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Hands On: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

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SEGA's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is one of the nearly two-dozen games available at launch for the Wii U, and if you want to do some kart racing on the new console, this will be your game. Featuring over 20 characters, the game goes beyond Sonic to include folks like Joe Musashi and the dwarf from Golden Axe, and then goes beyond SEGA to include Wreck-It Ralph (making an appearance in exchange for Sonic appearing in his movie) and real-life racer Danica Patrick. (You can also play as your Mii.) The game also includes 20 tracks, and some Battle Arenas exclusive to the Wii U. That's right — in addition to races, there's battle arenas where you race around picking up power-ups and weapons to demolish your opponents.

There's splitscreen local multiplayer, and this time you can have up to five people racing because you can put four on the TV and one on the Wii U GamePad screen! If you're racing solo, though, the GamePad has its own unique features. Holding it up in front of you will turn it into a rear view mirror, and you can use that to your advantage when aiming certain power-ups behind you.

The reason it's called Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is because your vehicle transforms depending on the track. The demo I played started off perfectly normal on the track, but suddenly turned into a boat because I eventually went into the water. I thought perhaps the boat was difficult to control because I'd gotten used to the road and the water was throwing me off, but I actually struggled with the boat form for the rest of the race. I think the track I was racing on was reminiscent of Sonic Adventure, but I'm not sure. There was a massive loop-de-loop that I wanted to do, but I kept taking the wrong path and missing it. Oh well... next time!

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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