Sonic Superstars once again welcomes our beloved SEGA character, Sonic, back into the gaming scene. The iconic blue hedgehog makes his latest appearance in an all-new 2D, side-scrolling platform game, following the successful launches of Sonic Mania and Sonic Frontiers. With Sonic's recent successful performances, Superstars has managed to maintain the momentum - despite substantial room for improvement.
The magnetic charm of Sonic Superstars lies in its blending of tradition with novelty. The creators have breathed fresh life into the timeless, momentum-based gameplay mechanics, pairing it with a vibrant new art style. The incorporations of 3D models and attractive, colourful environments complement Sonic's movements, delivering a refreshing dimension to the game. The display quality is impeccable, providing clear images that run seamlessly at an impressive 60 frames per second on PS5.
The main story of Sonic Superstars is designed for solo play and co-op with up to three other players. From the perspective of a solitary player, Superstars can be deemed as a delightful Sonic game. Each in-game zone has been thoughtfully crafted. While some may find the theming across the zones familiar, the designers have managed to infuse new elements into the classic format, cleverly utilizing elements from past Sonic games.
Each zone is equipped with unique features that prevent an air of redundancy. Lagoon City, for instance, includes slides from Hydrocity and introduces fresh attributes like jets of water for propulsion through levels, and fountains for bounces. In a similar endeavour to maintain novelty, the structural format of the zones has been tweaked, with each of the 11 zones featuring a combination of one to three acts.
Furthermore, each game level is expansive, offering various alternative paths the players can embark on, depending on their chosen character. Sonic retains his classic abilities alongside the newer drop dash, while Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide and climb walls, and Amy can double jump and attack with her hammer. This variety of abilities among characters encourages replay, adding significantly to the game's overall value.
However, amid all the favourable traits, Sonic Superstars does have a disappointing caveat: the cooperative gameplay. The fast-paced running sequences pose a heavy disadvantage for co-op play, often leading to frequent disparities in player progress. The game also struggles to manage player unity, quickly disrupting gameplay when pathways diverge. Unfortunately, the unique abilities of Sonic and friends, which adds great variety in single-player mode, can cause division and frustration in co-op.
Despite these caveats, Sonic Superstars has managed to keep the audience engaged with entertaining boss encounters and fun distraction battles involving customizable robots. The end-of-act encounters are pleasing, thanks to ingenious concepts like running up the mosquito robot's nose in Speed Jungle, to flipping a clown in Pinball Carnival.
In a nutshell, Sonic Superstars goes beyond existing Sonic games, stocking an array of novel characteristics that deliver a thrilling in-game experience. Although not perfect, Sonic Superstars proves to be a lively addition for kids and adults alike, infusing joy in the hearts of Sonic lovers and gaming enthusiasts worldwide. Despite the co-op mode's drawbacks, there's still a lot to love and explore in this newest Sonic adventure.
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