I’ll admit that when I first got this game I was skeptical. It looked liked a Mario Kart knockoff with SEGA characters, and a way for them to make a quick buck. Surprisingly, I was very wrong about this game and the amount of fun I had with it.
While All-Star Racing does play like a Mario Kart, it is not a bad knockoff. It is a very polished and fun to play product. I’ve played Mario Kart Wii and to be perfectly honest I prefer Sonic and SEGA All Star Racing. It doesn’t try to push boundaries that don’t need to be pushed, and they dont overload you with a lot of cheap gimmicks that takes away from the core driving experience.
You get to play as 19 classic SEGA characters in the game including Sonic and friends, Shenmue star Ryo Hazuki, Jet Set Radio character Beat, Billy Hatcher, characters from Virtua Fighter 5, and many more. Each have their own twist and own special abilities. If you buy this game you will find your own personal favorite either based on driving style, or fan nostalgia. Personally, I usually like to drive as Beat from Jet Set Radio.
With such a wide variety of characters, SEGA has also taken a lot of these characters worlds and turned them into amazing tracks. These are actually some pretty cool tracks that have a wide variety of driving styles, weather types, and more. You will be driving in cities, forests, beaches, and mountain range type areas. There are also some pretty freaky track types set in haunted mansion areas, on pirate ship type areas, and techno colored futuristic city types.
The music in the game is another strong point to it. I think it help creates a great feel to the driving, and is usually upbeat and catchy. It reminds me of the types of soundtracks you would have in the 90’s on old school arcade games. They are all fun to drive to, and I enjoyed them.
The game has a wide variety of modes inclduing basic races, tournament races, multiplayer, and single player mission modes. When I wasn’t playing online I would see myself playing the missions in single player. There are 64 total and each takes around 5 minutes to complete, so if you want to finish all of them you can see how long that would take, and that is only one game mode! The missions give you a wide range of objectives to beat to move on such as basic races, drift mode (where you have to drift as much as possible to collect points), hit contest (where you shoot down targets while you drive), gates (where you drive through as many gates as possible), and many more. These are fun/bite-sized games that add to the basic racing game modes.
When it comes to multiplayer you have both local multiplayer and online multiplayer. Locally you can play with up to four people, and online racers go up to 8 participants per race. The lobby for online multiplayer could be improved, and be easier to use but it isn’t awful. It’s never too hard to find a race, and it could be worst. The online matches are fun, but there are some freaking experts out there at kart racing games like this so watch out for them. The game plays basically the same for both single player and multiplayer.
The gameplay is really solid in this game. It’s a kart racer like what we’ve seen in the past, but it really is smooth to drive. You have drifting in the game which is a must to get boosts to win a race. The drifitng mechanic is easy (hold down the left trigger while making a turn), and it is fun to push your limits to see how long you can keep a dirft going. You have items and weapons in the game including high speed shoe (speed boost), rockets, mines, confusing star (confuses nearest rival by flipping their screen upside down), pocket rainbow (flashes a rainbow on your opponents screen so they cant see clearly), and a couple more. None of these are overpowering or annoying. They add to the overall experience, and don’t hamper it.
As a Kart Racer for a kid this is probably as good as it gets. If you are looking to get someone thirteen and under a game then I highly suggest this game. It has tons of value, is fun, creative, and well made. For someone who is older I would say that minor flaws include the lobby system in multiplayer, a surprisingly difficult ‘hard’ mode, and a lack of underlying depth and substance. If you want a fun party game then this is a good option. I could see myself coming to this game as a fun game to play where I don’t need to invest my soul into a story or spend two hours killing stuff.