Release Date: October 17, 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Platform game
Developers: Arzest, Sega, Sonic Team
Mode: Multiplayer video game
Composer: Jun Senoue
Publishers: Sega, SEGA of America
"Review Copy Provided By Sega of America"
A Rollercoaster Ride through Memory Lane and Beyond!
Listen, if you'd leaned in one day, with that nostalgic twinkle of the arcade era in your eyes, and told me that our beloved gaming titans, Mario and Sonic, would be dropping hot new platformers within a week of each other, I'd have wondered if you were sipping some of that 90's "surge" soda. And had you claimed that Sega’s “Sonic Superstars” would be a contender for Sonic's hall of fame? I’d have asked if we were trapped in a retro video rental store fever dream. Well, folks, buckle up those Sega Genesis cartridge belts because "Sonic Superstars" has landed with all the flair of an 80s rock ballad. The game is a harmonious fusion of that delicious 2D Sonic we cherished (with a high-five to Sonic Mania’s classic physics) with a dash of 21st-century panache. It's like taking a vinyl record and giving it a digital remix, and Arzest truly nailed this remix, pushing Sonic back into the limelight where he belongs.
The narrative? As breezy as Sonic’s vintage escapades. We've got the legendary Dr. Eggman causing mischief and cameos from beloved characters like Fang the Hunter. But hold the rotary phone: Enter Trip! Initially, she feels like a newbie trying to groove to a retro beat, but before you know it, she's dancing in sync, courtesy of the genius touch of Naoto Ohshima.
At first play, "Superstars" feels like revisiting your favorite childhood arcade—familiar and comforting. The starter stage, Bridge Island, brings back the vibes of the Green Hill Zone. But just as you're settling into that nostalgic groove, the game throws in delightful curveballs. And oh boy, zones like Cyber Station? It's like walking into a neon-lit 90s arcade all over again! You get to play as the classic fab four: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. Whether you’re an OG player holding that joystick or a touchscreen maestro, there's a character with the right rhythm for you. Emerald Powers, the game's flashy addition, feels like snagging those hidden tapes in old-school platformers. These bonuses are strategic and give players that slight edge, but their usage is like mastering a cheat code—helpful, but not a must-have.
Let's talk co-op mode. Remember those days when you'd share the joystick with a buddy, trying not to fumble? The co-op here is reminiscent, and not always in a good way. Camera focus can be as unpredictable as a game of Pong, making the experience occasionally jarring. Come on, Arzest, split-screen would have been the cherry on this retro sundae! Going solo? Prepare for a ride that's as thrilling as unlocking a hidden level. Side missions include a slightly barebones Battle Mode and the no-nonsense Time Attack Mode. Although Battle Mode feels like it's still buffering, the main campaign is as crisp as a freshly printed gaming magazine.
One more delightful touch? Pimping out your online avatar. It's like collecting those rare trading cards all over again. You've got classic character nods and fun cosmetics to jazz up your online presence.
On the Switch, "Superstars" dazzles. Although there are differences in resolution and lighting effects, the game pays homage to the classic Sonic aesthetic while pushing boundaries. Performance is as smooth as blowing on that cartridge to make it work—mostly seamless. Online Battle Mode has some buffering issues, but hey, remember dial-up?
Wrapping everything up; Sonic Superstars is like opening a time capsule from your gaming youth while being pleasantly surprised with modern-day treasures. It may have a few wires crossed in places, but it hits the right notes, capturing both nostalgia and innovation. Sonic's legacy is alive and kicking, and for fans old and new, this is a nostalgic neon sign pointing to more epic adventures ahead! Grab your quarters, and let's play!