Sonic Superstars is nearly here, and with it, another stab, another go, another attempt for SEGA to recapture the magic of the side-scrolling perfection it gave us all those years ago. Does it manage it? After playing it at Gamescom this year, it’s not a straight yes or no, but it certainly is a fun trip down nostalgia lane, that’s for sure.
Sonic Superstars is Bold, Vibrant, and a Little Overwhelming
During the hands-on event at Gamescom, there were four separate levels on offer for press to enjoy. Thanks to the game’s popularity, I was paired with another participant – which proved to be the making of the whole preview – to enjoy the co-op side of the game, rather than trying it out solo.
The co-op is drop-in and drop-out, which allows for adaptability and the couch co-op on offer will allow for friends and family to help out quickly, or drop-in for a few levels before leaving, and it makes the game so much more fun, and frenetic, especially once four of you are involved. Come release you’ll be able to choose between eight different characters to take control of, from the standard Sonic and Tails to Knuckles and even Amy, as well as four more, of course.
The four-player co-op is great fun, but it can also make things difficult to keep track of. Every inch of every level is full of bright, vibrant, and fantastically designed, but add in the intensity of the side-scrolling, the obstacles to avoid and the enemies attacking, it can make the whole ordeal overwhelming and hard to keep track of. There can be too much of a good thing.
Thankfully, the gameplay is incredibly intuitive and forgiving, with zero loading times upon death, controls that feel natural and allow for quick traversal of the levels – which for a Sonic game is imperative – and the co-op buddy system allows for teammates to carry the whole team. The camera will follow whoever is furthest in front. If that means the other players’ characters are too far back, they get removed and ‘carried’ until they’re ready to jump back in. This can be as one player dies, or just if they want to steal the glory and finish the level.
The intertwined nature of the co-op extends to the regularly occurring mini-games, which require teamwork to complete, with the end goal always being to capture an emerald of some sort. These come at regular intervals but don’t overstay their welcomes, and harken back to the original games on the Megadrive, as does much of the game.
Sonic Superstars allows players to use a number of Emerald Powers to help overcome the enemies and bosses included in the game, as well as platform your way throughout. During the hands-on, the most used was certainly ‘Water’, which allows the player to traverse water and waterfalls far easier, and ‘Avatar’, which created clones of the character who used it, which then went on to attack the enemies on screen.
There are another five Emerald Powers available in the full game, but the using of these powers offers a new dynamic to the game, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the other five are able to be used and exploited during the full release.
All-in-all, Sonic Superstars certainly looks to be a return to 2.5D side-scrolling form for the franchise and was certainly more fun than Sonic Frontiers, but it is yet to be seen if it’ll be as much fun or half as entertaining as a solo experience as it was with a co-op partner.
What do you think? Will you be picking up Sonic Superstars come release? Let us know in the comments.