After a lengthy delay, Team Sonic Racing has crossed the finish line on PlayStation 4, and it's a fun kart racer you can enjoy with your pals, whether you're cooperating or not. The emphasis here is on working together, and that brings with it a whole new set of rules and gameplay features. If you're brand new to Team Sonic Racing, this guide will help you get to grips with the basics of the game to help you get ahead of the pack.
Team Sonic Racing - general information for new players
Below, we'll go through some of the fundamentals of Team Sonic Racing.
Team Sonic Racing controls more or less how you'd expect, but with the co-op mechanics in play, there's a little more to think about. Here's the default controls for the game:
|Button / Input
|Perform tricks (in mid-air)
|Brake / drift
|Use Team Ultimate
|Offer or request item box
|Use item (Horn if you have no item)
Drifting is part of what makes a kart racer a kart racer, and each one does things slightly differently. In Team Sonic Racing, you initiate a drift with L2, and you'll drift in the direction you push on the left stick. The important thing to remember is that you can keep a single drift going even when you change direction. If you want to start drifting the other way, hold the left stick in the opposite direction, briefly let go of L2, and then hold it again. Your drift will be counted as one continuous slide rather than two.
You'll want to utilise this, as the longer you drift, the stronger your boost will be when you come out of it. There are three stages of boost from drifting, indicated by the colour of the exhaust flames. See if you can drift around a whole lap!
How to boost at the start of a race
Boost starts are also part of a kart racer's bread and butter, and again, each one has its own method. If you want to boost off the starting line, here's what you do in Team Sonic Racing. After the "Get Ready" prompt, the game will count down - 3, 2, 1, Go. On each number, press R2. If you're successful, you'll build up to the maximum level of boost and get a strong start out of the grid. It requires some good timing, but it's relatively lenient.
All characters and their types
There are 15 characters to play as in Team Sonic Racing, and they're divided into three types.
These characters are generally the fastest in the game, but usually have lower defense, meaning they stay spun out for longer when hit. Their special ability is a radial wave that emanates from their kart when they exit a drift. This wave doesn't last long, but if you time it correctly, it can cancel out incoming projectiles.
All Speed-type characters
- Metal Sonic
Technique characters tend to have the best handling, but aren't as speedy. However, they have an advantage over other racers; they can drive directly over terrain that would normally reduce speed, and it won't affect them. This allows them to cut a fair amount of corners.
All Technique-type characters
- Dr. Eggman
This group of racers have the strongest defense and most effective boost, but tend to have slow acceleration and less responsive handling. They make up for their less tight controls by being able to smash through obstacles that would normally spin out other drivers. In fact, they even earn some coins for doing so.
All Power-type characters
Wisps are the weapons and other pick-ups you'll use throughout each race. A lot of them are direct equivalents to pick-ups in other kart racers, but there are some fun additions.
- White Boost: This one is self-explanatory -- a burst of speed
- Orange Rocket: A simple projectile that can be fired forward or backward
- Crimson Eagle: A homing version of the rocket that aims for the nearest enemy
- Blue Cube: A large block than can either be left behind or thrown a short distance ahead of you
- Black Bomb: This bomb item can either be set down behind you or thrown ahead
- Cyan Laser: A constant beam attack. Hold it over an opponent for a second and they'll spin out
- Green Ghost: Makes you invulnerable for a short time and might steal a Wisp item from another racer
- Yellow Drill: This turns you into a drill that automatically guides you further along the track at high speed
- Red Burst: This item leaves a trail of fire behind your kart
- Pink Spikes: Surrounds your car with spikes that hit other cars when they're close
- Violet Void: An item that lets you draw in rings, item boxes, and even other racers
- Ivory Lightning: Electrocutes all enemy racers
- Magenta Rhythm: Makes large musical notes appear onscreen, disrupting visibility
- Grey Quake: This Wisp makes pillars of stone erupt from the ground in front of the racer in first place
As you'd expect, which Wisps you collect will depend on where you are in the pack. The Yellow Drill will appear for those at the back, while those near the front will get defensive items like the Blue Cube.
