While I am definitely a Sonic apologist, I acknowledge that the little blue fella’s output has been less than stellar in the last 20 years. For every highlight, like a Sonic Mania, there’s been countless lowlights, like Sonic 4, Sonic Forces, and Guns For Some Reason Sonic. Funnily enough, over the last decade, the literally quick on his feet hedgehog has been at his most consistent when behind the wheel of a car.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is rightly seen as the pinnacle of Sega’s kart racers, but the follow-up that ditches your Joe Musashis and B.D. Joes in favour of Sonic’s irritating friends is a really solid entry in the series, too.
In fact, Team Sonic Racing is one of the more unique kart racing games out there, because – as the name suggests – it’s about the team rather than the individual. Basically, if you want to get points on the board, you have to help your two annoying pals out wherever you can.
If you skim your buddy's car after they’ve spun out, it will get them back on track with a nice little boost; if you’re the team leader in the race, your teammates can get some extra speed by driving on your golden racing line; and – my favourite – you can swap item pickups with one another. So, you don’t have to needlessly fire off missiles, when you’re in first place, just to free up that item box slot. Give them to Big The Cat who will obviously be in 10th or 11th, because he’s shite.
Those power-ups are sadly uninspiring, though. You’d imagine it’d be an easy win to make them Sonic-themed – a Tails airstrike, something around Knuckles’ penchant for burrowing, a music-related attack of some sort to play up Vector’s love of the hit parade – but they’re all very cookie-cutter.
And, of course, the story is absolute bin.
But, you don’t come to Team Sonic Racing for the top tier narrative. You come to Team Sonic Racing so that you and your talkative animal friends can win races by helping each other out.