Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is an homage to celebrate 25 years of SEGA, and it certainly is a good way to celebrate. In essence, this is one big firecracker of a game, popping and sparkling away to glory.
The game didn’t make a big impact when it was initially launched (scoring only a 65 Metascore on the PC) in May 2009, but it slowly earned the love from fans, as a realistic and fun alternative to Mario Kart. In fact, we considered it one of the most fun race games on Mac. Feral Interactive ported the game, continuing their current streak (they just keep releasing and announcing cool games!).
Enter Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
It’s nice to see the SEGA logo back on my screen. It’s been a long time. Now there might be some comparisons to Mario Kart, but this game is in another league altogether. I think it’s safe to assume the developers were being fed on a diet of acid tabs and magic mushroom because this game is over the top mental!
The controls might seem awkward at first, but soon you get used to them and they make sense after you play a few games. Hooking up a controller is an even better option. I hooked up my PSP(to replicate a Nintendo NES controller) and it definitely elevated the gaming experience.
It’s a refreshingly old school game, with emphasis on gameplay, rather than graphics. The karts are slightly reminiscent of those used in Mario Karts, but that’s where the similarities end. The karts in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing are beautifully detailed and match the personalities of their drivers.
The characters come from all the corners of the SEGA universe, from Sonic the Hedgehog, to Ryo Hazuki and Akira Yuki from Virtual fighter, they represent all the iconic SEGA franchises. The tracks are also based on certain characters or franchises. All feel and play very different from one another.
Drifting around corners gives you a boost and collecting the right power-ups help you win races, so there is a slight whiff of strategy, but honestly, winning is the last thing you’ll be thinking of. Other racing games make you feel like you to win to progress in the game, but not this one. It’s all about having fun, not necessarily winning. Unless you’re a hyper-competitive player, you simply won’t care about winning.
But it’s not as if the game is a walkover. With 3 levels of difficulty, you can change the gameplay experience dramatically. Honestly, just set the difficulty level to the highest setting and enjoy battling other players to get ahead. You might not enjoy racing games, but you will enjoy using weapons and zipping past other players. The addicting gameplay will most certainly make you lose track of time.
If you want to play with real people, SEGA offers numerous multiplayer options. You can connect two keyboards and play with your friend on the same computer, or play with many more players via LAN connection.
Thankfully, Game Center is now the official multiplayer client instead of GameRanger. With Game Center, the online multiplayer experience is all nicely integrated into the game. It’s certainly nice to see Feral give us a brief glimpse of what potential Game Centre has.
Although more efforts were put into gameplay rather than presentation, the graphics aren’t exactly shoddy. Because it is an old-school arcade game, the graphics can be described as ‘modern retro’. There isn’t much the developers could do, as the game pays homage to the original SEGA games, but they did spruce up the colors and generally made everything glitzier and brighter.
I’m surprised the game isn’t plastered with epileptic seizure warnings as it really is bursting with so much color. The in-game menus and sounds are all classic SEGA.
The tracks and cars, brilliantly detailed and each referencing a specific SEGA character, gives the game a brilliant “arcadey feel”. The in-race commentator also gives you updates on the race leader and the players with dangerous weapons.
Sonic All-Stars Racing Mac Performance
Although the game runs very smoothly, with barely any frame drops or lag, you can still modify the multiple settings to get the perfect balance between performance and graphics quality. My MacBook Pro 13″:
- OSX 10.8.3
- Intel i7 Dual Core 2.9 GHz
- Intel HD 4000 512MB
- 8GB RAM
- 1280 x 800
Minimum system requirements:
- OSX 10.8.3
- 1.8 GHz CPU
- 4GB RAM
- 256MB GPU
The following graphics cards are not supported: ATI X1xxx series, ATI HD2xxx series, Intel GMA series and NVIDIA 7xxx series.
- Superb Gameplay
- Mass appeal
- Refreshingly old school
- Awkward control configuration that can’t be changed
- Repetitive gameplay
- Similar to Mario Kart (not exactly a deal breaker)
The Final Word
It is hard to find weaknesses here, as SEGA has executed this game brilliantly and it delivers hours of arcade fun. The gameplay is slightly repetitive and some may find it too simple. This game is lot more fun if you play with your friends. Do we finally have a game worth playing when friends come over? I certainly think so!
This will appeal to anyone who plays games. Everyone, from Call of Duty players to League of Legend fans. I loathe to give any game 5/5 because I just don’t think any game is perfect, but this time it was hard. If I was to nit-pick, and I do love to nit-pick, I’ll say you can’t change the control configuration… That’s all!