Box art - Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing Differences

Team Sonic Racing is out now and another entry in Sega’s racing series, but how does it stack up to the previous Sonic the Hedgehog kart racer, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed? They’re by the same developer, Sumo Digital, so there are bound to be similarities, but how about improvements too in the five years since Transformed? We’ve played both games, and we’re checking out all the differences between Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing, and how much of a difference they actually make to the new game.

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing | Game presentation

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the way that both Team Sonic Racing and All-Stars are presented are quite similar. Even the menus look pretty identical, right down to the icons representing the players with gamepads connected in the bottom bar. The options are much the same, with a choice between a story-based single-player adventure mode, local play for offline races, and online racing.

The campaign’s design is actually completely identical between games, with multiple paths that you unlock through racing, and optional directions with special challenges. Race especially well and you unlock keys to go down different paths, but you have to have a certain number of stars to progress. The only real difference between the two is that there aren’t any secret characters to unlock in the campaign in Team Sonic Racing.

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing | Car handling and gameplay

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing race

If you’ve played All-Stars Racing, you’ll have no trouble whatsoever in adjusting to the controls of Team Sonic Racing, since they’re essentially the same. Drift round corners on the left trigger, accelerate with the right trigger, and fire weapons with the A button (Xbox) or X (PS4). The cars handle much the same too, with similar stats such as acceleration, speed, and boost. Collect power-ups to use, and then win the race by being better. It’s pretty straightforward.

There is one big difference between the two games, however, and that’s Team Sonic Racing‘s introduction of team play. While you can play the new game with traditional single racers, Sumo Digital has introduced the option to play in teams of three characters, which can completely change a race. As teams, all racers contribute to the final score, but you can swap items between characters, and eventually even pull off an Ultimate special move which can win you the race.

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing | Character roster

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing roster

There are 15 total racers in Team Sonic Racing, divided into five teams of three, with all characters divided into three racing types: Speed, Technique, and Power. All-Stars Racing has no such team system, so it’s a little looser with its racing types, but it’s also far better when it comes to the character roster. Depending on which version you play, and whether you’ve picked up DLC characters like Metal Sonic, there can be anything between 20 and 32 racers on the All-Stars roster. The main reason for this is that the new game only boasts characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, whereas All-Stars has a roster including characters from nearly every major Sega game, and includes non-Sega characters like Wreck-It Ralph and the Team Fortress 2 soldiers.

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing | Race tracks

There are big differences between the race tracks in both games, and how they behave. While there are plenty of similarities, such as different paths, boost pads, secret areas, and the three-lap structure, there are two crucial differences too. For starters, just like the character roster, the tracks in Team Sonic Racing are all based on Zones from the Sonic universe, whereas All-Stars takes inspiration from the entire Sega line-up.

The other big difference is that the tracks in Team Sonic Racing are all resolutely earth-based, with all karts driving around a track. As per the subtitle of the last game in the kart racing series, Transformed, the karts in All-Stars can change between karts, boats, and even planes, and the tracks change to match. One moment you could be flying in the air, hitting circular boost pads, then the next moment you’ll suddenly drop into the water and have to essentially jetski to victory. The races in Team Sonic Racing can get pretty wild, with drops, jumps, and more, but you’ll always be in cars on a track at all times.

Team Sonic Racing vs Sonic All-Stars Racing | Power-ups

Being both kart racing games in the Mario Kart style, it’s not surprising that both All-Stars and Team Sonic Racing have power-ups which players can use to help themselves or hinder their opponents. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that these weapons are completely different between both games. Whereas All-Stars had such quirky items as a blowfish, ice balls, a homing rocket, and a swarm of wasps, Team Sonic Racing uses different types of Wisps instead.

These Wisps include a block obstacle that permanently stays on the road, a boost, a trail of fire, giant pillars blocking the track, musical notes obscuring all opponents’ vision, and more. The only item that crosses over between both games is the homing rocket, and it looks very different as an orange Wisp. Not to mention, the team mechanic in Team Sonic Racing adds a new quirk to these power-ups. Not only can you swap items between team members, at will, but if you do so they get a stronger version of that item, so a rocket can be turned into three at once. It’s potentially quite devastating, and just one more example of the changes between the two titles.