If you enjoy arcade kart-racing games, do yourself a favor and download Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing [$1.99] by Sega.  There's currently an introductory price of $1.99 which ends on June 25th, when it increases to $4.99. The game is universal, so it runs on iPad and iPhone. The console version came out last year, so you may already know this game involves racing, drifting around corners and shooting opponents. It's a playful light-hearted game, rather than a racing simulation and the characters and courses are based on Sonic and Sega game-worlds. Seriously, if you like Kart racers, just go download it.

Need some more convincing? Alright.

This game opens with a fan service filled animated intro to introduce the Sega characters, after which you create a Sega driving license for yourself by choosing your name, character and flag. You can create multiple drivers licenses, allowing more than one user to have a profile for the game. As you race, "Sega Miles" are added to your license, which help you to unlock courses or characters. You get to choose which order you unlock the levels or characters in. Right from the start, you'll be impressed with the way this game is presented. Even the menu systems look great.

And there's plenty of gameplay options. There are four single player modes, including 25 missions to unlock, 3 grand prix cups to win (with easy, medium and hard modes), plus single race and time trial modes. For 'single race' you can specify the number of racers, laps, difficulty and whether power-up items and gimmicks appear. For 'Time trial' there are ghost racers to beat. But here's the best part: - there's also multiplayer modes. You can race or battle against one friend locally via bluetooth, or as four friends online. A battle involves finding weapons and eliminating opponents by attacking them three times. Many games with online multiplayer initially have trouble with having a player base to be matched with for online games, but on day one, in my first attempt, I joined a multi-player quick-match within seconds.

Let's examine the characters and courses. The 10 Sega characters in this game include names like: Sonic, Tails, Dr Eggman, and Ryo Hazuki. Each has their own vehicle with different attributes for speed, acceleration, handling and turbo. The vehicles include car, monster truck, bike, plane and even a banana vehicle. There's enough variations for you to pick a favorite vehicle which matches your preferred handling preferences. There are 15 courses, such as Whale Lagoon, Icicle Valley, Lava Lair and the Sewers. The tracks have turbo patches on the ground and curved loop-the-loop tracks, which will be familiar to anyone who played Sonic the Hedgehog.  There's jumps and drops too, but If you fly off the edge of a cliff, you're teleported back to the track. Each course is detailed and quite distinct from the others, with lovely HD graphics, for example Whale Lagoon features waterfalls, split tracks and a whale/shark/dolphin/fish-like thing jumps out of the water.

Once you've got a license, a tutorial is provided, to explain the controls. There's two control schemes available-- The default uses auto-acceleration, with tilt movements to steer, a brake button which reverses (quite quickly) when held down and the frequently used "drift" button for sliding around corners. The alternate scheme uses touch controls for steering, but instead of left and right buttons, there's a slider. Personally, I'm not a fan of slider controls, so I preferred the tilting option. There's a setting for "Steering Assist" which the pros may want to turn off and tilt-sensitivity can also be tweaked in the settings.

The racing gameplay is build heavily upon the idea of "drifting" around corners. The more you drift, the bigger the speed boost you receive, which also helps to smash through obstacles on the track. There's plenty of power-up capsules to collect, such as turbo, mines, shield, the mega-horn, heat-seeking rockets and 'K.O gloves' which bounce of the walls and hopefully hit your opponent. Some of the items are more comical, such as a power-up which transforms your vehicle into a large rolling ball, crushing other vehicles, or the rainbow item which causes your opposition (or you) to be temporarily blinded by beautiful, yet track-obscuring, colors.  Each Sega character also has a special "all-star move" to unlock.

With all these features, Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing is an easy game to recommend and it's likely to climb the charts. People are loving it in the forums, where it's already being crowned by forum members as the best kart-racing game on the App Store.  Nice work Sega... Now, how about those emulator games?

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Capone

    This really beats the former king "Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2" by (SEGA) miles. ;-)
    As you'll never get Mario Kart officialy on iOS, grab this, as it's the second best thing that can happen to a kart racing addict.
    By the way: does anyone know what the "Steering Assist" mentioned by Troy really does?

