Sonic, the iconic blue hedgehog, has had his fair share of ups and downs in the gaming world. Sonic Superstars is no exception, falling into the category of games with undeniable flaws but a unique Sonic charm. In this latest adventure, Sonic and his friends embark on a classic platforming journey to thwart the notorious Dr. Eggman’s evil schemes.
1. A Familiar Plot: In Sonic Superstars, Dr. Eggman is once again causing trouble, and Sonic, along with his pals Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, must step up to save the day. The game takes players through 11 side-scrolling zones, each with its own set of challenges and gimmicks. Unlike some recent Sonic titles, Superstars sticks to pure, classic Sonic platforming without elaborate story scenes or complex RPG elements.
2. New Twists and Co-op Multiplayer: While maintaining the essence of classic Sonic gameplay, Sonic Superstars introduces some fresh ideas. All zones are brand-new, offering a mix of familiar Sonic archetypes and new stage concepts. The addition of Emerald Powers provides players with unique abilities, adding variety to character movements. One notable innovation is the inclusion of four-person couch co-op multiplayer, bringing controlled chaos to the Sonic experience.
3. Zone Variety and Gimmicks: The new zones in Sonic Superstars cover a range of Sonic environments, from lush islands to bouncy carnival areas. Some stages showcase creative and memorable elements that entice players to revisit them. However, not all zones are created equal, and some gimmicks can turn certain stages into a challenging slog. The game’s voxel-graphic, electricity-zipping Cyber Station stands out as a fan-favorite.
4. Character Abilities and Emerald Powers: Players can choose from four Sonic heroes, each with unique abilities. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy offer diverse playstyles. While most levels accommodate any character choice, a few are specifically designed for certain characters. Additionally, collecting Chaos Emeralds grants permanent new powers, enhancing the overall movement options and addressing the common frustration of inaccessible collectibles.
5. Special Stages and Boss Battles: Collecting Chaos Emeralds involves entering special stages, presenting players with a challenging 3D environment. However, the lack of clear distance references makes these stages occasionally frustrating. Boss battles, while well-designed, suffer from extended waiting periods between attack opportunities. The game’s overall lack of rewards, replacing finite lives with medals for customization, might dampen the exploration incentive for some players.
6. Co-op Multiplayer Dynamics: The touted co-op multiplayer feature offers a unique shared screen experience. The gameplay dynamically adjusts to keep all players within the same screen space, fostering teamwork or chaos, depending on the group. While suitable for family or varied skill levels, it may lead to confusion and disagreement among seasoned Sonic enthusiasts.
7. Online Multiplayer and Additional Modes: Online multiplayer features simplistic minigames that might not captivate players for long. However, Sonic Superstars offers additional modes, such as playing as Trip in modified stages or engaging in an ultimate final boss encounter with Super Sonic. The visual design is commendable, with vibrant environments and delightful graphical touches, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring contributions from Sonic Mania composer Tee Lopes.
Conclusion: The Sonic Rollercoaster: Sonic Superstars may not claim the title of the best Sonic game, acknowledging its evident flaws. Yet, it retains the core joy of high-speed platforming inherent to Sonic titles. The game’s ability to deliver unique moments, whether through innovative ideas or charming throwbacks, elevates it beyond its stumbles. Sonic enthusiasts will find moments of glittering glory in this rollercoaster adventure, reminding us that reaching for the stars sometimes involves a few tumbles along the way.