Sonic Superstars Review
The Blue Blur is one the biggest icons in the industry. Since his debut in 1991, Sonic has sped from games to the silver screen to captivate audiences around the world. While he remains as popular as ever, recent releases featuring the hedgehog have been a little hit-and-miss. Jumping back to its 2D roots, Sonic Superstars aims to capture the magic that permeates his 90s outings. But will this new take on a classic formula be more than a nostalgia-infused adventure?
Dr. Eggman has returned, determined to find the Chaos Emeralds and transform adorable, furry creatures into Badniks to achieve world domination. With Fang the Hunter at his side, the mad doctor edges ever closer to his lofty goal. Upon hearing about his nefarious plans, Sonic and his trusty pals leap straight into action to halt the mustachioed antagonist. Although the story is typical, the presentation is excellent. Animated sequences are interspersed throughout the levels to flesh out the plot. The hand-drawn art style is reminiscent of 90s cartoons and helps to capture the era in an authentic manner.
Back to its Roots
Sonic Superstars is the 2D platformer that fans have been yearning for. Like the originals, you tackle a couple of stages at a time before you progress on to the next zone. Areas culminate with a boss battle which has you dodging and waiting for the perfect time to retaliate. While these stick to series conventions, they are well-designed and offer enough variety to make each encounter feel fresh.
Every level has a range of routes which means you’ll need to play courses multiple times to see and collect everything. Hidden throughout are portals to the Chaos Emeralds and bonus stages which will entice you to replay stages. As Sonic has had a long history with speed runs, the number of options lets you experiment with different paths to find the perfect way to cruise through an Act. Working out how to get from A to B in the fastest way possible hasn’t felt this good in years. Moving, jumping, and dashing all feel great and make each race to the finish line a blast.
The level design is exciting thanks to the innovation baked into the experience. While the core gameplay follows the trend of its 2D predecessors, levels use gimmicks to make them memorable and unique. Some require you to use your aerial ability to glide through the air, whereas others send you into the ocean to wade through the water. There are genuine surprises that will keep you hooked throughout the entire campaign. Lovely callbacks to previous releases in the series frequently raise their heads which will please fans of the franchise. It’s clear to see that a lot of love went into the creation of Sonic’s latest sprint.
The Cool Crew
You can select from one of four famous characters for your adventure. Each has their own personality with small differences that vary their play style. Tails can reach higher points with his flight ability. Knuckles can climb walls and dart across gaps, whereas Amy can double jump and smash with her trusty hammer. Runs with different characters are essential, as you’ll find secrets that were otherwise out of reach.
Chaos Emeralds give you different abilities that you can activate throughout levels. For example, if you see a stream of water, you can use a particular skill to swim up it and discover a hidden area. This opens up several new ways to play through the game. While it does still encourage speed runs, it also rewards exploration. As a result, you’ll find yourself repeatedly returning to stages with different characters to unearth their secrets.
Although the single-player component is great, the multiplayer portion is not as strong. You can tackle the story with up to 3 friends. However, due to the fast-paced nature of the game, it feels too busy to play with others. As you speed along, if your partner falls behind, they’ll have to wait to respawn. While this is a common mechanic in platformers, it’s the frequency of this that can become disheartening for inexperienced gamers.
All For One
In addition to this, you can also play Battle Mode. All the avatar pieces you unlock from the main campaign come into play here as you can create your own robot to use in the mode. This offers a range of challenges such as collecting the most of a particular item or surviving a crumbling platform and is more tailored to the multiplayer experience. Although a fun extra mode, there’s not enough depth for this to stand the test of time. Due to this, you’re more likely to go back to the main campaign than spend time in Battle Mode.
Sonic Superstars manages to capture the magic of his earlier releases. The multilayered levels and innovation throughout make this one of the best Sonic games in years! While the multiplayer aspects are not as strong, the single-player portion undoubtedly proves that Sonic is back!
***A PlayStation 5 key was provided by the publisher***
- Classic Gameplay
- Innovative Level Design
- Lovely Visuals
- Co-op isn’t Great
- Battle Mode Feels Tacked On
- A Little Short