Arcade racing games on consoles have seen somewhat of a decline in the last few years. It’s a shame really because very few things beat racing along a well-designed track with your friends and doing everything in your power to end up first and earning bragging rights. Team Sonic Racing sets out to bring the arcade racing genre back into the spotlight, albeit with a few new mechanics.
You start off the game selecting one of fifteen characters from three different classes: Speed, Power and Technique. Each of these characters functions quite differently and have their own pros and cons. Speed characters, for instance, might have a high top-speed but they lack defence against items, while technique-based characters can drive off the track without being affected by the slowdown. I found myself mostly preferring to play as characters that focused more on speed than pure brute strength.
Of course, Team Sonic Racing has all the bells and whistles one would expect from an arcade racer. Boosting, drifting pulling off tricks and powerups are all present in the game. These, along with the responsive controls, a solid sense of speed and well-designed tracks, make for a great base to the game.
These mechanics are nothing new but, although these have become the standard for many great arcade racers, Team Sonic Racing mixes things up in the way it handles interacting with your teammates. As the name so subtly suggests, Team Sonic Racing is all about the team. Where many arcade racers out there place a lot of emphasis on doing everything you can to cross the finish line first, Team Sonic Racing focuses more on teamwork.
Races split competitors into four groups of three. You and your team score points depending on where you place at the end of the race, which means that winning doesn’t only rely on being first but rather having your team accumulate as many points as possible.
Of course, the game also gives you the ability to help your fellow teammates, by giving them a boost, passing on items to them or slingshotting them into a better position. Whenever you assist your teammates you build up an Ultimate Team Meter, which when activated drastically increases your team’s speed and makes them invulnerable for a short time. Using this ability at the right time can be crucial.
Items function just as one would expect, with the obligatory homing missiles and sudden boost items all being present in the game.
There is a downside to this new mechanic though. Having a weak link in your team will mean that their poor performance could bring down the whole team’s ranking. This became an issue, especially when playing with A.I racers in my team. So, playing with friends or other players becomes a way better choice than playing with A.I teammates, that is if you want to win.
While the game does place a lot of focus on the team racing aspect, it does have a single player component that lets you partake in standard races. However, this tends to take away what makes Team Sonic Racing stand out from the run of the mill arcade racers.
The game also includes a Team Adventure Story mode, which, contrary to what the name implies, doesn’t have much of a story. This mode sees you progressing by collecting stars as you compete in the events. Of course, coming first isn’t the only way to do well in these events as this mode also offer additional objectives to the player, such as not using any powerups or collecting as many rings as you can. Completing these is surprisingly difficult and might prove quite a challenge to more casual gamers.
A pleasant surprise was the amount of customisation the game offers players. The points you gain by competing in races can be used to purchase loot, such as new types of vinyl stickers, or paint styles and even actual performance upgrade parts.
Team Sonic Racing ticks all of the boxes you want in an arcade racer, from a great sense of speed to well-designed track. And while not all of these elements always work together harmoniously (especially it’s lacklustre singleplayer mode), it’s great to have them all here. However, what does set the game apart from its rivals is its focus on teamwork, which, for the most part, works really well.
It’s a fun and easy to pick up racer that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does enough to make it worth going around the track.
Team Sonic Racing
Team Sonic Racing ticks all the boxes when it comes to an arcade racer. And while its focus on teamwork is a welcome one, the game is let down by a lacklustre singleplayer mode.
- Team racing mechanics
- Focus on teamwork
- Racing with friends is a blast
- Lackluster single-player
- Single-player races can be quite tough
- Storyline 0%
- Gameplay 0%
- Graphics 0%
- Replay Value 0%
- Sound and Music 0%