Sonic Superstars is a game that I have had the pleasure of being quite familiar with. Prior to this review session, I was fortunate enough to have access to it during the SEGA Summer Festival preview. From the moment I got my hands on it, I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait to try it out on my PS5 at home. While it does have some of the typical issues that tend to plague all 2D Sonic games, it still manages to stand out as my favorite 2D Sonic game in recent years. Although it may not reach the same level of greatness as “Sonic Mania,” it certainly surpasses the disappointment of Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
Sonic Superstars Multiplayer Magic
One of the standout features in Sonic Superstars is the ability to play with up to four players in drop-in/out co-op mode. This adds a whole new level of excitement and fun to the game, allowing friends to join in at any time and share in the fast-paced action. Another positive aspect is the vast variety of paths available in the stages. This gives players the freedom to choose their own route, adding replay value and allowing for different strategies to be employed.
The creative boss battles in the game are a delight. They are well-designed, challenging, and require players to think on their feet to find the boss's weaknesses. However, it is important to address some points of criticism to further improve the game.
Although it may not reach the heights of the best Sonic games I have ever played, there is something about this particular installment that I truly love. As a long-time fan of the series, I appreciate the effort that has been put into creating an enjoyable gaming experience. While it may not be perfect, it still manages to capture the essence of what makes Sonic games so fun and exciting. The familiar gameplay mechanics, fast-paced action, and quirky characters all contribute to the overall enjoyment of the game. Despite its flaws, I believe that fans of the series will still find plenty to enjoy in this latest Sonic adventure.
Enchanting Northstar Islands
In Sonic Superstars, fans are transported to the captivating Northstar Islands, a vibrant and enchanting world. However, this paradise is under imminent threat as the nefarious Dr. Eggman, accompanied by the cunning Fang, and the enigmatic Trip, hatch a malevolent plan to seize control. Although their exact intentions remain shrouded in mystery, one thing is certain – their scheme bodes ill for the inhabitants of this idyllic realm.
As players embark on this exhilarating adventure, they will race through a mesmerizing array of 11 zones, each brimming with awe-inspiring landscapes and imaginative obstacles. Armed with the unparalleled skills of Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles, players must channel their inner heroes to thwart the insidious machinations of Eggman and his cohorts, ensuring the safety and salvation of Northstar Islands.
While the storyline in the Sonic franchise may not be the most intricate, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the game. In fact, the simplicity of the narrative is what makes it so appealing. As a fan, I don't necessarily seek out deep character development or complex plotlines in this series. Instead, I'm here for the exhilarating speed and the thrill of taking down egg-themed robots. And in SEGA's latest 2D side-scroller, I am not disappointed. The game delivers on both fronts, providing me with the fast-paced action and robot-smashing satisfaction that I crave.
In the game, all four characters bring their own unique and enjoyable abilities to the table. Sonic's Drop Dash allows for quick and efficient movement, while Tails' ability to fly adds a whole new level of exploration to the game. However, it is important to note that each character excels in specific areas, and sometimes struggles in others. For instance, Knuckles may not be the best choice for the Casino stage, as his gliding ability can be difficult to control and often leads to accidental glides instead of precise bounces between objectives.
On the other hand, Amy proves to be the most powerful character of the four, thanks to her double jump and hammer spin that allow for both increased mobility and devastating attacks. Ultimately, the combination of these diverse abilities contributes to the overall fun and excitement of the game.
Innovative Chaos Emerald Powers
The inclusion of the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic Superstars has brought a refreshing change to the game. Unlocking each Chaos Emerald grants players a new power, which adds an exciting element to the gameplay. The powers can be easily accessed through a wheel, using the right stick. What makes it even better is that these powers recharge every time a checkpoint is reached, ensuring that players can continuously utilize them throughout their journey. This addition not only enhances the overall experience but also keeps players engaged and motivated to unlock more Chaos Emeralds to discover the full extent of their powers.
Sonic Superstars offers an impressive array of abilities for players to enjoy. From the Avatar's ability to summon countless clones to Vision's power to unveil hidden items and platforms, the game truly offers a diverse and exciting gameplay experience. Additionally, the Bullet ability allows players to dash through the air swiftly like a bullet, while the Water ability enables them to transform into a liquid form, effortlessly swimming through waterfalls and streams.
However, there is one caveat – players must excel at the Chaos Emerald mini-game to fully harness the potential of these incredible powers. Despite this requirement, the multitude of abilities available in Sonic Superstars is sure to captivate and thrill gamers of all skill levels.
Level Design and Gameplay Dynamics
The game developers have truly outdone themselves in creating unique and innovative zones for the players to explore. While some zones may bear similarities to those in previous games, they have been revamped and enhanced to offer a fresh and exciting experience. One aspect that I particularly admire about these levels is the presence of multiple routes.
Whether you choose to take the high road or the low road, each path presents its own set of challenges and rewards. Opting for the higher routes undoubtedly offers a quicker route to the finish line, but it demands a higher level of skill and precision. This element adds an extra layer of excitement and replay value to the game, as players can experiment with different routes and strategies to achieve the best results.
The beauty of Sonic Superstars lies in its diverse level designs that cater to different skill levels. While some routes offer a quick and straightforward path, others demand more precise platforming skills. Personally, I appreciate this variety as it rewards players who have mastered the game or have an in-depth knowledge of the stages. The ability to navigate through zones swiftly becomes a testament to one's expertise, making the gameplay experience even more thrilling and satisfying.
