Sonic Superstars

Posted:  Oct 17, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Cloud Saves

Review

Sonic has been and always will be one of the few classic platformers that have stood the test of time. Even though recent years have been filled with ups and downs, the blue hedgehog has remained prominent in the video game world. Sonic platformers have been a defining staple in the series, so with Sonic Superstars, the bar is set pretty high, especially since the last 2D platformer in the series was Sonic Mania. In most ways, it is a solid entry in the series, but it has some pitfalls that keep it from being amazing.

Sonic Superstars succeeds in its core gameplay, story and time trial modes. With a mix of old and new zones, the tight platforming the series is known for returns and feels fantastic. I love the visual style implemented here, and it makes each of the stages in the world pop and feel very distinct. I also enjoy the special zones, which will see you swinging like Tarzan to reach the emeralds and the powers you get from them. It's cool to summon hundreds of clones to attack enemies or find hidden platforms with extra rings and goodies.

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The multiplayer is quite interesting as well. It feels like a battle royale, going through different mini-games to see who has the highest score at the end. You can also use medals, which you get in every mode, to buy new customization options! It is good fun, though I would argue the camera feels a little bit too far away for my enjoyment. Thankfully, story mode is playable in co-op, too.

While Sonic Superstars succeeds in its content, it starts to trip up with its polish and requirements. There are a couple of bugs here and there, which can be obnoxious, and I can't say I am a fan of the Sky Temple zone. The game also uses Epic Online Services and Denuvo, which feel unnecessary. Denuvo, I can understand. Though it could contribute to some of the stutters I found in-game (more on that below), an Epic Games account is required to play the online mode. As a Steam user, this is a huge pain, but it is especially obnoxious on the Steam Deck.

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Now, is it worth $60? Honestly, that is tough. If you love Sonic, you will find a lot of joy in the parts that make it special; otherwise, this feels lacking in overall content. I would consider justifying $60. I feel $40 is a justified price for what is included, but I don't regret my purchase either. It is still fun, and I enjoy playing it, especially on the Steam Deck.

Sonic Superstars - Steam Deck Performance

Sonic Superstars performs quite well on the Steam Deck, way better than I initially expected. The Deck can struggle in games where you have to run through levels or worlds fast. Luckily, Sonic Superstars is not one of those games and can easily hold 60 FPS regardless of speed and keep a drain down below 11W, all without changing a thing!

There are some stutters here and there on some levels, especially the casino one. The game does have Denuvo, which could be contributing to these (it fits the M.O.), but the overall gameplay is still very solid.

The Epic Conundrum

Other than this one issue, I would consider Sonic Superstars a Best on Deck game, but unfortunately, Epic Online Services is being used for multiplayer. Whenever you boot the game up, you will have a prompt to log into your Epic account and connect it to the game. If you decide to do this, you won't see the popup again. If you don't want to, you can hit the "X" in the top right corner and play without signing in. There are two problems with this: There are no online features, and you can't hit the "X" without tweaking your controller configuration.

When the prompt first came up, I tried to press the "X" with my finger, but it didn't work. I realized I would need to use a cursor, so I changed the controller configuration to "Gamepad with Mouse Trackpad," which got the cursor up, but there was no "Left Click" option. I had to go and edit the configuration, so pushing down on the right trackpad acted as the left click of a mouse. I needed to do this to interact with the popup completely. Otherwise, I couldn't close the window or connect my Epic account to the game.

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Accessibility

There aren't many options Sonic Superstars provides, but it has some basic ones you can change. This includes the language, different sound bars, controller sensitivity, and vibration, and which player is in control if multiple controllers are being used.

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so there will be black bars, but the game supports cloud saves and controllers.

Conclusion

Sonic Superstars has the makings of a fantastic game. The levels are fun and unique, the gameplay is tight, and the visuals are stunning. Even the battle mode, which is odd from time to time, is fun overall. SEGA hit it out of the park content-wise, but some questionable decisions, like Denuvo and Epic Online Services, can hamper the experience on the Steam Deck. Otherwise, it runs flawlessly and works like a charm with little battery drain. This is a great follow-up to Sonic Mania; they just tripped on the requirements to enjoy it.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Sonic Superstars is a great game that performs exceptional on the Steam Deck, but is held back by its dependencies.

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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