unnamed (19)

It was only three months ago that Android got SEGA's latest entry in the obligatory kart racing genre, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. Now the sequel, which came out a year later on the consoles, has graced our platform only a day behind iOS. But don't reach for your wallets just yet: there are some serious issues with Sonic Racing Transformed that might mean it's not worth the $5 entry fee. I'll elaborate below.

Sonic Racing Transformed puts a few new ideas into the tired kart racing genre, with vehicles that change from cars to boats to planes at different sections of each track. You'll still play as one of SEGA's biggest characters, but their themed vehicles will change appearance and control schemes (at least slightly) as you go through each of the 13 courses. Power-ups and alternate routes are in abundance, and though there's no mention of controller support, you can choose between touch and tilt schemes.

unnamed (20) unnamed (21) unnamed (22)

But hang on a second: why are there only 10 characters when the 3DS version of the game (which was probably adapted for the Android release) had 20? The console releases had drivers, vehicles, and tracks from such classics as Golden Axe, Nights, and Skies of Arcadia, but this shortened roster doesn't have much space left over after Sonic and his pals fill it out. In the preview I can see Sonic, Tails, Robotnik, Amy, B.D. Joe (Crazy Taxi), Gum (Jet Set Radio), Joe Musashi (Shinobi), Ryo Hazuki (Shenmue), Amigo (Samba De Amigo), and AGES, a sort of living manifestation of the Dreamcast.

unnamed (23)

Not so fast.

Maybe the fact that this game has in-app purchases, despite the $5 price tag, has something to do with those missing characters. More are coming soon. It wouldn't be the only part of the game that's unfinished: the description mentions that online and local multiplayer is "coming very soon." (In case you're wondering, the iOS version has working multiplayer already.) Throw in some compatibility issues too, because Sonic Racing Transformed is crashing on the Nexus 7 2013, and the sole review in the Play Store says the Galaxy Mega 6.3 is a bust as well. Since the game is nearly 1GB in size, those who download it might not be eligible for a return by the time they find out it won't work on their hardware.

Sonic's first racer on Android turned out well, but it looks like Racing Transformed needs a little more time in the oven. I'd say hold off on a purchase, at least until the release kinks are worked out.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Protoss

    the galaxy mega... a massive display with a 720p resolution... with a shitty hardware... what a garbage

  • Funem

    I "though" Google changed so the 15min windows was after it had been downloaded the first time not from actual purchase time.

  • Funem

    I "thought" Google had changed so it was 15min from complete install and not from the purchase time.....

    • Himmat Singh

      It is. I can confirm it works as just a few days ago I refunded a game (the COD one). The download surely took more than 15 minutes.

      However, sometimes it may bug out, where the refund option won't appear no matter what. Send them a ticket and they'll refund it.

    • KojiroAK

      If all is downloaded thorugh the play store, this applies. yes.
      Though, don't know if the game downloads the bigger chunk "in app".

      • Mayoo

        Which is against Google guidelines.

        • Mr E

          Is it? It still seems to happen a lot, at least as of a couple weeks ago. I know Google increased the size of downloads a while back, but some games still use 1-3GB+

  • Himmat Singh

    Disappointed to hear this. Transformed was one of the first games I got on Steam a few months back. However, it must be noted that the mobile version is not a one-to-one port of the PC version. It is kinda like Dead Space and NFS MW, where the mobile versions are quite different and content may be missing. Though well, this has more similarities than the two examples given.

    In any case, I will be getting this. On PC, you had to unlock characters as you play, so that may be why they aren't there. Also, quite a few characters (such as TF2, Shogun 2 and Rome 2) are from PC game tie-ins that aren't even on the console versions.

  • KojiroAK

    Ohhhh, the game does cost 5$ and has IAP, what a shame, considering the game cost's 40$ on the DS.