Pacing and Obstacle Concerns
One of my first complaints about the game is that the initial playthrough tends to be slower than preferred. While I understand the need for a learning curve and the importance of familiarizing oneself with the game mechanics, it can feel frustrating at times. The game's pacing may not appeal to those who prefer a more fast-paced experience, as it takes time to understand and navigate through the various challenges and obstacles. This slower start can potentially deter some players from fully immersing themselves in the game, which is a shame considering the potential it holds.
Sonic the Hedgehog, a renowned franchise known for its emphasis on speed, is meant to be all about the exhilaration of going fast. However, despite this core concept, there seems to be an abundance of obstacles and challenges hindering Sonic's path to maximum velocity. Whether it be enemies suddenly appearing and obstructing his way or massive rocks blocking his intended route, these frustrating elements persistently resurface in Sonic Superstars. Despite the franchise's premise of speed, players find themselves constantly slowed down and impeded, creating a somewhat ironic juxtaposition within the game.
Despite the presence of darkness, mazes, and numerous underwater sections that can occasionally slow down gameplay and frustrate players, it would be unfair to label the overall gameplay as bad. On the contrary, I found myself thoroughly enjoying my time with the game and eagerly anticipate playing it further alongside my friends. The challenging elements added an extra layer of excitement and strategic thinking, making each level a unique and engaging experience. While it may require some patience and perseverance, the game ultimately rewards players with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
The thrill of speed is unparalleled, especially when soaring through the air or gliding effortlessly across vibrant platforms. It's an exhilarating experience that fills one with a sense of freedom and excitement. The rush of adrenaline pumps through your veins as you navigate through the dense jungle, using the vines as your personal highway.
Amidst the beauty and excitement, there are moments of sudden danger. Enemies lurk in the shadows, ready to pounce on you at any moment. Their sudden appearance catches you off guard, leaving you with little time to react. In these instances, the feeling of helplessness washes over you, as you desperately try to find a way to evade or confront the impending threat. It's in these moments that the true test of skill and quick thinking presents itself, and the balance between speed and caution becomes crucial.
The fast-paced nature of the game is undeniably thrilling, but it is often marred by numerous instances that abruptly halt the momentum. This is something I have always found contradictory to the essence of the Sonic experience. Although there are moments of sheer excitement, they are often counterbalanced by segments that slow me down to a frustrating crawl, particularly in water areas. It is puzzling to me why these underwater sections seem to pose such problems in the franchise.
Playing a game that requires you to hold your breath underwater for extended periods of time can be quite exhilarating. The challenge of staying submerged and navigating through intricate underwater environments can add an extra layer of excitement to the gameplay. However, when a boss fight suddenly introduces mandatory water mechanics, it can completely disrupt the fun and enjoyment of the game. The pressure of defeating the boss while also managing oxygen levels becomes overwhelming and takes away from the overall experience. It feels like a forced and unnecessary addition that detracts from the enjoyment of the game as a whole.
The visual style of Sonic Superstars is absolutely captivating and it is one of the main reasons why I adore this game. Each stage is crafted with meticulous attention to detail and possesses its own unique aesthetic and gameplay style. From lush green meadows to futuristic cityscapes, the graphics are simply stunning. The vibrant colors, smooth animations, and dynamic backgrounds truly bring the game to life.
It is a visual treat to witness Sonic and his friends zooming through these beautifully designed stages. While the core premise of the game remains the same, which is to go as fast as possible from one side of the screen to the other, it is the eye-catching presentation that truly matters to me. Sonic Superstars is a perfect blend of thrilling gameplay and visually stunning graphics, making it an absolute delight to play.
Design Highlights and Callbacks
The visual designs in the game were a mixed bag of frustration and delight. There were moments where navigating through the dark jungle while platforming became incredibly frustrating. However, for the most part, I was in awe of what I saw. The stages were filled with fun callbacks to previous games, such as Pinball Carnival, which reminded me of the iconic Casino Night and Carnival Night zones. These references to both visual and gameplay design brought me immense joy as a fan of the series.
The game not only provided an engaging gameplay experience, but it also offered an amazing score for each level. The music seamlessly blended with the gameplay, enhancing the overall experience. From the upbeat and energetic tunes in the action-packed levels to the soothing melodies in the more relaxed stages, the music seemed to fit each level perfectly. It added a layer of immersion and excitement, making the gameplay even more enjoyable.
Additionally, the game rewarded players with scores based on their performance at each level. This added an extra level of challenge and motivation to strive for perfection. The combination of the incredible score and fitting music made the game an unforgettable experience.
Sonic Superstars is a game that offers a lot of fun and excitement for fans of the franchise. I personally enjoyed playing both the preview and my own gaming sessions, finding it to be a more enjoyable experience than Sonic Frontiers. However, I did find the 8-player battle mode to be lacking in enjoyment as it didn't capture my attention for very long. The process of grinding coins for new robot parts also didn't resonate with me.
During my online sessions, I only came across a few battle modes, and while they were fine as long as everyone was going the same route, there were occasional camera issues that made it unclear which character the camera should be following. Despite these minor flaws, the game really shines in its visual presentation and the various ways players can navigate through each zone. Although speed isn't always the focus, I believe Sonic Superstars is a step in the right direction for 2D Sonic titles.
Sonic Superstars Review
Sonic Superstars is a game that offers a lot of fun and excitement for franchise fans. I personally enjoyed playing both the preview and my own gaming sessions, finding it to be a more enjoyable experience than Sonic Frontiers