Admittedly, an oddball in my Steam game library, one filled with gory shooters, slaughterfests, and other such M-rated material, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is like the stray hippie amongst a population consisting of shizophrenic sociopaths! If you don't like long reviews, just skip to the last paragraph, where I summarize everything!
I quite honestly don't remember just how exactly this game ended up in my library, but I recently decided to play it anyway. Because while I may have many games I still need to play out of my library, I've been desiring a decent racing game for quite some time. Did I expect this game to actually fulfill that desire by being anything close to what could be considered a quality racing game that brought me some great amount of entertainment? Honestly, no, I did not.
But alas, I was surprised! What I expected to be nothing more than a dumbed down racing experience with unbalanced items and cheesy banter between characters that would make me want to turn this into one of those M-rated shooters I own so that I may claim unsavory vengeance upon them for their horrible forced personalities, turned out to actually be one of the few good racing games I've seen on Steam!
How is it good? Well, allow me to explain! Wait... Oh, right, that's what reviews are about... Um... Moving on!
From the screenshots, and the involvement of Sonic and co, in a bright and cheerful-looking environment, one may be brought to the understandable conclusion that this game would only be enjoyable if you were young, or the stereotypical "hardcore" 50-year old Sonic Fan with no friends, who yells "You're too slow!" at every car he drives by on his way to his minimum wage job at the local McDonald's. You would be wrong.
Amazingly enough, this game is actually enjoyable regardless of age, and you really don't have to be a fan of Sonic at all to enjoy the gameplay. I'd recommend this game regardless of the age of the player, as it's obviously safe for young kids to play, but definitely offers an enjoyable experience for older players as well (For reference, I'm almost 19).
Is it for the "filthy casuals"? No, not at all! While a casual could definitely get into the game on the lower difficulties that take nearly no skill whatsoever, a pro gamer could easily find a good challenge on the hard, and expert difficulties!
My only complaint would be how few tracks there are. A total of 16 new tracks, with an additional 4 classic tracks, plus mirrored versions of all the tracks, and +1 new track with a mirrored version if you get the DLC. Thankfully, the game offers a variety of modes to make this small number of tracks less bothersome. Nonetheless, it is a small amount, and new DLCs with additional tracks are unlikely.
Speaking of the DLC, it's not bad, but I certainly wish it offered more than just one single new track. A full circuit of four new tracks would certainly be more appealing. The DLC track isn't really worth it in all honesty, since it's not nearly as interesting as the tracks originally in the game, and there's also a few bugs in it that can be accidentally triggered from time to time (nothing too frequent, so don't worry). Buy it if you really
want a new character, and desperately want an extra track. Otherwise, skip it.
So, in summary, a great game for all ages (children or adults), and offers a challenge for both casuals and hardcore gamers, providing a small number of tracks, but a fair number of characters, and overall one of the few good
racing games on Steam right now.