Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing – Monkey Balls not required

Sonic and Sega RacingSonic and Sega All-Stars Racing (Review)  I’m not sure if you’ve heard but kart racing is really fun.  But did you know that you don’t need balls to race?  Just ask AiAi who rolls around the track without his ball.  Or Danica Patrick*.

Taken at face value anyone can appreciate ASR as a pretty solid racer.  It has the now-genre-standard drift and boost mechanic, a plethora of weird and wacky weapons, and an oddball cast of characters from various SEGA franchises filling a packed roster.

So hey, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing, released in 2008, is kind of like Mario Kart.  And by kind of like Mario Kart I mean pretty much exactly like Mario Kart with SEGA characters instead of Nintendo characters.  But that’s okay right?  We all love Mario Kart and Nintendo tend to make a s#it load of money out of the franchise don’t they?

I’m sure this is the subject of many conversations had by SEGA executives and developer Sumo Digital in the lead up to the release of All-Stars Racing (ASR), because SEGA noticed the success that Kart racing – good and bad- has brought developers in the past and thought to themselves ‘we want some of that delicious biscuit’.  And so the ASR franchise was born.  Featuring all of your favourite (and some you’ve probably never heard of) SEGA characters (and Danica Patrick int he sequel), ASR was SEGA’s attempt at tapping into the nostalgia 30-somethings had for the once great SEGA first party titles of the Master System, Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast.  And based purely on how long I’ve been playing the game for, it definitely succeeded, because for the last number of years ASR has been my go-to kart racer for multiplayer fun.

Oh yeah and the game has single player challenges that are a pretty decent distraction for a weekend.  If you’re like me you’ll smash through them in a weekend, and be done with them.  They’re not terribly inspired, certainly not game changers, and are not something to get that excited about, but you will likely get some kicks out of them and move on.

Samba Racing

This sounds absolutely like an advert, and in some ways it is.  The game manages to hit all of the bullet points one has come to expect from a Kart racer.  So if you’re looking for a best in show kart racer, All Stars Racing is your bag.  It’s fast, sports a decent variety of  incredibly inspired (and fun) track design, it feels blisteringly fast, and if you dig SEGA’s more prominent franchises, you’ll get a kick out of the fan service.  Even if you’re not, as long as you don’t hold SEGA as your mortal enemy, you’ll enjoy the game simply as a bloody good time.

In short, you’ll like it.

*Danica Patrick appeared in the sequel, Sega All Stars Racing: Transformed, which I am playing right now and can tell you, I rather like it.