Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing was released across multiple platforms last year, hitting everything between Steam and Xbox 360 before getting the inevitable iOS port late last month. Gameloft, mobile heavyweight, is behind this and has managed to put together one of its best iOS titles.
This is Mario Kart with Sonic flavouring; a near-perfect re-interpretation of Kart for iOS devices, fitted around the SEGA brand.
The structure follows the standard Kart model. All-Stars Racing pits you against five other SEGA mascots in three races made up of four tracks. Boxes are, as per usual, littered across areas of the course in rows, and give your character different abilities or boosts to help them against rival racers. Some of these are character-specific: Tails, for instance, can briefly transform into a cyclone that both increases his speed and blows his enemies out of the way.
But potentially one of the biggest successes of the game is how it functions on this platform. Controls have been fitted specifically to the iPhone/iPad design, which means despite the fact that you only have the bare essentials to work with, there's a minimalist elegance to it.
Acceleration is dealt with for you, and at the start of the race your character will shoot forward without being prompted. Steering, on the other hand, is entirely in your hands; and the same goes for your breaking and drifting abilities. Turning your iPhone left and right will steer your vehicle, while you control everything else by tapping one of two buttons at the edge of the screen.
Different courses can require different play styles, which in the end means success relates entirely down to personal skill. Some of these are clearly more designed for drifting than others, for instance, giving you wider roads to work with. Others take a narrower, zig-zagging approach and you'll struggle to incorporate broader drifts. Similarly, using speed boosts is better kept to particular areas of the track rather than continuously, areas where it is actually possible to overtake your rivals.
A mission mode is a decent addition to the mix, handing out different objectives, and these vary from coin collection to reaching certain gates on an open course. Additionally both local and online multiplayer is available for races with a maximum of four players.
But for fans it's the library of Sega references that is the star of the show. The courses themselves vary from Sega reference to Sega reference. House of the Dead and Samba De Amigo make appearances, while some of the less prominent characters - think B.D Joe from Crazy Taxi - can be unlocked alongside the usual stalwarts of Sonic and Tails.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing has all the best qualities that Mario Kart initiated years ago and features controls tailored to the portable iOS devices. As such, this is certainly one of the best iDevice racers you'll play this year.
VideoGamer.com Score9 Score out of 10
- Varied cast of unlockable characters
- Controls extremely well
- Includes multiplayer
- Still not quite a Mario Kart beater