- Developer – Sumo Digital
- Publisher – Sega
- Platforms – PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
- Price – $39.99
- Reviewed on – Nintendo Switch
- Review code provided – Yes
When Team Sonic Racing first got revealed, I remember watching the trailer at least 10 times, trying to analyze the new mechanics of the game. Revealed for a Winter 2018 release, I was ready to play a new racer with Sonic & friends. However, a delay happened. The game was delayed to May 21st, 2019, and although it was disappointing, I’m very glad they decided to. Team Sonic Racing, although not perfect, is a blast, and has many elements that I really enjoyed.
Being a Team
Team Sonic Racing is all about being and working together as a team. There a total of 5 teams in Team Sonic Racing, but you can mix and match as you wish. Each of the five teams have one character representing one of three types of racers. The three kinds of racers are the speed type, power type, and the technical type. Each of these play differently and have their own type of stats that are beneficial in a race. Team Sonic Racing has implemented many very helpful moves used as a team during a race. When you are in a team race, the player on your team that is the closest to 1st place will leave a shining yellow trail behind them as they drive. The other two players can follow that trail to get a speed boost, which can be incredibly helpful if you are far from 1st. There is also the ability to requested, receive, and give items. During a race, you can drive through item boxes to get an item, and you can give that item to someone on your team if they request one and you feel like it. I found this most useful when I was close to taking the lead and needed something to get the edge on the other players. While we are on the topic of item boxes, I have to say I’m not a fan of their simplistic design. I wish they had more pop to them, as they’re quite boring. Finally, the slingshot ability. After a teammate crashes into a vehicle, object, wall, or gets hit by an object, you can drive past them to give them a big boost to their speed. This can help ensure your team the chance to get first, as you won’t get left behind because of a collision. As you and your team build up and perform your team abilities, your Team Ultimate is charged. When your Team Ultimate is activated, everyone on your team accelerates to incredible speeds, as well as gaining invincibility for a couple seconds. These team abilities are essential to Team Sonic Racing, and if you can’t perform them, you most likely will not be winning any races.
Graphics / Performance
I feel that the graphics in Team Sonic Racing are limited. They aren’t bad by all means, but they could’ve been so much better. Everything is sort of dull, and there isn’t that pop that most modern games today have. I also think the shadows and lighting are mediocre, and not up to par with some of Sumo Digital’s other games. It’s still a great experience, but they could have done so much better. Hopefully in the next installment Sumo Digital can up the graphics a lot to make everything look much better. When compared to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Team Sonic Racing is not even close graphically, which makes me think that this game could have looked a heck of a lot better. Performance is not that big of an issue in Team Sonic Racing, although it could be much better. The Nintendo Switch version runs at 720p 30FPS. The frame rate is extremely solid, and does not budge at all. Although I wish Sumo Digital could have pulled 60FPS for Switch, I’m not mad about it as the game still runs fluid and smooth. For the next installment of Sonic Racing, I hope we see more popping visuals and a higher frame rate.
There are a large variety of ways to play Team Sonic Racing. There are two main modes in Team Sonic Racing. The first main mode is Team Adventure, which is Team Sonic Racing’s story mode. Team Adventure is split up into “Chapters”. Team Adventure has both good and bad things about it. First off, let’s start with the good. Team Adventure offers players a way to play single player through levels by offering challenges to get stars that allow you to pass the level. Each level is set in a world, with different courses and challenges. There are five different types of races in Team Adventure. For example, in Chapter 1: The Mysterious Invite, Stage 1-2 is a Team Race with the challenges being Win the race as a team, finish first individually, and finish in the top three places as an individual. When you complete one challenge, you earn one of three gold stars. These serve as a sort of progress tracker, as you can see how complete the level is. The story mode has cutscenes, but they aren’t as good as I hoped. They have the voice clips of Sonic and friends over a still image. I wish we got fully animated cutscenes, but if it was due to the budget I completely understand. The second major mode in Team Sonic Racing is multiplayer. You can play local or online play, with up to 4 separate players! For local play, there are a variety of available options to choose from. Grand Prix, Exhibition, Time Trials, and Wireless Play. For Grand Prix, you can choose a Team Grand Prix or a Standard Grand Prix. There are three levels of difficulty for each, being Normal, Hard, and Expert. There are a total of 5 different Grand Prixs, each containing 4 unique tracks to race on. For exhibition races, you can also choose a Team Race or Standard Race. You can choose to race on any of the twenty one tracks Team Sonic Racing has to offer. In Time Trials, you can play on one of twenty one courses to try and get a super quick time. The game times you, and you can try to beat your record! Wireless play is good in TSR. You can choose to either create a custom lobby, or you have the option to join one. I played a couple of wireless matches and they were fantastic with no lag.
The online play in Team Sonic Racing is great, however you have to wait a ridiculous amount of time just to get in one match. I started up online play for the first time on day 1, expecting quick wait times. However, I was treated with a 10 minute wait, and it made me question if I was the only one playing. Thankfully that is not the case, but it is not pleasant to have to sit through the ridiculously long wait times. Once you’re in a lobby though, it is smooth sailing for there. There is little to zero lag when playing online, and it’s a fantastic experience. This was totally unexpected, but I was treated to a wonderful zero lag experience. If you don’t mind waiting, I highly recommend trying online. Hopefully this will get patched in the future.
Team Sonic Racing has a wide variety of customization options for everything about your car. In order to customize your car, you have to go to the garage from the main menu. Doing so will take you to a screen with two options, customize performance parts, or customize car cosmetics. Customizing the car’s performance parts change its stats. You can equip a more powerful engine in the front to get better boost and defense, however doing so will decrease your acceleration and top speed stats. It’s all about strategy, and I’m all for it. Cosmetic customization allows you to change the color of you vehicle, and it’s cool to be able to do so. The colors available can have different effects, such as matte or metalic, so there is a ton of variety available.
Team Sonic Racing is a great racer that any racing fan should try. Although there are some issues and things that could be better, overall it is a fantastic experience and I highly recommend trying it.