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Preview | Sonic Superstars

The classic Sonic game returns. A 2D Sonic, in which the assets are not pixel style like in Sonic Mania, but full 3D models. A 2.5D game to be exact, in which the blue hedgehog looks better than ever. Because what we can already reveal is that graphically the game is really enjoyable. At gamescom we were able to play several levels (albeit with limited time) and we share our experience here. The nice thing about Sonic Superstars, is that it puts a lot of focus on cooperative play. The old timers among us must think back to it nostalgically: cozy up next to each other on the couch like back in the day. We did the same with another journalist, as Sonic’s friends are also in this game!

A well-kept presentation

We were given the opportunity to start right away in a very impressive level: Cyber Station. This level manages to combine a Tron style with pinball elements which makes for a special presentation. This was interspersed with some Pac-Man enemies, setting the old school gamey atmosphere well. It is worth noting here that the game looks very crisp. Thus, graphically it is very polished and sleek, while having that very recognizable Sonic vibe. The same goes for the other levels we were able to play. A look-a-like of Green Hill, for example, which can be called a typical level, but no less interesting for that. With crazy, silly loopings and half-pipes that you can run through, the classic Sonic feeling of yesteryear is evident in this game.

We were able to play a few other levels, but the aforementioned were still the highlights. We also got to play (very briefly due to lack of time) a jungle level, which was slightly less impressive. In addition, we also experienced some boss fights, which again follow a classic recipe. Dr. Eggman showing up with his flying saucer to grind you into mincemeat again with some big robot beast. It’s mostly old-fashioned fun, mostly due to the impressive levels with various course elements inherent to the Sonic franchise. In (couch) co-op, of course, an extra layer of fun comes with that, only there’s a caveat.

Co-op is chaos

The different characters have slight differences from one another. Sonic is just really fast, Tales can float a bit, but then again Knuckles is significantly slower. Something that is a bit of a known fact within the franchise. Considering you can play this game with four people (Amy is the fourth character), when the pace is high, one can lag behind the rest. A system that partially compensates for this will let you respawn if you get too far out of frame. This can still create some confusing situations where you lose track, but something is needed to keep the laggards from feeling useless.

Playing together does end up being great fun and even laughable, especially in the boss fights, romping together with a large machine is a fun challenge. Only through the regular levels can it make for chaotic moments. How it really comes into its own in the end, of course, remains to be seen. We will obviously come back to that in the review. You also have the option of playing the game on your own, so if you don’t have any friends around, that’s a nice alternative.

Classic, but with a modern twist

At its core, you are actually playing a classic Sonic game, which is of course a big plus for fans. At the same time, the game also offers something completely new: the level design is often very complex, with very cool twists and gimmicks, and all at high speed, which in combination with the snappy gameplay makes the game a nice new addition to the franchise. It is also mostly the graphics that highlight the freshness. However, there is still a lot we are curious about once the game launches: the various co-op elements, further diversity in the levels and also the bosses. We’ve only seen glimpses of everything, so we’re eagerly looking forward to the full game, because at least the short play session brought plenty of fun.

Preliminary conclusion

Sonic is back in a very classic way. The gameplay is what you know from back in the day and the couch co-op is also something that gives you nostalgic feelings. So while the old school feeling is well in it, the game has a pretty modern undertone: graphically it is beautiful and polished, the levels are original and complex, and the characters look good. Moreover, the gameplay is responsive. Sonic Superstars is something the true Sonic fan will be blazingly excited about. We’re just a little curious as to how the full co-op will come into its own. Sometimes it can get rather chaotic, although this can also make for some fun, corny moments. The game will be released on Oct. 17 for PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC.


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