    Question is, do you have to use IAPs if you just want to finish the game with outh bigger annoyances? (I noticed some games, that state, they are winnable without IAP tend to have bigger annoyances to make you use IAPs. I call an overabundance of grinding an annoyance)

    • Mr E

      I can't personally say about this game, but they made it sound as though the IAPs are mainly just for extra characters (and maybe extra tracks/cups). Given that, you can probably play and have fun with this w/o the IAPs..... depending on how pervasive they are.

  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/metallinatus Metallinatus

    I am waiting the day when they port Sonic Adventure 2 to Android....

    • Tom4242
      • A.M

        you doing pretty good to be using stock controls it's better when you use a PS3 controller

    • paparazzi

      I prefer Sonic Colors PC version ported to android.
      Dreamcast games should be easily emulated on recent android.

      • Phillip Huynh

        *cough* Reicast *cough* .

    • Kcls

      I play it on my phone every day. Works AMAZINGLY with my OG Moga controller. Sonic Adventure 1 works better but 2 is playable aside from some graphical issues occasionally.

  • TheOtherJames

    Crippled paid app with IAP to make it complete.

    Nope. No matter how awesome the game might be, which it sounds like it's not.

  • hVT

    I think the severity of the reactions to this game's multiple IAPs that unlock certain elements the game put those of Angry Birds GO's cars-purchaseable-with-real-money sorta and the energy system to shame. Also I think Sonic Racing Transformed's total file size is higher than that of Angry Birds GO. Meanwhile, the lack of a car upgrade feature really helps in the balance of multiplayer games. And the initial spree of not-five-star reviews today is only the beginning. Both these racing games really need some optimization, like how Gameloft keeps on improving the gameplay performance of Minion Rush. If you are confused about the IAPs in Sonic Racing Transformed, the commentary about that by S0L of Sumo Digital posted on NeoGAF is an almost must-read.

    • Himmat Singh

      No, the IAPs here are actually OK the way I see it. I have the game on PC, and I never managed to get all 222 or so stars. I made it till 165 and by then, 20 hours in, it wasn't worth it. People who got every single star played the game for over 50 hours.

      In any case, the IAPs here are meant as shortcuts. I mean, if you unlock everything at the get go, what's left to play? At 165 stars, I unlocked most of the important upgrades/characters/tracks/cups. Again, the way I see it, it's a shortcut. Some folks want everything at the beginning without "grinding" for 20 or 80 hours, and this is for them.

      Though yes, everytime I see IAPs, I cringe. However balanced a game may be, I just get turned off at IAP prompts or just seeing the "store" sign. Wish that could be disabled!!!

  • ChainsawCharlie

    The PC version of this is great. Much better than any recent Mario Kart. Only bummer is the cast, which is slightly thin.

  • bka

    Doesn't work on HTC One either -_-

  • Jeff Moreira

    Oh wow, downloaded it this morning when there were only 3 reviews, now went back to check what is going on and my nexus 5 and 7 (2012) are "This app is incompatible with all of your devices." LoL
    Anyway, it had some issues...hopefully they will fix it.

  • Tony

    Currently coming up in the play store as incompatible with the Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, but compatible with the Galaxy Nexus... WTF? They wrote it only to work on 3 year old phones....?

  • SuperMario7

    Are the IAPs essential or can you unlock stuff by playing the game? Just asking because on the PC version you start with a small number of cars and tracks and then you unlock the rest of the game by you know playing well, if you can do that then I don't see the issue with the IAP

  • hoosiercub88

    If this game is half as frustrating as it is on the PC, pass. It's buggy/glitchy, and the AI outright cheats.

  • Primalxconvoy

    Actually, if you read the reviews at Google play for the original game, they indicated that game was awful, too.

    Basically, there are no pad controls for this so there is no point getting it. Asphalt 8 is still the lesser of many evils at the mo.

  • Primalxconvoy

    Holy irony, Batman; this Japanese company's game isn't available at the Japanese Google Play shop! To the sideload-mobile!

  • Kacyt Sadrak

    Hmm.. is this game works on China tablets?