Here’s hyperbole for you. Just as Sonic Mania saw a group of talented fans going wild with Sega’s icon to create something as good as, if not better than the very best 2D Sonic games, then the enthusiasts at Sumo Digital have worked similar magic here. Not that it’s saying particularly much, but this might well be the best 3D Sonic in a generation or two.
Maybe that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – not if you’ve been paying attention, anyway. Some seven years ago Sumo Digital made, in All-Stars Racing Transformed, an arcade racer worthy of the greats, helped in no small part by how it leaned on so many of Sega’s legends. Panzer Dragoon! Skies of Arcadia! Burning Rangers! For players of a certain vintage, it was pure heaven.
Team Sonic Racing is a very different game led by a different team, with development primarily handled by Sumo’s Nottingham studio, staffed in part by former Free Radical team members. For Sumo Digital’s third kart racer for Sega, it sees the biggest departure from the formula yet. There are one of the rich, broad references to Sega’s past – instead, this is a pure, dedicated Sonic game (a reverse trajectory to that of Mario Kart, funnily enough, which with the eighth instalment became a Nintendo all-stars series). Jet Set Radio’s Beat is out, in other words, but Big the Cat is in.