Sonic Superstars Review: A Star that Continues to Burn Bright

“Despite its small hiccups, Sonic Superstars proves its place among the best of the classics.”

This article contains spoilers for the game’s story and characters, including the ending.

This article contains spoilers for the game’s story and characters, including the ending.

When I think of platformers, the first things that comes to mind are the 2D classic Sonic games. Whether it be the original Sonic the Hedgehog from 1991, or even 2017’s Sonic Mania, I always enjoyed the sense of childlike wonder I got from zipping through each zone.

Following Mania‘s release, plenty of speculation circulated about whether the game would ever get a sequel, or if there would be future games featuring classic 2D action in general. 2023’s Sonic Superstars is SEGA’s long-awaited answer to that question.

When Superstars was announced back during this 2023’s Summer Game Fest, describing me as “ecstatic” would’ve been an understatement. Now that I’ve gotten my hands on the game after months of speculation and waiting, was it really worth the and hype? Rest assured, SEGA provided a worthy successor.

Your reviewer

Fiery is a long-time member of the Tails’ Channel Discord server, and a recent contributor to He evaluated Sonic Superstars on the PlayStation 5.


The game starts off in Eggman’s lair on the North Star Islands as he gives long-time villain Fang the Hunter his bounty money. The screen then suddenly flashes, with Sonic and Tails both flying to explore the inlet. Frustrated by this, Doctor Eggman sends out Fang and Trip the Sungazer, a new face to the series, to stop Sonic from freeing the enlarged animals while trying to find a mysterious dragon that the evil doctor crudely drew with a paper and pencil. 

As soon as the game introduces me to the first zone, Bridge Island, I cannot help but feel my youth hitting me again after so many years.

Sonic’s gameplay is very similar to the way he plays in Sonic Mania, but with the jump feeling a bit heavier than it usually is. This didn’t hinder my experience, though, as Bridge Island serves as a perfect showcase of Superstars‘ strengths.

With its catchy music, smooth platforming, and sense of speed, blitzing through these zones felt akin to blasting through Chemical Plant in Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Making my way onto the second act, it added unique gimmicks on top of what was already there. Mechanically, each stage felt like an elaboration upon what was showcased prior, providing an individual experience for each.

In Speed Jungle, I wanted to get a feel of how other characters played too, starting with the newest member of the squad, Amy. Playing as Amy felt more like an easy mode with a very reliable double jump and a drop dash that can hit from both sides with her Piko Piko Hammer.

The next character I wanted to try was Tails, and he was the most fun to control by far, with his flight complementing each zone’s verticality quite well.

Knuckles, on the other hand, was my least favorite, with him being slower than the rest of the crew and his climbing being a bit wonky at times, jumping off instantly when you stick right to it. 

Continuing through the game, more of the levels stood out to me as they were captivating and mesmerizing with their beautiful art style and attention to detail.

Trailing along, I was introduced to stages exclusive to a specific character (e.g. “Speed Jungle Zone Act Sonic”) which are encountered as you progress through the story. This is where some of my gripes come in…

Character-specific Acts

With these stages, I was left a little disappointed, even a bit frustrated at times. I played through them multiple times to figure out why I wasn’t enjoying them as much as the main levels, and it suddenly hit me.

While Sonic’s exclusive level featured a cinematic high speed chase from Fang in the dark night of Speed Jungle, the rest of the cast’s level design was more heavily focused on slow platforming. 

In “Act Amy” of Lagoon City Zone, for example, you have to save Trip from falling into a hole. While I tried to speed through it as I usually would with Sonic, there were these fruits that completely stopped me dead in my tracks.

I couldn’t jump or spin dash on them, but instead had to use the hammer to destroy them. This hindered my playthrough a bit as the pace was constantly being broken, but aside from that, it was a fine experience. 

Knuckles and Tails’ acts, however, I found to be frustrating. These two acts completely focus on usage of their abilities with more vertical platforming.

“Act Tails” of Frozen Base was so littered with spike traps that it felt impossible to not get hit at least once. Even then, these levels take up less than 10% of the main game, with the rest of the campaign feeling like a wonderful rollercoaster that you don’t want to get off.


Back when the B-roll footage of the game was released, I was rather concerned when I heard that some of the music in the game, led by Jun Senoue, sounded very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. Unfortunately, my fears became reality as I played through Sonic Superstars

While some of the tracks were memorable, most tracks felt a little bit boring and were not as lively as its predecessor, Sonic Mania. A lot of chiptune was used for most of its levels, and although the rhythm was catchy at some points, the synths can get tiring after a while, especially when some levels can go on for about six or more minutes. 


Overall, the story presented was cute and memorable, with the primary goal being to save all of the inhabitants of the North Star Islands. Trip and Fang’s interactions were fun at first, seeing Trip’s shyness bounce off of Fang’s aggressiveness; however, as the story progresses, it gets a little muddled.

Story spoilers from this point forward.

Earlier in the review, I mentioned that Eggman wanted Fang and Trip to capture a dragon, as demonstrated in the intro sequence. It’s never brought up again until briefly in the eighth zone of the game, Golden Capital. Once that cutscene plays out, the dragon was never mentioned again.

Instead, within the final act, Doctor Eggman has a new MacGuffin resembling an hourglass with the ability to rewind time, leading to the final act of the campaign being a fun countdown race playing through the level backwards. 

Finally, defeating the final boss felt incredibly satisfying, thanks to the game’s memorable levels and fun story leading up to that point. However, I couldn’t help but feel something was missing. I had collected all the Chaos Emeralds and was fully expecting expecting there to be a Super Sonic ending, per Classic Sonic tradition.

After the credits rolled, however, a new story mode appeared in the game’s main menu.

A New Story?

After beating the main campaign, I had unlocked Trip as a playable character, as well as separate campaign just for her. The story this time is almost the exact same, but it does take some inspiration from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles with the Egg Robo returning to cause more mayhem for Trip to handle. 

Trip is probably my second favorite character to play as overall, with her movement abilities being a mix of both Amy and Knuckles’.

She has a double jump that can be utilized for platforming and a wall climb with her spiky ball form that makes the Spike Wisp’s power a run for its money. 

The stages were just a repeat of the same zones from the main campaign but with a twist. They were much more difficult, but sadly in a way that I found a bit disappointing. Random enemy placement, un-reactable moments, and spikes placed all around the map with nowhere for you to jump away from them.

The bosses were much more difficult than before; some even taking me multiple tries to defeat them due to the sheer intensity of their attacks.

While I do wish Trip’s levels were more balanced, it was all worth it at the end of her campaign as the reward is something that I wish for players to experience for themselves. I won’t be spoiling it here, but completing both campaigns is highly recommended to get the full Superstars experience.


Despite its small hiccups, Sonic Superstars proves its place among the best of the classics, as I consider it to be one of my favorite games from the franchise with its fun level design and astonishing graphics. If you’re a fan of the games that started it all for the hedgehog, this one is a must-buy.

Sonic Superstars was evaluated on the PlayStation 5, with accommodation signed off by SEGA of America. Article written by Fiery, a contributor to Tails’ Channel; and edited by news writer Spectre, community manager David, and editor-in-chief Scarlett.

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