UPDATE: Screen Rant has finally gotten our copy of Team Sonic Racing, and with it comes our review! Follow the link right here to read our thoughts on a great cart racing title:
Reviews for Team Sonic Racing are beginning to drift into the spotlight, and many agree that the team dynamic adds a unique wrinkle to the usual racing formula, while the Adventure Mode leaves a lot to be desired in voice acting. Team Sonic Racing was originally announced a year ago. The game is developed by Sumo Digital, who also developed the hugely popular Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing and its sequel. Sonic is no stranger to the racing format. He has also starred in titles such as Sonic Drift, Sonic R, and Sonic Riders.
Team Sonic Racing was actually planned to release late last year. SEGA postponed the title to make improvements. Some of the game's hype was arguably diminished when Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled was announced at The Game Awards. That title is releasing next month, so all of a sudden Sonic has a competitor on the track. Team Sonic Racing is releasing next week, on May 21. What Team Sonic Racing has going for it is an emphasis on cooperation versus simply trying to get to the finish line. Sadly, longtime SEGA fans will be disappointed that the game is solely focusing on the Sonic cast, so no appearance from Alex Kidd or AiAi from Super Monkey Ball. But, with a unique angle for a racing title, perhaps that's enough to offset any disappointments.
Many critics agree that the cooperative element is what makes Team Sonic Racing a unique entry among other kart titles. However, many say that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is superior. Team Sonic Racing also appears to lack the overall quality presentation of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which is probably still going to be the most popular racing game for a little while more. To put scores in perspective, Team Sonic Racing is sitting at a 73 percent on Metacritic at the time of writing. (This is only for the PS4 version so far.) While not bad, it pales to the 82 percent of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. As for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Switch title has a 92 percent. It appears Team Sonic Racing falls short of some of the more acclaimed racing games in recent years. Below are some critic reviews. (We were not able to preview the title, or get our hands-on with the final release ourselves.)
IGN: 8.5/10 - David Jagneaux
"Team Sonic Racing nails what matters most: speed and finesse on the racetrack. The new team system is a fantastic evolution of the arcade racing formula that gives you a real reason to work together, and there’s a litany of customization options to keep you coming back to these excellent tracks to earn more. Even though the small roster and annoying Adventure mode story could be better, Team Sonic Racing is an addictive and inventive evolution that proves Sumo Digital is at the top of its game."
GameSpot: 7/10 - James Swinbanks
"The essence of Team Sonic Racing is good; its handling feels tight and smooth, drifting has a good flow to it, and the items are fun to use, as are the tracks to race on. It doesn’t bring much new to the genre, but it delivers where it counts. The racing is fast and fun, and the team aspects offer enough of a change to the formula to make Team Sonic Racing the endearing arcade racer it is."
Eurogamer - Martin Robinson
"What's more, Team Sonic Racing at least has the chance to break the cycle and see some success, wrapping its madness in something more palatable for the masses. Bacon with cornflakes was what developer Gareth Wilson once brilliantly said of Blur's eccentric mix of real cars and special powers. In Team Sonic Racing, everything clicks together that little bit more harmoniously; it's cornflakes with jersey milk, served with a spoonful of sweet Sega sugar."
Destructoid: 7/10 - Chris Carter
"In most circles, Team Sonic Racing probably won't unseat Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (or Transformed's ever-enduring legacy if my house is any indication), and that's fine with me. Plenty of folks will enjoy the Sonic focus and many of the tracks would have been fantastic as Transformed DLC. I just wish it wasn't as limited in scope out of the gate."
VG 24/7 - Alex Donaldson
"So, there we have it – an extraordinarily competent racer, which makes sense. The follow-up to a game as good as All-Stars Racing Transformed was almost certainly going to be good – though it does feel as if something of the x-factor that made that game truly special isn’t quite present here. Kart racing fans or families are sure to have an absolute blast with this, however – and it’s an easy recommendation as a result."
Push Square: 7/10 - Stephen Tailby
"We don't want to drag Team Sonic Racing down for ultimately quite trivial points. At the end of the day, Sumo Digital has served up a solid kart racer that succeeds in bringing something new to the table. It won't be to everyone's tastes, but the cooperative racing adds a nice layer of rapid fire strategy. It's implemented well, to the point where standard races feel distinctly secondary. It might be lacking the wow factor SEGA's other IPs brought to Sumo's other racers, and it's a shame performance is a little rocky, but this is a good option for PS4 players who want some arcadey thrills."
GamesRadar+: 2.5/5 - Aron Garst
"Sonic is in a rough space with it's latest game, movie, and spin-off all failing to meet the low expectations given them. Team Sonic Racing could be a fun experience if it's core mechanics were tweaked to be tighter, fluid, and far more arcadey. There are bits of polish than shine through every now and then, but the entire game feels like it was rushed through development."
Overall, the team element in Team Sonic Racing has been mostly received positively. If one is able to coordinate with two friends online, it can make for some thrilling races. The soundtrack is also a highlight. However, it's easy to see from these reviews one area the game did not succeed in: the story. While the actual races are good, it appears the voice acting and cutscenes need a lot of work.
Team Sonic Racing may not be receiving the universally positive reception SEGA was hoping for, but it's not that bad either. The general consensus is that the title may not be as well presented as All-Stars Racing Transformed or Mario Kart, but it does deliver something new. Cooperating to win a race is different, and Sonic fans should appreciate the overall look of the title, as well as the music. (Though it seems like casual fans may want to turn off the voices.) The game is priced at $39.99. So, if you're into Sonic, teamwork, and racing, the game sounds like a good enough purchase based on what a number of critics are saying.
Team Sonic Racing releases May 21 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.