With no Mario Kart Wii U in sight (yet), Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed looks set to corner the colourful, arcade racing sector for at least a few months when it launched on Nintendo's upcoming home console, the Wii U – and if it's anything like it's predecessor, it'll certainly be a worthy contender for the racing crown. Following along the same lines as the famous plumber's game, you get to choose one of your favourite Sega characters from years gone by, and jump into their themed vehicles, before heading off round a course filled with leaps, giant whales and falling rocks – all while bombarding your opponents with eccentric power-ups such as boxing gloves, stars that turn their screens upside down and rainbows to obscure their view. But this time round, you're not just limited to racing on the ground, as the new transforming vehicles let you take to the seas and the skies for even more madcap motorsports.
As revealed in an interview with the game's producer on IGN, the Wii U version of the game will be packing several exclusive features - including a number of potentially exclusive modes. Much like Mario Kart Wii, on the Wii U, Sega and All-Stars Racing Transformed lets you tilt the GamePad to steer, as if you were holding a real steering wheel, whilst the built-in Touch Screen shows a variety of useful information like the current order of racers and an overview map of the course. What's also quite funky, but probably not all that useful seeing as you won't want to take your eyes off the course for long, is that the screen will also show you the path and subsequent destruction one of your power-ups takes. Launching a rocket behind you, you can watch it track and obliterate the person who's been driving up your exhaust pipe for half of the race, so if you're the sort of person who revels in the misfortune of others, the Wii U version may be right up your sadistic street.
As part of Nintendo's much-lauded 'asymmetric gameplay' concept, where the players are split up into uneven teams of one with the Wii U GamePad against four with regular controllers, Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed will feature a load of mini-games alongside the main racing game. One such game is based on the popular ape-rolling game Super Monkey Ball, and sees the player with the GamePad take over AiAi the monkey encased in his traditional perspex ball, while the others are driving round as miniature versions of themselves collecting as many bananas as possible. The aim of the game is to roll over as many of your mates as you can before the time runs out, in order to stop those motorised maniacs from nicking all your bananas. It sounds like there'll be plenty of other funky mini-games too, with the game's producer dropping a few hints about where the inspiration for some of the mini-games came from, including the school-kid games of Tag, Hide and Seek, and Bulldog. The more eagle eyed amongst us may recognise that description as sounding distinctly familiar to another game, that also offered a perfect mix of tag, hide and seek, and bulldog wrapped into a single mode, in the form of Project Gotham Racing 4 on the Xbox 360. The game's mode, which was simply called "Bulldog", saw one player being a "fox", while the others were "hares", and basically played out as a giant game of hide and seek spread across an entire city, as the fox tried to hunt down, and tag the hares, causing them to join the fox team. It's a mode we've played (and still play) to death, and considering the fact that several of the staff at Sonic & All-Stars Racing's developer, Sumo Digital, came from the now closed down Bizarre Creations, who developed Project Gotham Racing 4, there's a distinct possibility that the Bulldog mode will be making its way to Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed - and if you ask us, it sounds like a match made in heaven.
While there's no release date announced so far for the Wii U version of Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, the other versions (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, 3DS and Vita) will be raring to go in just a couple of months, on the 16th of November. Hopefully the Wii U version won't be lagging too far behind, as our sources (Bessie the pyschic cat) suggest a November launch for the Wii U. We're excited for this one.