Team Sonic Racing is the latest kart racing entry into Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise, with both on- and offline options, as well as solo and multiplayer modes. It is scheduled for release on May 21, 2019 and promises for a nice contrast to the various post-apocalyptic and fighter games that are flooding the market this spring.
Sonic and his friends receive invitations to participate in a Grand Prix tournament against Team Dark on Planet Wisp from the mysterious Dodon Pa. While the invitation seems fun, the host is unknown to the crew as are his true intentions. There suspicions are further aroused when he assists Dr. Eggman when he crashes the teams’ race. However, nothing conclusive is proven, and the characters decide to continue racing in the hopes of discovering what is going on and to simply enjoy their races.
Players can choose from one of fifteen characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe to race with. Each race will feature 12 characters, with some modes only being playable online. Offline games can be played with friends or against AI opponents. As they compete, they will be able to gather various items such as a mix of fourteen different offensive and defensive wisp-types, the invincibility item and rings. However, in this version, the rings don’t earn players extra life, but rather contribute towards their final score. If their character is damaged during the race, they will drop all their rings and will have a small window to reclaim as many of them as possible before they disappear.
Wisps will provide characters with various boosts and abilities. Many of them are recognizable from previous Sonic games, but a few new wisps will also be introduced. Some familiar wisps include the Blue Wisp that will allow players to place blue cubes as obstacles for other racers to crash into and the Red Wisp that will enable players to turbo-blast red flames at pursuing rivals in order to slow them down.
Team Sonic Racing only offers a third-person perspective, but it does allow players to toggle between back and frontal views. This will make it easier for them to lunch attacks against enemies, avoid attacks and assist their teammates.
Players can assist their teammates in numerous ways, such as Slingshot, that allows characters to follow the trail left behind by their teammates in order to gain enough traction to propel themselves ahead. Other tricks include Skimboost, where players skim past teammates and somehow boost their speed in the process, as well as Rival Takedown, where competitors are highlighted, and characters can then ram into them to slow them down. Teammates can also send each other certain booster items to help them out of tight spots. Items can be shared regardless of where teammates are positioned, thereby enabling teammates to support and boost each other back into the game when they’re falling behind. Each time teammates help each other, it fills the Team Ultimate bar. Once this bar is full, it will provide a boost for the entire team.
For most online modes, players can select any player character that they would like, regardless of whether they are playing in a solo or team race. They can even all opt for the same character if they would like. There will also be four speed-settings for the game.
Grand Prix Mode
This is an online 12-player race-mode that allows players to race against each other through a matchmaking system. Players will be trying to earn the most points in order to improve their positioning on the leader board. Points are earned through maneuvers, rings and their finishing position. This mode allows for teams of 1-4 players, with it being possible to split-screen the gameplay between all teammates.
Team Adventure Mode
This is a team campaign mode that presents players of up to three with a series of challenges and race tracks that they need to complete in order to progress the overall story further. Players cannot select their teams, as the team formation is central to the plot, but they can select which character on the team they would like to be. Clearing this mode is crucial, as it is hinted to be the only way to unlock new characters. Players can play this solo with two AI teammates, if they’d prefer.
This is a customizable racing mode, that will allow players to adjust various settings and conditions for their race.
Time Trial Mode
Players will be able to attempt a certain number of laps to beat the high score for the fastest lap.
Characters by Team
So far, four of the five teams have been officially announced. As each team comprises of three characters, there will be 15 playable characters by the time of release. As to whether more tracks and characters will be made available as DLC – no information has been given thus far, so most likely not.
Within each team there are three car-types, namely Speed, Power-Up and Technique, each of which have their own play-style and skill-sets for players to master. For instance, the Speed type is less affected by the slow-down effect when they drive over grassy areas as other types would be. Then there’s the Power type that is able to destroy hazards that may be blocking their path Sega officials have stated that there will be unlockable vehicle customizations in the game, but that these will be announced at a future date. As an added bonus friendly-fire will not be functional in Team Sonic Racing.
The team line-ups are as follows:
- Team Sonic
Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles ‘Tails’ Prower
- Team Dark
Shadow the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat and E-123 Omega
- Team Rose
Amy Rose, Four Chao and Big the Cat. The Four Chaos are Dark, Hero, Neutral and Omochao and are basically skin options for the third member of Team Rose.
- Team Vector
Silver the Hedgehog, Blaze the Cat and Vector the Crocodile
- Team Eggman: Dr. Eggman, Metal Sonic and Zavok
The developers confirmed that there will be 21 tracks in the game, but only a handful have been revealed. These include Sand Hill, Market Street and Boo’s House. Each track will also feature their own theme song, some of which will be brand new to the game.