You wait four or so years for a great Mario Kart clone on your platform of choice and then two come along at once.
Modnation Racers looks to have all the makings of a great kart racer, and then some; though we are concerned with the some of the performance issues that were apparent in the beta. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a little less ambitious — this is purely Mario Kart with Sonic characters. And from what we've played, it feels fantastic.
Coming from Sumo Digital - the team behind the excellent Outrun ports - we expected nothing less than a stellar racing experience. And it's true that Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing just feels right. There's a good sense of speed, some excellent track design, and a solid framerate. As you rush through the game's SEGA inspired tracks, you do get a sense that everything's been crafted with a loving hand. The game oozes SEGA, and in many ways is exactly what SEGA Superstars Tennis should have been.
Sadly, our short time with the game has led us to a few problems, namely the AI, which feels incredibley elastic. Sure, that's a staple of the Mario Kart franchise, but it's not a good one, and something seems incredibley unfair about Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. If you're on the home-straight, "miles" in the lead and end up fourth due to one small error, something's not quite right. And with the game a week away, we're worried it's not going to get fixed.
Which would be a crying shame because Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing looks to be the perfect homage of SEGA's rich history in an attractive kart-racing shell.
Sometimes you just want something fun, and so long as the AI doesn't end up frustrating, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing could be a fantastic stop-gap between more "serious" releases.