Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 1
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It's a rule that if a company has some kind of mascot, that they must put them in a kart racing game full of powerups and wacky courses, along with pitting them against their mortal enemies in more friendly competition than they're usually accustomed to. Sonic and Sega All-Stars is Sega's entry in this genre, putting usual Sonic series suspects Sonic, Tails, and Dr. Robotnik up against a rogue's gallery of Sega characters past and present such as Beat from Jet Set Radio, a mouse from Chu Chu Rocket, Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki, and more. The game features the standard single-player single race, grand prix, and time trial modes across 12 tracks. Extra characters and tracks can be unlocked by collecting "miles" by playing the game.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing gets a lot right. The gameplay is easy to pick up on, with a drift mechanic that rewards players with turbo boosts for drifting around corners. The game features crisp Retina Display graphics and is a universal app. The game has great Game Center implementation through OpenFeint, supporting not just achievements, but also online multiplayer for both races and battle mode, with the ability to search for random matches or to send invites to online friends. The online mode works well, though there are a few oddities that occur on poor connections, like opponent racers suddenly jumping ahead after thinking they were far behind. The game is full of Sega fan service, and it's great to see long-forgotten characters playable in this game.
Pretty much the only real complaint about the game is that a lot of the levels and character themes are more approximations of concepts from the games rather than actual elements from them. Sonic levels have loops, the Jet Set Radio levels take place in Japanese-esque cities at night while some crazy annoying music plays (actually, that's Jet Set Radio to a T), the Samba De Amigo levels look like driving through Spanish villages while salsa music from the game plays. Plus, the whole concept of putting these characters in cars just doesn't make sense at times; most of these characters are fast on their feet, and one character goes from a car to skates when their special powerup is collected!
The best compliment I can give to Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing is that the game does just about everything right. Great graphics, universal app support, online play, solid controls; this is Sega's best game so far on the App Store, and is well worth a pickup for fans of kart racers and Sega's characters.