Couch Soup Previews: Sonic Superstars – A Stunning Blend of Classic and Modern Sonic Awaits!

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| October 16, 2023

Sonic games have been hit-or-miss over the years. For every masterpiece like Sonic Heroes, there’s a less-than-great game such as Sonic Forces. These inconsistent releases have made many Sonic fans (myself included) sceptical whenever a new game is announced. This cycle started again for me when the announcement for Sonic Superstars  hit this year. My initial excitement for the game led to the question; what if it sucks? Even with all the trailers, I needed to get hands-on with the game to ease my worries. Luckily, Sonic Superstars was playable at PAX Aus 2023, and even luckier, I got to play it.

Endless Possibility

Sonic is running through a grassy stage. The platforms are suspended in the air and the ocean can be seen in the background.
Running around at the speed of sound. (SEGA)

Let’s start with the most essential part of any game: the gameplay. During my demo, I had access to two stages, each with two acts (classic Sonic structure). I chose to play as Sonic and jumped into the demo, and I was not ready for the speed. I could pick up momentum at any point during the level quickly. From the classic spin-dash, the drop-dash, and even a mountain of springs and boost pads. This felt like the classic 2D Sonic games ramped up to 11. Sonic was responsive, and the jumping was surprisingly precise. The level design was also on point, as my friends and I took completely different paths through the same stage, which means that this game will have excellent replay value. You’ll be able to discover new ways through stages even on your 10th time through. An example being my friends going through a cave with falling rocks and spike traps while I picked up enough speed to stay in the air for most of the stage.

Sonic Superstars features four playable characters. You can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. I only got the chance to play as Sonic and Knuckles,  with each playstyle totally different from the other. While Sonic was speeding through the stage, Knuckles was gliding and climbing his way through obstacles. I can only imagine the replay value with all four characters, and I’ll definitely be playing through the game more than once. This game also introduces Chaos powers, obtained when you collect a Chaos Emerald. The minigame to get the Emeralds is a little different this time around as you swing from point to point to catch the emerald (you’re basically Spider-Man). The Emeralds unlock unique powers, and during the demo, Sonic could transform into water,  climbing up waterfalls, and Knuckles could send clones of himself forward to destroy enemies. These new powers open up so many possibilities, and I can’t wait to try them all.

His World

Amy, Tails, Sonic, and Knuckles are facing a giant robot created by Dr Eggman. The sky behind them is dark. The robot is a a floating head with two massive spike arms.
That’s a safety hazard Doctor. (SEGA)

Besides the super fun gameplay, the other thing that grabbed my attention was how beautiful this game is. The stages are so vibrant and varied, and I only played through two zones! Nothing looks half-baked, and it provides excellent backgrounds when you’re speeding through the stage. The special stages also look trippy in the best kind of way. It reminded me of the special stages from Sonic 2, just without the finicky half-pipe. Being able to swing around like Spider-Man is easy, and having a 2D game incorporate 3D sections is neat.

The stages aren’t the only good-looking parts of Sonic Superstars; the character models are drop-dead gorgeous. Sonic Team have combined the classic designs of these characters with this new art style, and the results are excellent. Trailers and images don’t do these characters justice; they’re beautiful in game. Each character pops on the screen and is easy to follow, even when going super-fast. Giving these classic designs a well-deserved face-lift is one of the things I loved about my time with Sonic Superstars, and I can’t wait to spend even more time with these colourful characters.

Reach for the Stars

Sonic is in a purple space with ring grapple points all around. Energy spikes are around the screen and a shiny object can be seen in the distance.
Forget Spider-Man. We got Spider-Sonic. (SEGA)

Overall, I had a blast with Sonic Superstars. The gameplay, characters, and level design are just so much fun. From the moment my demo started to the moment it ended, I had a smile on my face. The levels I played through were excellent, and the gameplay was fast and responsive. I even enjoyed the special stages for the first time since Sonic Heroes. The new Chaos powers are a fantastic addition and allow for way more creativity in approaching each stage. Throw in the four-player co-op, and I think Sonic Superstars might end up being one of the best 2D Sonic games ever. I only wish my demo was longer than 15 minutes because I could play this game for hours.

Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are in ready positions. Torches are behind them alongside some trees. The sky is dark and ominous.
The real power of teamwork. (SEGA)

You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on Sonic Superstars. The game launches on all platforms on October 17th. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for everything Sonic Superstars and more game previews from PAX Aus 2023.

Editors Note: Having also had the opportunity to check out Sonic Superstars, I had to throw in my two cents. I also had a great time with Sonic, and the entire demo, I had a huge smile on my face. I was head nodding along to the music and wished I could have played more. However, I’m not entirely sold on the new chaos powers. They’re nice and impressive, but whether I’ll end up using them often in the game remains to be seen. – Rohan

Are you going to pick up Sonic Superstars? Which character will you choose? Will it be the best 2D Sonic game? Let us know in the comments where we can discuss all things Sonic the Hedgehog.

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