Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed

Can SEGA's blue hedgehog steal the kart racing crown from Nintendo's chubby plumber?

Ever since it released Super Mario Kart for the SNES back in the early '90s, Nintendo has been the king of the console kart racers. While the last two decades have seen no end of pretenders to the throne – both good (Diddy Kong Racing) and bad (Madagascar Kartz) – nothing has come close to taking Nintendo's crown.

At least, that was the case until this sequel to 2010's Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing recently raced onto shelves. While the original game was little more than an entertaining diversion, this sequel is an altogether different beast. With Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed, developer Sumo Digital has gone back to the drawing board and cooked up a breathlessly fun kart racer with greatly refined gameplay mechanics, improved hi-def graphics and an almost endless supply of geeky in-jokes as it celebrates SEGA's lengthy gaming legacy.

Apart from the general improvements in handling, the big gameplay evolution comes from the 'Transformed' part of the title, with the karts turning into boats and planes as necessary as the tracks change around you. Accordingly, each of the vehicle modes has its own physics model, all perfectly judged and leading to some genuine challenge as the game progresses. So if you're looking for a multiplayer racer suitable for gamers of all ages, you can't go wrong with this.

SEGA, Xbox 360/PS3/Nintendo Wii U, £40 Approx, On sale now