Sonic Superstars: Sonic 4 everyone

Sonic's new 2D adventure is shaping up surprisingly well

My initial reaction to the trailer was a resounding "no, no, no." Look, I don't hate Sonic 4. I know, I must be pilloried for this, whatever, it was fine. It was... fine, okay? I had fun playing it, both episodes. I enjoy running through it because it's really, really short. Is that so wrong?! The answer is, of course, yes, but that brings me to my point; as much as I liked it, I didn't want any more. And Sonic Superstars' initial trailer depicted a disgusting smorgasbord of grind rails, boost pads and air boosters propelling Sonic and his vomitous friends in straight lines through unbelievably derivative zones. It just... really shouldn't be hard to make a 2D Sonic game look fun to play, should it??

Thankfully, subsequent gameplay footage showcases what appears to be a thoroughly confident and shockingly faithful experience; the game's physics (always the most important part of any 2D Sonic) appear to be a replication of Sonic Mania's beloved Retro Engine, which means that Superstars is, to put it in the most professional possible terms, going to beat the living shit out of the 2D sections in Colours, Generations, Forces. Not to mention Sonic 4... but, you know. I liked all those games at least a little, but watching Superstars makes me go "I want to play this". It looks fun, it looks like a new 2D Sonic but without the tedious nostalgia-pandering that knocked Sonic Mania down a peg for me. There's new stuff here, with the Chaos Emeralds seeming to gift Sonic with new powers, including the ability to climb up waterfalls. Ooh!

The big draw for Sonic Superstars is New Super Mario Bros. U-esque multiplayer, with Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy all charging about the screen. Now quite frankly this looks absolutely intolerable and frankly impossible to handle, but I am fascinated to see exactly how Sonic Team pull this off. Sonic games generally don't have much scope for screwing over your pals, though Sonic Mania made a good stab of it with split-screen. I guess time will tell, which is really annoying because you always have to wait for time. Like, come on, I'm on deadlines here.

The $60 price tag has come under some scrutiny, to which I say; bugger off, 2D games aren't inherently worth less than those with 3D rendered graphics. In fact, that's an absolutely insane thing to think and you should feel complete shame radiating through every one of your arteries if you think something even slightly adjacent to this ludicrous perpective. I bet you thought Super Mario World wasn't worth £5.49 on the eShop either, didn't you? I am disgusted. I am going to be sick. I am going to be sick on you.

Another thing designed to appeal to long-time Sonic freaks is the return of Nack the Weasel. Sorry, I mean Fang the Sniper. They've only gone and "Eggman"'d him! He was called Nack and the fat guy was called Robotnik! Things were better then! There's a brand new character here too, designed by the returning creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, a bizarre little armoured thingummy named "Trip". Hmm, shades of Trip World? But no, apparently the reason is that the character is constantly, um, tripping. Like, falling over, not like downing 2C-B and trying to operate a smart TV to no avail, though it would be funnier if there was a Sonic character on acid. It's all so mad that they may as well have been hallucinating, eh?

Anyroad, Superstars looks like it has a pretty decent chance of being a good time. Naturally I shall review it for you as close to release as I possibly can. And it would feel rather great to get another actually good Sonic game in before I die incredibly young due to my obsession with Chicken Cottage.