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Review: Sonic Superstars, innovative gameplay for the classic platform formula

Overall, Sonic Superstars presents a wonderful classic platform gameplay experience with new power-ups. (Sonic)
Overall, Sonic Superstars presents a wonderful classic platform gameplay experience with new power-ups. (Sonic)
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28 Nov 2023 03:11:21 GMT9
28 Nov 2023 03:11:21 GMT9

Amin Abbas

DUBAI: The first “Sonic the Hedgehog” game was released in 1991 on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive and became one of the most iconic video game characters ever. Since then, the Blue Hedgehog has seen multiple games through the years with different gameplay mechanics, graphics, and stories, some of which were good and memorable and others that were not well received and were forgettable.

Sonic Superstars brings back the original platform gameplay, with the game world being in 2.5D environments with a simple 2D gameplay system based on using a single button for jumping, rolling, climbing, and hitting enemies. The game marks the return of co-creator Naoto Ohshima’s contribution to a Sonic game since Sonic Adventure (1998).

The story takes place on the North Star Islands, an uncharted, wondrous archipelago known for its giant fauna. The notorious Dr. Eggman comes to these islands to turn these massive animals into Badniks and steal the Chaos Emeralds to conquer the world. To aid him in his operations, he hires the mischievous mercenary Fang the Hunter. At one point, Fang comes across a native of the archipelago, Trip, an armored, mysterious girl who is enlisted by the villains to protect and guide them in the islands’ hostile environment. Having learned of Eggman’s actions, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy join forces and travel to the North Star Islands to take the villain down.

One of the main features of the game is the introduction of the power-ups, where players can use the Chaos Emeralds (which can be obtained through completing special stages) to grant special powers such as summoning an army of clones and wiping out everything on the screen, highlighting hidden platforms, transforming the character into a projectile, and others, for a total of seven, one of which is exclusive to each character.

There are four initial player characters, each with their own unique abilities: Sonic the Hedgehog can roll into a dash after a jump; Miles “Tails” Power can fly; Knuckles the Echidna can glide and climb; and Amy Rose can attack enemies with a hammer and double jump. Players unlock an additional character, Trip the Sungazer, by completing the main campaign once; her moveset combines Amy’s double jump with Knuckles’ climbing.

The North Star Islands comprise 12 zones, which house 26 levels, also known as acts, where some of them are considered the best levels in the franchise history in terms of the designs. The number of acts in a zone varies between one, two, and three. Each contains elements such as springs, vertical loops, collectible rings that serve as health, and shield power-ups.

Some zones feature unique elements, such as a jungle with vines the player can grind on and a futuristic zone where they transform into a voxel creature, and some feature acts exclusive to the selected character. Each act ends with a boss that the player must defeat while dodging attacks.

In between levels, the players explore a 2D hub world where they can select a zone and change or customize their character. The campaign takes four hours to complete as a single character and about 15 hours for every character. Unlike previous 2D Sonic games, Superstars does not feature lives, so the players will never receive a game over.

The main campaign supports local multiplayer for up to four players who can join or leave at any time—a first for the series. The game has a multiplayer mode called Battle Mode, taking place in a secret lab owned by Dr. Eggman, where players control customizable robot characters called “Metal Fighters” and compete against each other in several mini-games.

The game features wonderful music scores for the stages that are being made to resemble the ‘classic Sonic vibe’ from the original 2D Sonic titles.

Overall, Sonic Superstars presents a wonderful classic platform gameplay experience with new power-ups, attractive graphics, and amazing music that will be a lot of fun for fans of the blue hedgehog.

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