-1 before moving to 1-2, and so on. You will need to reach a certain number of stars to get to the next map area, which will introduce harder tracks and more teams to verse against. Each race can be played on normal, hard, or expert. However, to go expert you will have to unlock it by first completing the race on hard mode. The race types vary within the game, where you have a normal team race (so 3 laps, and team with the most points wins). Survival races are where the last two people of each race are eliminated. The grand prix is multiple maps and races, and the team with the top points overall wins. There are also challenge events, such as the ring challenge. To earn the medal here you have to drift for a certain amount of time to get points. I find these to be rather tough and often very boring, so I try to skip these as much as I can.
A cool feature of Team Sonic Racing is the need to win overall as a team. If you come first, but your two team mates finish last you’re likely to not win overall as you won’t score high enough points as a group. If you’re playing with AI they tend to stick to one place behind you but can sometimes let you down! Another cool feature in team adventure is the ability to complete the campaign in local co-op mode, so grab a mate and get racing!
The way racing works in Team Sonic Racing is based heavily on team work, and mechanics have been included in the game to encourage this. For example, who ever is leading the team will leave a yellow trail behind them. Your team mates can follow this line, and then after around 3 seconds drive out of the line and get a speed boost called sling shot. So of course, it’s best if whoever is leading tries to drive as straight as possible and no trying to drift and show off! Although, if you’re all as skilled as each other you can all just drift around the track. If you happen to get spun out by an enemy, an item, or your good ol’ poor driving, a team mate can skim by you to give you a boost to get back up to speed quickly. All players can also send items to their team mates when they are in need. If you’re in the lead and have rockets, you can send these to your team mates to give them a chance to catchup. All of these things increase your team ultimate meter, which once full allows you to activate team ultimate. This gives you and your team a massive speed boost and temporary invulnerability, called team ultimate. If you activate this at the same time as your team mates this increase the length of the boost. You can also increase duration by driving into appointments, causing them to spin out.
As with most cart racing games, you will get items. In Team Sonic Racing these are known as wisps. These include items such as rockets, speed boosts, and cubes to cause your enemies to drive into. As mentioned previously you can send these items to your team mates to use, where some will give you 3x use.
Local play and online multiplayer are the two modes of the game. In local play you can either play solo or local multiplayer, and you will be able to select what match you want to play (grand prix, exhibition, time trial) and what map you want to play on. In online multiplayer you have the option to choose between casual and ranked races. In ranked mode you will be given a rank based on how you did, and the game will match you with similar skilled players which is always nice. Unfortunately, as with all games of this genre there is always that element of luck when it comes to races in online or story (maybe more so in story), where sometimes you will be 1st throughout the whole race only to be overtaken by someone who sent a rocket flying your way.
Thankfully you can customize your karts, by adding on new parts and playing around with the colors to make yourself look “cool” to your friends. Parts that can be added onto your kart also effect performance, so you can customize your kart to how you feel is best for your gameplay style. You get these parts by spending credits which are earnt as you race based on your performance and at what difficulty you play on. It is random draw on what you get but it only cost 10 credits per item and you get these credits pretty fast. You can also acquire helpful little boosts that can be activated in story mode if you are having trouble, such as having a chance of getting triple rockets instead of a single rocket.
So, I have to admit I heard a song while playing and had to ask Siri what it was. It turned out to be a remix of the main theme song by The Qemists, which I have now quite happily added to my Spotify playlist. If that doesn’t tell you that the soundtrack is pretty great, I don’t know what will. The graphics are also great, and I haven’t noticed any frame rate issues making for a smooth play through. The only downside is my game did freeze twice, meaning I had to restart it.
Team Sonic Racing is an incredibly fun game to play with some friends or even by yourself. With the main goal being to race your heart out, it’s a great way to chill out and burn some rubber. The team aspect of the game is a nice touch which makes it feel unique to other similar games. The challenge maps could have been left out of the game as I found these to be more annoying than fun, and would have preferred more races! But otherwise, it was an incredibly fun game and I’m definitely going to keep playing it for a long time yet!