Crossover games are a genre where it is easy to phone in an experience based solely on seeing our favorite characters from separate franchises on screen at the same time. Kart racing games are another genre that also has a preception of being for the casual gamer, and therefore expected to not offer a fully fleshed out experience. Plus, with a title as clunky as Sonic and All Stars Racing, it is all too easy for the committed gamer to pass this title up for something else without so many shallow credentials.
The good news, however, for Sega fans and kart racing extraordinaires alike, is that this kart-racing sega crossover tribute is not a gilded experience at all but one with plenty going on under the hood. From the multi-tiered maps to the customizable racers, and a decent campaign mode, Sonic and AllStars Racing is the full package and a great family game to pick up for new Wii U owners.
A little replay value beyond trying to beat your latest track time goes a long way, and the game delivers replay value in a campaign mode that will have the player collecting stars to advance through a tree of challenges. Also included is an XP based leveling system that can be used to level up your favorite racer's attributes as well as purchase new vehicle mods. Every vehicle has the ability to transform into new forms to traverse land, air, and sea by moving through special rings on each track. This is an enticing twist to say the least, as the constantly shifting racing styles increase the possibilities to cut down your time on each track exponentially.
Fans of arcade style kart racers will definitely appreciate the attention developers Sumo Digital gave to adding a bit a balance to an infamously unbalanced game genre. Kart racers may have certainly been the origin of the term "rubber banding" in video game culture, which refers to the phenomenon of games ratcheting up the difficulty suddenly when a player is doing too well. Sonic and All Stars Racing doesn't abandon this arcade staple, but they tone it down to the point where it might not cause too many hurled controllers. Online multiplayer offers up to 10 players in a race and Wii U owners will also get the bonus of five player couch multiplayer with one person playing the game on the controller's screen. There are also Wii U exclusive mini-games like Super Monkey Ball. Those familiar with the tilt mechanic of this game will understand why it is perfect for the gyro controls of the Wii U. All the mini-games are excellent displays of the console and its beefy controller's unique abilities.
Sonic and All Stars Racing is a quality game in a market where all the love is devoted to extremely violent and serious experiences. Wreck-it Ralph makes a delightful cameo as a playable racer in this game, for no reason other than to add to an already fun experience. Surprises like these outline a game that's about fun from top to bottom. The rare example of one that doesn't take it target audience for granted.