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Sonic Superstars’ Early Reviews Wish It Would Pick Up The Pace

Sonic Superstars has developer Sega journeying all the way back to the beginning of the Sonic franchise, remembering when it was born in 1991 in the 2D tropics. Like nostalgic platformer Sonic Mania did in 2017, Superstars devoutly walks the same path as Sonic the Hedgehog and its early ‘90s sequels. But unlike Mania, it’s the first side-scroller with involvement from the original Sonic Team since Sonic 3 & Knuckles in 1994 (if you don’t count 2022 remaster compilation Sonic Origins). That should make it the perfect bait for forever fans of the world’s only chili dog-chomping hedgehog, but initial reviews of the game—out October 16—suggest that Superstars struggles to reinvent the hamster wheel.

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Pre-order Sonic Superstars: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Sonic Superstars is a reasonable blast to the past

It has sentimentality mastered, though. Kotaku staff writer Kenneth Shepard, in a Summer Game Fest hands-on earlier this year, found that Superstars “feels like it understands the appeal of a 2D Sonic without feeling so strictly beholden by the past that it has to use identical assets or levels to evoke a reaction.” Reviewers agree. Push Square congratulates the game on feeling “great to play, with the characters all behaving just as you’d expect, but the use of 3D models and attractive, colorful environments [giving] it a very fresh look.” In its four (out of five) star review, VGC also commends Superstars’ “dream” visuals and “authentic soundtrack” from Sega composer Jun Senoue.

But siphoning the past only gets Superstars so far, some reviewers say. At IGN, writer Jada Griffin enjoys Superstars’ “incredibly charming” main game modes—a three-story campaign, eight-player battle mode, and timed attack—which “nail the classic aesthetic,” but “have some questionable placements of hazards and enemies.”

“I didn’t feel the speed I’ve come to expect over the past 30 years of Sonic,” Griffin continued, but at least “collecting the [power-giving] Chaos Emeralds is more straightforward than ever this time,” and they newly provide characters with limited skills that restock at checkpoints.

This all lends itself to “a fair amount of replay value,” Push Square said in its review, helped by large, co-op friendly stages and “Sonic [is] as he always is, including the relatively new drop dash, while Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide and climb walls, and Amy can double jump and attack with her hammer.”

But, while “Superstars tries to give proper co-op where all the players are given equal billing,” VG247 writes, “it just doesn’t work.”

“2D Sonic isn’t suited to it,” assistant editor Alex Donaldson continues. “Like the new Emerald powers, going co-op messes with the momentum that makes 2D Sonic what it is.” Still, “While there are some frustrations and an inconsistent air of quality across its 12 zones,” says GamesRadar in its four-out-of-five star review, “it is fundamentally well produced, brimming with things to do and modes to play.”

You can play it when it’s out later this week on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Switch, which is receiving its own 2D side-scroller refresh, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, on October 20.

Pre-order Sonic Superstars: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Until then, here’s what else the Superstars reviews are saying:



The Gamer


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