The rivalry between Sonic and Mario is as iconic in gaming as the companies behind the mascots, and with the recent release of Team Sonic Racing the conversation about which character currently holds the kart racing crown has started again.
While there are a number of things Sega’s latest title does to stand out when compared to Mario Kart 8, other aspects of the title, unfortunately, fall short of the competition. So with this in mind, we decided to put together a list of the 5 things Team Sonic Racing does better than Mario Kart 8 and 5 things it doesn’t.
10 Better: Teamwork
Arguably the most significant difference between Team Sonic Racing and Mario Kart 8 is the game’s focus on teamwork. Each race features four groups of three that must work together to place the highest collectively.
Players who are on the same team can share items, create slipstreams for each other, and use an ultimate ability that provides a speed boost for the whole team. Working with teammates brings a fun and unique spin to Team Sonic Racing that isn’t found in the standard free for all kart racing experience of Mario Kart 8.
9 Worse: Tracks
In terms of tracks, Mario Kart 8 wins based on the sheer numbers alone as the game currently has 48 playable courses compared to the 21 available at launch in Team Sonic Racing. This total of 48 does include 16 tracks that were added after release, but even if you remove these Nintendo’s kart racer still has the edge.
Additionally, the overall design of the courses in Mario Kart 8 stands well above the competition as there are some Team Sonic Racing tracks like “Haunted Castle” that seem to be drawing direct inspiration from Nintendo.
8 Better: Value
Sega knew that competing for sales against a game as popular as Mario Kart 8 would be hard and they would need to take every advantage possible. So it makes sense that the publisher would decide to release the title at a reduced price of $40 instead of the usual $60 that is standard for most big games.
The time and enjoyment most players will be able to get out of Team Sonic Racing is comparable to Mario Kart 8, but the lower price point gives Sega’s kart racer the edge in terms of value.
7 Worse: Roster
Just like when comparing tracks, Mario Kart 8 outdoes Team Sonic Racing when it comes to character rosters based on numbers alone. Nintendo has put a staggering 41 racers into their game compared to the 12 that appear in Sega’s kart racer.
Mario Kart 8 also has the edge because its roster includes characters like Link from The Legend of Zelda and the Inklings from Splatoon. Bringing in racers from titles outside of the Mario universe adds a fun amount variety to the game’s races that Team Sonic Racing is lacking.
6 Better: Single-Player
In terms of the modes available in Team Sonic Racing, it is the game’s campaign that really sets it apart from Mario Kart 8. This single-player mode serves as both a tutorial for new players and a story explaining why the characters of the Sonic universe are racing.
Putting in a mode that players can enjoy by themselves outside of standard races and time trials was incredibly smart of Sumo Digital because it makes their new game much more appealing to solo players.
5 Worse: Items
Team Sonic Racing loses out to Mario Kart 8 when it comes to items simply because it borrows so many of them from Nintendo. The iconic Red and Green Shells have been replaced by the Crimson Eagle and the Orange Rockets, and other staples like the Bob-omb has just been turned into the Black Bomb.
Sega did not need to invent an entirely unique set of items for their game, but the fact that so many of them seem like they were just given a new coat of paint from Mario Kart 8 feels lazy.
4 Better: Available On Multiple Systems
By far the most significant advantage Team Sonic Racing has outside of the actual game is the fact that the title is available on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Switch. Mario Kart 8 like other titles in the franchise is exclusive to Nintendo platforms, so anyone who does not own a Switch has an easy decision to make when considering which kart racer to buy.
Even if on Switch Team Sonic Racing will likely to not be able to match the sales of Mario Kart 8, Sega knows that they have an excellent opportunity to establish themselves as the go-to kart racing franchise for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
3 Worse: Non-Racing Modes
The Mario Kart Battle Mode is in many ways as iconic as the franchise’s actual kart racing. Even though the mode did not initially come with Mario Kart 8, Nintendo added it in due to the widespread fan demand for its return.
While it is a good thing Team Sonic Racing did not just copy their competition’s mode, Sumo Digital should have thought to add in something outside of the game’s core gameplay that could have brought in some extra variety for players.
2 Better: Racer Types
Like Mario Kart 8, the characters in Team Sonic Racing come in a variety of types, but the differences between them are much more significant. Players can choose between Speed, Technique, or Power racers that all come with there own advantages and disadvantages to help balance out racing teams.
For example, Speed characters have the highest top speeds in the game and a unique Radial Burst defensive ability, but they also have the worst overall defense and acceleration when compared to the other types.
1 Worse: Vehicle Transformations
The decision to not have vehicle transformations in Team Sonic Racing is bizarre when you consider that this was an aspect that fans of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed seemed to really enjoy. This is especially true when the game is compared to Mario Kart 8 which appears to have borrowed this idea for its anti-gravity and glider sections.
The variety these transformations add to Mario Kart 8 both visually and in terms of gameplay helps to make the game feel different from past titles in the series, whereas the lack of this mechanic in Team Sonic Racing only manages to make Sega’s kart racer feel dated.