Reviewed: 03/13/06

Seems like a Kirby Air Ride rip off, but a great game anyway.

Gameplay: 9/10

You're playing as Sonic and friends racing on "extreme gear" with various options. Also, your extreme gear has an air tank. Yes, it's air powered. Just cruising, you have more than enough air to race along for more than about three minutes. However, you can "slide turn" which allows you to turn much sharper than usual, but also consumes air at a much faster rate than normal. Also, you can boost, but this uses up a large chunk of air. You can still race with an empty air tank, you just have to run until you fill it up again.

There are also three different types of racers: speed, flight, and power. You can pick a character that suits your style. Each has different shortcuts they can take, but the shortcut are usually equal.

The game is very fast paced, maybe even a little too fast. Once you enter turbulence, or a half-piped shaped air current left behind by other racers going very fast, you speed up to a speed that is a bit too fast. Although you can jump ahead of a few opponents this way, it oftentimes leaves you speeding into something you don't want to be in, such as a bottomless pit.

Other than that, the gameplay works out great.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics look, well, for lack of words, sci-fi-ish. The graphics look good enough, but I can't really tell how completely detailed it is. Who would? You're always rushing by everything at 150+ MPH. You're always cruising if you still have air, even if you're not pressing anything, so who would stop to look at all of it?

Sound: 10/10

I found myself humming the tunes of the game one day the music is so good. The SFX is pretty darn good, making rushing noises when you boost, and booming noises when you punch the crud out of something.

The announcer of the races may be considered annoying to some, but I find that it doesn't bother me. There's an option to turn him off, if he really gets to you.

Control: 9/10

There are few buttons used, but about one two few. There are 4 buttons used, though 2 do the same thing, and the control stick. The game is simple enough for anyone to catch on...

Difficulty: 8/10

...but not for anyone to master. The CPU opponent racers seem to be programmed with every shortcut in the game, and aren't hesitant to use them. They know how to race. It takes a bit of practice to get to the point where you can really crush the CPU.

Unfortunately, there is no difficulty setting, so you'll just have to get used to coming 30 second behind next-to-last for a while.

Overall: 9/10

If you've played Kirby Air Ride, you should have a decent jump start on this game. The differences are few and far between. Except Kirby Air Ride has more game modes.

Overall, it's a nice vacation for racing fans who want to get out of a car for a while. Sega has released another hit.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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