I explode through the door. You’ve barely time to register the splintering hinges before I’m upon you, gripping your lapels and hoisting you out of your chair. I start to scream something at your face, shaking you to punctuate each word. You can barely make it out. SONIC– TRANSFORM– EKEND–
God, I smell terrible. I’ve been beneath the floorboards, doing whatever it is I do down there. But I’m repeating it again and you hear this time.
When I calm down, I explain more.
Released in January on PC and last year on TV boxes, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a kart racer. It is the best kart racer in years, by far the best on PC, and it’s a dancing, colourful homage to Sega history.
Every track is an homage to a different Sega game. A Sonic-inspired track in space where your car tranforms into a spaceship to fly through an asteroid field and giant robots fire lasers at you. A Samba de Amigo track where the buildings around you bop and sway to the music. A House of the Dead track which takes place in an enlarged version of that game’s mansion, in which you steer and slide between the legs of a giant spider. Plus tracks based on Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio, Golden Axe, After Burner… It’s glorious to fly between aircraft carriers, squashed between brilliantly blue sky and ocean, but the world design keeps surprising you with its invention and detail.
From Duncan Harris’ Dead End Thrills collection:
The drivers you control are also pulled from the roster of historic Sega characters. That means Sonic, Knuckles, Space Channel 5’s Ulala and so on. That’s all great, but Sega is a very different company than it used to be and they haven’t shied away from honouring all parts of themselves. The PC version also lets you drive a tank as General Winter, a World War 2 reference inspired by Company of Heroes 2, or as Shogun from Total War: Shogun 2.
My favourite is Football Manager from the game Football Manager. Depicted on the covers of the Football Manager box, Sonic Racing Transformed transmutes brand guidelines into a kind of personality. Football Manager’s mouth is always open and his helmet always cover his eyes. When his car transforms into its plane or boat form, the change sequence is covered by a giant football. It’s absurd and silly and warm.
I’m sorry about your door, but if you have any fondness for Sega games, you should play this. It’s a celebratory parade.
If you like kart racing games, you should play this. It’s difficult, but its boost and drift mechanics are impeccable.
If you’re a bit bored this weekend, you should play this. It’s free to play on Steam till the 9th, and £3.74 if you buy during that period.