The initial review scores for Sonic Superstars are now in, and while the scores appear to be scattered across the board (nothing new for a Sonic game), on aggregate the assessment appears to be positive, with Opencritic labelling the game "Strong" with an average score of 76 and Metacritic calling the feedback "generally positive" with a 75 average score.
Among the highest-scoring reviews, GLHF on Sports Illustrated writes in its 9/10 review that "Sonic Superstars is the modern 2D Sonic game I never thought we’d get. It updates the visual style in a way that feels true to the classics while bringing in top-tier level design that allows the core platforming mechanics to shine."
IGN Spain also commended the game's "mind-blowing effects" in a 9/10 review - although IGN's US reviewer saw things a little differently, noting, "While the campaign is still enjoyable, Superstars’ multiplayer components are far worse options than anything in past Sonic games. Like digging Emeralds out of the rough, Sonic Superstars’ new ideas end up feeling like a mix of both interesting and ill-advised, making it an amusing Sonic game but not exactly a Super one." IGN US scored Sonic Superstars 7/10.
ShackNews praised the 2D adventure's "inspired level design" and "great soundtrack" in its 8/10 assessment, stating, "if Sonic Superstars is the future of the franchise, then it's bright enough that the blue hedgehog will have to wear shades."
Elsewhere, VGC rated Sonic's latest quite highly, with its 4/5 review stating, "Sonic Superstars absolutely nails the classic 16-bit Sonic gameplay. Its power-ups are hit-or-miss and its extra modes and co-op will divide opinion, but fans of the Mega Drive / Genesis days will adore the way this mixes that old feel with a new look."
GamesRadar offered the same high score, adding, "Sonic Superstars is like a modern version of the Genesis classics, with all the good and bad that entails. The four-player, same-screen co-op functionality works surprisingly well, and the new Emerald powers keep things fresh. While it isn't as good as Sonic Mania, Superstars is a fresh twist on classic Sonic action."
The sentiment matches our own at the Sonic Stadium, with the definitive fans' review scoring the game 4/5 and concluding that, "While it doesn’t quite hit the highs of Sonic Mania, Sonic Superstars is a worthy successor in almost every way. It plays faithfully to the classic games, the new stages are wonderfully designed, the challenge is well-balanced outside of some of the bosses, and the presentation is simply perfect - this is the best that Sonic has looked in decades."
Sonic-themed social media news channel, TailsChannel (score N/A), agrees that the game is a "worthy successor" to Evening Star's 2017 sprite-based masterpiece, adding that "despite its small hiccups, Sonic Superstars proves its place among the best of the classics," with the reviewer considering it "one of my favorite games from the franchise."
This positive reception was somewhat balanced out by some more critical reviews from a number of outlets. TheGamer's 3.5 out of 5 review points to classic gameplay elements such as "Knuckles’ terrible recovery speed" (we assume this relates to when he lands from gliding) and "strange instances where a single hit reduces our ring count to zero" as areas of concern.
VG247 looked at the new gimmicks introduced in Sonic Superstars and found them to be lacking, with Emerald powers in particular "never [feeling] like they actually matter... given that there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a giant ring or then successfully complete the special stage, levels have to be designed to be played without any of the special Emerald Powers... But [the game is] good. In fact, it’s good enough that I expect fan debate about which game is superior to be fairly heated."
PushSquare rated the game 6/10, stating "We're a bit at odds with ourselves on Sonic Superstars. Fundamentally it's a really enjoyable side-scrolling Sonic title, but the two big ticket features — chaos emerald powers and co-op — are arguably the worst parts of it."
At time of writing, the most critical review seems to be from GamingBolt, whose 5/10 review criticises the lighting, soundtrack and some of the stage gimmicks while praising the game's controls.
Overall, it seems that the presentation and base gameplay mechanics have been well-received, but the new features introduced - Emerald powers, co-op and Battle Mode - tend to be points of contention. Sonic Superstars officially launched on October 17, and you'll be able to see for yourself which of these reviews you agree with.
We've included a roundup on the most important scores so far below.