I’m not the biggest Sonic fan. The blue blur has never really felt quite right to me; however, Sonic Superstars is a fresh take on the 2D Sonic games we remember from our youth. During Summer Game Fest I went hands-on with the newly announced title and played two stages. I walked away pleasantly surprised by the blend of old style with new graphics and ways to interact.
Sonic Superstars Is A Fresh Take on a Classic Style | Summer Game Fest Hands-On Impressions
Sonic Superstars allows you to play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy as they try to thwart Dr. Eggman and Fang the Sniper AKA Nack The Weasel. While the demo did not go into any story details, both of these antagonists showed up to try and annoy our favorite blue blur as he’s trying his god damn best to get to the end of these death trap levels.
Superstars thrives on its new Chaos Emerald mechanic allowing players to use new abilities like surfing up a waterfall in style or sending a clone armor to clear out enemies on the screen.
Spin dash as Sonic, glide as Knuckles, and even fly as Tails through reimagined and new levels featuring all of that 2D Soinc goodness y’all love so much.
During my demo I saw other characters like Tails and Amy completing tasks or just chilling in the background of stages. It made it feel like the team was all completing missions together and working as a team, as opposed to just one of them doing a task and then bouncing.
Each stage culminating in a boss fight. The two I saw featured a classic Dr. Eggman robot contraption that was split in two phases, but the second boss in the jungle was the standout. Having to dodge homing robot arms and build platforms to use the robots on arms against was a refreshing change of pace from the simplicity of bopping an enemy on their silly little head.
As with most preview builds, the game had some small frame drops and slowdown, but nothing that really impacted the speed of which Superstars moves at. The Jungle level specifically had me grinding on interwoven vines, jumping from plants to thrust myself upward to new heights, and even collecting glowing butterflies to light up dark areas.
As with classic 2D Sonic games, there are multiple routes through levels and you’ll often miss most of what you’re looking at on your first go through. replaying the stages as each of the different characters changes how you interact with the level, and the path you’ll take to the end.
Some of the controls can feel a bit floaty at times, and I had trouble making some easy jumps. This was mitigate by using Knuckles glide, but the platforming doesn’t always feel crisp and can sometimes kill your momentum.
After Sonic Mania, fans have been clamoring for a new 2D Sonic game, and it’s nice to see Arzest heading up the effort. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a Sonic fan after all.
Sonic Superstars releases on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and the Nintendo Switch this fall.