Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Hands-On Preview -- It's A Boat! It's A Plane!By Leah Jackson - Posted Jun 07, 2012
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformedis the sequel to 2010's fast-paced kart racer Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing from Sumo Digital. The latest edition adds new characters to the series, as well as the ability for karts to now transform in to air and sea-based vehicles like boats and planes.
New characters to the series include Gilius from Golden Axe, Joe Musashi from Shinobi, and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. Other Sega all-stars like Sonic, Beat, and AiAi are all back and ready to race as well. Real-life Pro race car driver Danica Patrick will also be featured as a playable character in the game.
Each racer's kart controls differently, so it'll be up to each individual player's playstyle to determine who they're best with. But honestly, if you're good at steering, you can just pick your favorite character and go from there.
Additionally, each map in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is based on a specific IP. There's one map per game, and we got the opportunity to play through Dragon Canyon based on Panzer Dragoon for the Sega Saturn.
Throughout each map, there are different types of surfaces. In Dragon Canyon there was land, water, and air. On the land surfaces we used our kart, but in the lava and air areas our kart transformed into a boat and then an airplane. The game's controls completely change up based on the vehicle you're in, which is jarring at first but feels natural after a lap or two. The hardest to control was probably the plane, but once you get the hang of it it's not that bad, and it's fun to go from one vehicle to the next automatically. You can even do tricks in every vehicle, which gives you a boost.
Each track is also littered with power-ups that you can use to throw off your opponents, like snowballs, bees, and RC vehicles. There's also a shield weapon called a baseball mitt that absorbs the power-up someone shoots off at you and allows you to use it instead. If you’re really good, you can find super power-ups hidden in extra hard-to-get-to areas throughout the track.
Tracks also change based on which lap you're on. In Dragon Canyon, a dragon roams around the map and destroys a bridge early on in the track, forcing players to finish the race via plane, or they can drop down to the lower levels of the map and speed on via boat. Tracks have lots of ways to get through them as you can see, with a number of shortcuts hidden throughout them as well.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed adds a lot to the series in terms of track design, characters, and innovative vehicles. We had a blast playing through the game during our short E3 2012 demo, and you’ll be able to get your hands on it for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PC, and Wii U later this year.