Adam Guetti
11 Jul, 2011

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Mobile Review | Does Sega's mascot filled racer stay on the tracks?
Apple's iOS App Store is without doubt a tough marketplace. Dominated by temperamental birds, fruit slicing warriors and Scrabble aficionados, publishers and developers dream of making it big on the charts. Well now Sega is having a crack with Sonic & Sega All-Star Racers for iOS.

A port of the fairly well received Wii title of the same name, this kart racer brings the best of the best from Sega's substantial mascot line up to battle it out on the racetrack. From Sonic and Tails, to Billy Hatcher and Jet Set Radio's Beat, it's a fairly well rounded and varied roster, each possessing their own characteristics in relation to speed, acceleration; allowing you to test out just what character is right for you.

Control of your kart racing extraordinaire is handled in one of two ways; either via tilting your device or by an on-screen joystick which can be slid left or right. While Sega would probably love the tilt method to be the preferred choice, as with the majority of iOS titles, it is simply too unresponsive, preventing any sort of competitive finesse to driving. Even with the sensitivity cranked up, it's still not enough to navigate some of the truly twisty courses that are thrown at you without constantly jolting your iOS device left and right. It might look like you’re having fun, but you’re not.

I like my eggs well done.

I like my eggs well done.
The on-screen joystick fares much better, but still lacks that complete level of control one looks for in a kart racer. You will still be slamming into the occasional wall, drive off a couple of ledges and miss some corners, but there’s not really much you can do about it aside from taking your finger off the pedal, and where's the fun in that?

While the controls might be fairly lacklustre, the visuals very much help All-Star’s appeal. While it might not hit Infinity Blade levels, it's certainly no slouch, looking quite pretty with a vast array of colours, substantial detail in each course and no slowdown to speak of. Even when things get crazy (as they often do), everything remains silky smooth which is very much appreciated in a game where attention is critical.

Everything is more fun in a sombrero.

Everything is more fun in a sombrero.
Courses however are a bit hit and miss, with some fun, character inspired choices, while others become a muddled mess; difficult to navigate or see and often misleading. It disappointingly becomes more about trial and error than actual skill, which can work against Sega’s original intentions. One of the main issues with stages is that there just aren’t enough of them, and being forced to play through the same levels on easy, medium and hard. Even on high difficulties, it becomes a case of heavier rubber banding than actually mastering new skills. A slew of missions, ranging from maximizing drifting, driving through rings, or traditional all-out battles help provide All Star Racers with some extra longevity, but it won't take skilled players too long to blast through them all.

Another staple of kart racing is the weapons, and while there is great potential to create some zany creations, the selection comes across as fairly uninspired and borderline copycat. Shields, speed boosts and an assortment of deterrence’s are all there, as is a red rocket that hones in on the target in front of you, green spring boxing gloves which bounce around the walls and a blue rocket that tracks down the first placed player in an attempt to slow them down. If any of this sounds familiar you're not alone, and it's clear that All-Star Racers has clearly borrowed some creativity from its main kart racing competitor. Each character’s special ability are no doubt cool to watch, but again add nothing new to the genre.

It's Crazzzzzyyy Taxi!.

It's Crazzzzzyyy Taxi!.
Multiplayer has your conventional trappings, and is a great aside if you feel like avoiding rubber banding in favour human competition, but your options are fairly limited and your connection may drop out several times before you manage to get started.

While it's far from perfect, Sonic and Sega All-Star Racers still manages to provide some bite sized fun for the casual iOS gamer. With an array of unlockable characters and courses, as well as time trial modes and the bonus missions, there is little doubt you will be kept entertained whilst on the go. It might not make the best use of the touch screen or satisfy the more hardcore, but those looking for some kart racing goodness on their Apple device need look no further.
The Score
A good looking portable kart racer that is fun in short bursts, but is ultimately hampered by its awkward control methods and lack of true creativity within the genre.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
2 years ago
I bought it on a few really positive reviews, but ultimately felt exactly the same. Great to see iReviews on PALGN.

I would recommend King of Fighters-i. A pricey, but excellent app that truly delivers (if you're into fighters that is).
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