  • http://twitter.com/ZEROFACES Nicholas Heijnen

    "People are loving it in the foruma, where it's already..."

    I'm not pestering or anything, but when I first read that, I literally sat here for about 6-8 seconds thinking, "Where in the world is foruma?!" :P

    Great review, btw. You've fully convinced me to download it! Maybe this game will make up for playing the horribly-awful PSP game ModNation Racers Sony gave me for free (which still isn't cheap enough for that game).

  • http://twitter.com/PeterM11 Peter Mostoff

    Thoroughly impressed by this game. Great price. It's really a steal. I still have a crater in my heart from the lack of a Mario Kart but yes, I understand that will likely never happen. I'm not really familiar with most of the characters (Just the ones from Sonic and Monkey Ball) but they seem to have a lot of personality. The tracks I've played so far are pretty good.
    It's definitely the best Kart Racer we have on iOS so far.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome game and a great value for 2 bucks. Runs great on the iPad. Sega did everything right with this release. Don't miss this one if you even remotely like the genre.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome game and a great value for 2 bucks. Runs great on the iPad. Sega did everything right with this release. Don't miss this one if you even remotely like the genre.

  • Tikicobra

    I bought the game based off of this review, and I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic game for $1.99. I liked both Crash Bandicoot racing games, but this puts those to shame, and it's way cheaper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/madebymadison Madison Fotografie

    I'd love to see ALL the racers from the console version in this game. I sold my Wii but I remember there being more like Uh La La that dancey girl. So it's not a complete port. Plus iPad2 specific enhancements could be better (more particles, bouncy houses on the Samba courses like the WIi version etc). It's more an upgraded DS version than a Wii version. But with those (minor) complaints set aside: it is one of the finest racing games for iOS by FAR. Let's hope Sega adds more content/racers/graphics in the future to make it completer. But you won't be able to beat me away from my iPad as we speak: that is how great it already is.

  • Angry Japanese

    According to this article, introductory price is 1.99$ until 25th then jumps up to 4.99$. But not available on Japanese AppStore yet. Don't ignore your home country, SEGA!

  • Duffman

    This game is ugly. I don't see much improvement over crash bandicoot kart. At least, it doesn't lag.

    • Salsamd

      1. ipad compatible (universal)
      2. retina display
      3. bluetooth play
      4. gamecenter

    • Mrsmartiepants

      It may not be gorgeous or amazing, but you'd have to be blind or not actually have both games to think that. Look at the content and playability too. Graphics aren't the end all be all metric. Crash's game sucks in comparison dude.

  • Lazrhog

    This is pretty darn good. $2 for a sonic 3D kart racer ? The days of over priced games are truly dead and buried !

  • Acadiaa

    THIS GAME IS CRAZY GOOD.

    Go buy it now. Definitely better than the crash and shrek one.

  • SILen(e

    It is okay, but the console/PC-version wasn't that good to begin with.
    The tracks are uninspired, while i can still recall every corner in Mario Kart 64, i will surely forget all tracks from this game, maybe except the one inspired by the first Sonic Adventure level.

    Tracks are often too narrow, combined with that damn tumbling whenever you hit a wall, most of them not even being recognized as a wall before you crash into them.

    But after all, seems like it is the best game of this genre we will ever get, so for the price, it is quite okay. :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frédéric-Lormois/100000030609443 Frédéric Lormois

      What are you saying ?
      This is a really good game...The tracks aren't uninspired at all...
      Just bashing here...
      Sure, this isn't at the same level than Mario Kar but...so what...this is a good game, not average or "bad but the only one"....no, a good kart game, the first real good kart game on iPhone....

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frédéric-Lormois/100000030609443 Frédéric Lormois

    @Capone:"As you'll never get Mario Kart officialy on iOS, grab this, as it's the second best thing that can happen to a kart racing addict."
    Yep...better than crash bandicoot racing ...for 2 bucks...this is crazy...

  • Anonymous

    I'm a little disappointed. This might be the best kart racer on iOS, but I want a kart racer with Real Racing's level of polish. This isn't it.

    • Anonymous

      Were you really expecting that?  Cartoony graphics and physics aren't uncommon at all in kart racers.  You're looking in the wrong place if you want a realistic racing experience.

