So good I played it twice – Why Sonic Superstars wins best in show at gamescom
Sonic Superstars turned heads when it was announced earlier this year, combining classic Sonic the Hedgehog platforming action with a luscious modern art style. Of course, with a series that has been wildly inconsistent since the 16-bit era, flashy visuals are no guarantee that a new Sonic the Hedgehog game will deliver in the gameplay department. Fortunately, any lingering doubts that Sonic Superstars wouldn’t deliver where it counts were instantly dispelled when I went hands on with the upcoming platformer at gamescom. Indeed, it was so good that I played it twice. Here’s why Sonic Superstars was my favourite new title at gamescom.
Two different zones are playable at gamescom, both made up of two stages that culminate in a boss battle.
Bridge Island is your classic Green Hill style opening stage, featuring sunshine, rainbows and blue skies.
The first thing you notice are the gorgeous visuals, which are so bright and colourful that SEGA should give away a pair of sunglasses with every copy.
Even better, however, is how good it all feels. On a scale of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 to Sonic Mania, Superstars is thankfully much closer to the latter than the former.
The controls are incredibly tight, the action is blisteringly fast and it runs as smooth as freshly churned butter.
Speed Jungle is even better looking, not to mention more complex. You can swing on vines to reach higher platforms, flip between the foreground and background and battle mini bosses by spin dashing up its tentacles.
Sonic Superstars’ new power ups were perhaps the only thing that didn’t really click during the gamescom demo.
Sonic and friends can unlock new powers as the game progresses, including the ability to summon a wave of clones to attack enemies and destroy obstacles, as well as a water-based ability to climb waterfalls and access new areas.
While the new abilities are intriguing and are likely key to unlocking many of the game’s secrets, they didn’t feel immediately useful or particularly intuitive during the demo.
Indeed, when you’re whizzing along at 100mph, doing loops and jumping on enemies, hitting the power-up button isn’t something you’ll naturally gravitate to.
Hopefully we’ll find a better use for them when the game launches in October.
Either way, it’s a brilliant demo with some awesome platforming action and lots of secrets to discover. It feels like Sonic of old, but looks fresh and shiny like the games of today.
Sonic Superstars has an October 17 release date on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
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