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Team Sonic Racing Xbox One review: Mario Kart-style racing that doesn't quite stack up

Good... but really not great.

Team Sonic Racing is a Mario Kart-like game that features fast-paced competitive matches. Your goal is to work together with your squad to be the first ones across the finish line. You have to share power-ups and speed boosts – and trigger ultimate abilities – to knock your opponents off the tracks. There's a strong focus on cooperation, but unfortunately, it's muddled by confusing mechanics.

Team Sonic Racing gameplay and modes

Team Sonic Racing features a lot of depth and replayability. There are a couple of different character types to choose that offer their own benefits. The crux of the gameplay revolves around unlocking vehicle customizations to change the way you race. It's definitely an addictive gameplay loop, but it doesn't do much to elevate the experience as a whole.

Just like any racing game available on Xbox One, Team Sonic Racing features a variety of modes. There's a single-player campaign that requires you to stop Doctor Eggman, as well as online multiplayer to challenge your friends. While both are competent and enjoyable, they don't stand out due to the banal story and confusing gameplay.

Related: Best Xbox One Racing Games in 2019

Team Sonic Racing campaign

Team Sonic Racing's campaign consists of a variety of levels, and they're visually spectacular, but the plot is painfully shallow and unnecessary. Doctor Eggman appears in a rather poor disguise and tries to trick you into helping him. In many ways, the game would've been better had it just featured a list of levels to play through.

Racing around tracks is easy, but when it comes time to use your power-ups, you'll be at a loss. It's unclear what many of them do, and usually driving cleanly and running over all the "speed boost markets" will place you ahead of everyone else. If I did fall behind, using the power-ups wasn't helpful at all. It was better to just focus on how I was driving and try to take shortcuts where I would find them. In a game that prides itself on "sharing power-ups," this is a notable flaw.

Team Sonic Racing visuals

Team Sonic Racing is Xbox One X Enhanced and looks great in motion. It features high-resolution textures with great lighting. The visuals may not render at native 4K resolution, but they're definitely close when you're on the tracks. Unfortunately, everything else is quite muddy.

For example, during the campaign there are static cutscenes. These aren't as high-resolution as the rest of the game and this can be quite jarring. The uneven attention to detail harms the experience in my opinion. The cutscenes and menus should've been upgraded like the rest of the game. Why the developer chose to ignore this is confounding.

Team Sonic Racing final thoughts

Overall, Team Sonic Racing is a good game with good handling, but its biggest problem is that it lacks the charm and polish of competing titles like Mario Kart 8. With Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled right around the corner, Team Sonic Racing needed to stand out. It doesn't.

However, it mostly ends up being a satisfactory experience. If you love Mario Kart 8 and want something on Xbox One, Team Sonic Racing should satisfy you in the interim. However, I personally would wait for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.

Excellent and affordable Xbox accessories

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Controller Gear stand (opens in new tab) ($13 at Amazon)

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Asher reviewed Sonic Team Racing on an Xbox One X with a copy provided by with publisher.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

3 Comments
  • Seriously? No gameplay footage on a video game review?
  • Disappointing review. To be quite frank, many points in this article strike me as the reviewer not giving the game more than an hour of their time, which isn't even enough to get the hang of Mario Kart as a first-timer. Without spoiling details, the story mode isn't "Eggman in disguise" as you see him multiple times in the game; not that story is exceptional by any means, but it shows the reviewer maybe played one or two missions before calling it quits. The items are fairly straightforward and there's an entire tips section dedicated to assisting the player. Not only that, but there's quite a lot of nuance in how they're used. Handling is a little heavier than Mario Kart, but that's not to the game's detriment, as it still gives the player a lot of control and a great feeling of speed. Each racing game has its own sense of handling, and unless the handling either doesn't work or babies the player, it's just a different flavor. Given the game came out last week, I can't say the reviewer was in a rush to put out the review, so I can't find a good reason for why they'd put this review out without more than an hour or two of playtime.
  • @justwatchthis
    Thank you for the post. I was sceptical about the review when the guy talked about how confused he was with gameplay. Thanks for confirming my doubts that there was probably not a lot of work that went into this review.