Sonic the Hedgehog Returns in New Racing Game

'Team Sonic Racing' will hit shelves this winter.
Courtesy of Fortyseven Communications

The world's fastest hedgehog is back in Team Sonic Racing.

The titular blue speedster joins familiar faces from the franchise such as Knuckles, Tails, Dr. Robotnik, Amy Rose, Shadow and more. 

At a special preview event for the upcoming game — due for release this winter on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam and set to debut at E3 next week — a small group of journalists got their hands on the game. Gameplay was familiar to cart-racing games, with various tools for speeding up, disabling your enemies and booby-trapping the course littered across the maps. 

What sets the game apart, aside from the affable Sonic crew that has been a mainstay of gaming culture for decades, is the new team racing dynamic that allows players to draft on their teammates' cart and launch into a boost past the competition, work together as a team to place on the podium and knock out opponents with Team Ultimate moves that send opposing racers skidding out of control. The dyamic was a welcome addition to familiar gameplay, and races were vividly colored, full of action and likely to put a smile on any gamer's face.

Teams are made up of three racers (only six playable characters were available during the demo, but 15 will be open to choose from when the game hits stores), and the game allows for customization of your cart and character.

Different characters have their own type with specific skills tied to either speed, technique or power. Characters like Sonic and Shadow fall under speed (obviously), while heavier characters like Robotnik (power) can push fellow racers aside.

The game will offer online multiplayer and local co-op modes with 12 players per race. Different modes include a grand prix racing mode, time trial, team adventure mode focused on story, and a more casual exhibition mode.

Team Sonic Racing will be available for all three major consoles this winter for $39.99.