You can't have a Sonic game without rings. The tracks in Team Sonic Racing are of course littered with the things, but their function isn't immediately clear. Rings in this game serve two functions. The first is that they count towards your final score; the more rings you have when you cross the line, the more points you'll earn for your team. Secondly, rings will slightly increase your top speed, depending on how many you've collected.
Credits and Mod Pods
At the end of each race or event, you'll earn credits based on your performance. Credits are used to buy Mod Pods, which you'll find on the main menu Mod Pods are how you unlock various things in the game, mainly customisation parts for vehicles. Each Mod Pod costs 10 credits, and after a few races, you'll have plenty to spend. Mod Pods are somewhat randomised, but from our experience, it seems to prioritise characters you've been using the most, letting you customise your favourites first. In addition to parts, paints, and horns, you'll also unlock Bonus Boxes.
This is a system you can utilise as you select your character before a race. When choosing your racer, you'll see "Select Bonus Box" at the bottom of the screen. Press triangle and you'll be taken to a new menu, where you can equip one of these Bonus Boxes. Unlocked randomly via Mod Pods, they provide you with various advantages at the start of the race. There are lots of them, but most of them relate to Wisps; you can start the race with an Orange Rocket, for example, or a White Boost.
Some are more interesting, providing passive buffs for the duration of the race. For example, you can increase the speed at which boost accumulates while drifting, or give you and your teammates a longer lasting Team Ultimate. Bonus Boxes aren't necessary for victory, but they do give you a slight edge, so make sure you use them.
Co-op Features - how to race as a team
Team Sonic Racing's big selling point is the idea of racing together. Team races split 12 competitors into four teams of three, necessitating teamwork to win. Here's a breakdown of how it works and what you can do to work together.
At the end of a race, each participant will earn some points based on their position. Obviously, the higher up the table you are, the more points you'll get. The thing is, in team races, your points are tallied up with those of your teammates. So, if you earn 15 points and your pals get 5 and 7, your total will be 27, and it's this figure that decides the victor.
The person on your team who's furthest ahead will leave a yellow trail behind them. Teammates can drive within this slipstream -- doing so will make them go a little faster, but it'll also charge up a slingshot boost. To use this burst of speed, steer out of the yellow trail. It catapults you forward.
This technique is a big part of the minute to minute action in Team Sonic Racing. If you're struggling to catch up, look for the literal golden path to help you get back in the mix. If you're leading your team, try to steer an easy path for your buddies to follow.
Skim boosting in Team Sonic Racing is harder to pull off, but it's very useful. Say you're hit by a rocket, and you've slowed right down. If a teammate then drives close enough next to you, they'll give you a skim boost, immediately bringing you back up to speed.
Look out for teammates who are driving slowly or who have spun out. There will be some yellow lines outlining their kart. If you pass within these, you can provide a skim boost. It's not always easy to see this opportunity, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled. One easier way of skim boosting is to drive past your teammate right as you use a slingshot boost from their trail.
You can send and receive item boxes from your teammates. If you have a Wisp, pressing circle will offer it to both of your allies. If they accept it, you'll send it over, and it doesn't matter how far apart you are. Equally, you can ask for items if you need one. Press circle when you have no item, and you'll send out a request. Your friends can then choose to send you their current item. Share and share alike.
Rival Team Takedowns
Your rival team is the team directly ahead of you in the standings. This is indicated on the left-hand side of the screen, and rival team members are outlined in red. If you manage to take them out during a race, it'll contribute to your Team Ultimate meter.
In fact, any of the above moves will fill up your Team Ultimate bar, located behind your car. Any team techniques will build up the meters of the whole team. Once it's full, you'll see a prompt to press triangle. You can press it whenever you like, and it'll give you a limited time invincibility and speed boost. However, if you coordinate your Team Ultimate with your teammates, the effects will be stronger and last longer.
How are you getting on with Team Sonic Racing so far? Are you enjoying the co-op kart racing? Work together in the comments below.