Sonic Superstars PS5 Review – A Star That Shines Bright
Sonic The Hedgehog has been a staple in gaming for over 30 years now, and with each new entry to the franchise, I am always keen to play them. There have been many Sonic games since the series’ first entry back in 1991, and while many have been great, there have been a handful of notoriously awful. However, you can rest easy knowing Sonic Superstars stands tall and strong among its peers.
Sonic Superstars feels fantastic, adding new mechanics to the series formula and updating old ones with refreshing ideas. The Sonic Team at Sega has created another hit in the speedster hedgehog series. Whether a Sonic series veteran or a newcomer to the franchise, Sonic Superstars is an incredible entry into the blue blur’s legacy.
“The classic-looking islands of Bridge Island Zone to the glitz and glamor of Pinball Carnival Zone; the levels consumed my attention.
Right off the bat, I would like to address that I could not experience the game in its co-op mode; however, it still greatly shines as a single-player story experience. The way Sonic Superstars plays is incredibly fluid and hectic, a combination that greatly suits the series’ identity. The first aspect I noticed was how intrinsic and stunning the stages are throughout the journey of Sonic and his friends. Team Sonic has always done well with its level designs, and this entry is no different from the classic-looking islands of Bridge Island Zone to the glitz and glamor of Pinball Carnival Zone; the levels consumed my attention. Additionally, every level uses the characters and their specialties in fantastic ways.
Each character is a main protagonist in the game, and who you choose changes how the levels play out. As Sonic, speed is your priority, and reaching the goalpost is done by keeping up the pace. Tails has a flying ability that allowed me to reach higher areas previously unaccessible. There’s also Knuckles who can climb walls, and Amy Rose who has a handy double jump. Each character is a viable option and adds a ton of replay value to the already content rich experience. A fifth character can be unlocked after beating the campaign, but I won’t spoil who that is. The different characters have subtle playstyles and certainly add to the replay value by experiencing the game through the lens of each. However, the campaign isn’t the only mode for players to enjoy, as Sonic Superstars comes packed with even more fun.
The game features two extra modes, Battle Mode and Time Attack, each offering fun experiences. Battle mode allows players to compete with their custom avatars against up to seven other players in fun Sonic-themed mini-games to see who comes out on top after three rounds. The mode can be played by yourself against AI opponents or online with others, offering good replayability after the story. Time Attack gives players looking to brag for speed running rights the opportunity to complete levels as fast as possible and post their scores worldwide.
“Some titles don’t need complex narratives like other triple-A games to be successful, and Sonic Superstars’ narrative is a great example.”
Sonic Superstars features a familiar narrative with a few twists. The story takes players to the Northstar Islands, where Dr. Eggman has concocted a plan to turn the islands into his own Badniks, hoping to steal the Chaos Emeralds. To ensure his plan is successful, he enlists the help of Fang The Hunter and Northstar native Trip. However, Sonic teams up with his friends, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy Rose, to ensure Eggman fails in his goal.
While the story is a familiar and simple trope within the series, I love it. Some titles don’t need complex narratives like other triple-A games to be successful, and Sonic Superstars’ narrative is a great example. The game doesn’t feature voice acting, but the characters’ actions are easy enough to read what is going on with the story. In a time where some games have dark or deep tales, Sonic Superstars gives a simple and fun story that anyone can enjoy.
“What makes the visuals look even better is the use of the game having a 3D look but placed on the 2D aspect.”
Something else that Sonic Team did was create a striking visual and audio experience for players to enjoy. Sonic Superstars returns to the series’ iconic visual identity while ensuring to add a modern twist with its striking use of 2.5D perspective. Additionally, its great use of color, from bright areas like Golden Capital Zone to subtle tones like Special Stages helps make every aspect of the game stand out and incredibly memorable. Bringing the whole package together is the phenomenal music that Sonic Team absolutely knocked out of the park.
As with any other titles in the franchise, the music that can be heard throughout is a key component. Seeing that Tee Lopes was once again doing the soundtrack for the game, I was eager to hear the tunes, and they did not disappoint. Lopes brings the tones back to instrumental music from Sonic’s earlier days, and each level, while different in tone, sounds just as good as every other stage. From fast-paced rhythm to slow, easy-going beats, the music had my head bobbing throughout my playtime, and the soundtrack sits as another great addition to the Sonic music catalog.
“While Sonic Superstars possesses many great qualities, I have one issue with the game: boss fights. In short, they’re not great, and some even feel slightly tedious.”
While Sonic Superstars possesses many great qualities, I have one issue: boss fights. In short, they’re not great, and some feel slightly tedious. Most stages have two acts, with the first act boss serving as more of a mini-boss. However, with each fight, it felt like getting hit and losing all of my rings was inevitable with how the boss was set up. Therefore, each encounter feels like a gamble, especially since the rings serve as your lifeline.
Frustratingly, some even have multiple phases, and losing the fight in any later phase resets to the beginning of the encounter. With some boss fights taking a few minutes to beat, it gets infuriating having to repeatedly redo them. While the boss’ moves are easy to read after some trial and error, the overall clunky design did leave me feeling a little disappointed.
“I can say with the utmost confidence that Sonic Superstars shines in many ways and will stand in the series as a strong title.”
Sonic Superstars has all of the DNA of its older predecessors while adding its charm to it. The game is a welcome addition for Sonic veterans and new players. Adding time attack and battle mode to the existing story adds more replayability. The visual and musical charms amplify the game’s quality and show the work done on the game and the entertainment to get out of playing it. I can say with the utmost confidence that Sonic Superstars shines in many ways and will stand in the series as a strong title. It is a game that any age can play and hopefully can be enjoyed for years. The newest entry will stay in my mind as one of my favorites in the franchise, and I look forward to playing it more.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PS5, code was provided by Sega.
Sonic Superstars Review
Sonic Superstars is a top-tier game in the popular Sega franchise that offers a simple yet fun story with different gameplay variety among characters. Combining great level design with stunning visuals and a well-made soundtrack offers a full Sonic experience. While the boss fights can be tedious and require trial and error, the game's pros easily outweigh the negatives. It is one of the strongest Sonic The Hedgehog games to date and should not be overlooked.