Of course, it would be simple enough to just take the original Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, add a few new tracks and gimmicks and release it for mass profit, but herein lies the challenge. Sumo has gone totally ballistic on overhauling almost every single element of the game. Weapons balancing, track variation, online multiplayer, even the XP system. The works.
For a start, the main menu is much easier to navigate, and a character’s statistics are much more noticeable when in the selection screen. The different capabilities of Sonic, Tails, BD Joe, Amigo, AiAi and co also make a greater - although still subtle - impact on your gameplay on the track.
There are less Sonic characters here, and more legends from the deep well of forgotten SEGA heroes. On top of returning characters such as Beat, Knuckles and Shadow, Transformed adds Golden Axe dwarfman Gilius Thunderhead, NiGHTS and Reala (from NiGHTS into Dreams...) and ace Shinobi Joe Musashi.
The latter in particular was a fantastic experience with both land and air vehicles being deployed throughout each lap. The track would start on an aircraft carrier, avoiding stationary planes, before taking to the skies and dodging gunfire - both from enemy AfterBurner planes and your rival racers. As with all tracks, the course would change dynamically every lap: a pretty fresh twist that works really well without any performance issues.
Weapons have been given a switchover as well, to make the game a bit more balanced. Case in point in regards to listening to player feedback - the new Twister power up. It’s a revamped ‘Rainbow’ attack, which originally sent the screen upside down and distorted the screen with multiple colours. This time when hit, your car gets flipped backwards and your controls are reversed for a brief period of time.
I had a sit-down with the Wii U version as well - which launches alongside the console on November 30 - and it has improved a lot since I last saw it. Using the GamePad tablet controller felt natural, and the triggers were really responsive for drifting around corners. The touch screen is used as a map of the current track, along with times and positions with opponents.
Transformed could very well be the game that knocks Mario Kart off of its perch as the multiplayer racing game of choice. It will certainly please Nintendo fans this Christmas, at the very least. It’s looking like the perfect sequel - roll on November!
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Great preview. The game is getting more and more excellent previews. The amount of detail in the maps is impressive with some always changing. Surely this game will be way ahead of the recent Mario Kart games. I hope it is and can't wait to get it!