    • Qiyong

      They have already polish. Did you try playing the DS version?? iOS version is better.

  • SILen(e

    He's not asking for realistic racing, he's asking for polish of the level Real Racing by Firemint is providing.

    Unfortunately, even though this game is made by SEGA and has been released on consoles and PC in the past, it't does't exactly feel like a game created to be the definitive game of it's genre (which equals polish), it feels more like a "me too"-game.

    • Anonymous

      Precisely. Real Racing is about as close to Gran Turismo as we can reasonably expect for $10 on the App Store. I want a kart racer that's as close to Mario Kart as we can expect for $10.

      Sega All Stars is a solid game for its price point. I want a better effort, and I'm willing to pay for it.

  • ktern

    The game isn't nearly as polished as its console counterpart, and isn't quite at Real Racing's level either... but at $2, it's a steal, and it's still a fantastic game. Easy to recommend this purchase.

  • http://players.openfeint.com OFErOne

    I'm loving the fact I can have Battle Mode on my mobile device...yay!

  • 12yam

    I have one (minor) gripe: The fact that you can only play battle mode against other people and not against bots -_-

  • Geemailingjunk

    this game does a great job for what it is. no, its no mario kart, but this isnt a nintendo device. it feels polished and im sure there will be some updates for it...hopefully, but i am loving it so far. the controls are pretty decent, though the touch screen option takes some getting used to. i do wish i could play online racing games with more than 4 people, but then again, those would be demands for a console not a little pocket phone. good job sega

  • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

    Jezuz F, Square, where is War of Lions.

    • Anonymous

      Sega made this game. Not square.

  • Shamus sister

    meh i dont like it. its just another cart racer, a hard to control one at that, tilt screen controls are hard for me, i try to play and i cant. still nice price and graphics just the controls spoil it for me.

    • SMP

      You know, there is an alternate control scheme if you dont like tilting your ipod/ipad

  • http://www.facebook.com/madebymadison Madison Fotografie

    I want Amy, Big, Shadow, Knuckles and the other characters in. They were left out, as were some seriously cool tracks (like the sonic track on the beach).

    • SMP

      No, not Big, I hate Big, why anyone thought having a talking cat who is literally mentally challenged would be a good idea for a video game character is beyond me. Also if Im playing a sonic game, I want to play sonic, not Sega bass fishing.

  • http://twitter.com/TheEJTV E.J. Macaranas

    Still Not as good as Mario Kart.

  • Anonymous

    In case anybody is wondering, this is an enhanced port of the DS version of the game. That's not a bad thing at all, the game is quite good and better than any other Kart racer on iOS by a longshot. It's not Mario Kart but it's not far off and this is the closest we should expect on the platform short of Nintendo becoming a software publisher for it.

    Compared to the DS version, all the textures are now high resolution, the polygonal models for the Karts are taken from their console counterparts, and the resolution has been bumped up significantly (retina display on IP4, HD on iPad). Being a port of the DS version, the track layouts are different from the console game although they still have the same themes. The character roster on the iOS version is smaller than the DS version too but I expect some sort of 'update' or DLC microtransaction in the future.

  • Anonymous

    In case anybody is wondering, this is an enhanced port of the DS version of the game. That's not a bad thing at all, the game is quite good and better than any other Kart racer on iOS by a longshot. It's not Mario Kart but it's not far off and this is the closest we should expect on the platform short of Nintendo becoming a software publisher for it.

    Compared to the DS version, all the textures are now high resolution, the polygonal models for the Karts are taken from their console counterparts, and the resolution has been bumped up significantly (retina display on IP4, HD on iPad). Being a port of the DS version, the track layouts are different from the console game although they still have the same themes. The character roster on the iOS version is smaller than the DS version too but I expect some sort of 'update' or DLC microtransaction in the future.

    • Capone

      Well, of course new content would be great. But I also hope for bugfixes. There seems to be an achievement bug, I can't get two out of the 25 achievements.

  • AriesWarlock

    What I don't get is how to unlock other difficulties? We have already beaten all Grand prixes cups and nothing!

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Reviewed by Troy Woodfield on . Rating: 4.5