Disclosure: Review code provided by SEGA. | All screenshots in this review were captured on Steam Deck hardware. To learn more about our review policy click here. | Alternatively, click here to find out why you can trust me.
As someone who grew up playing the Sonic games, you knew I was going to jump right into Sonic Superstars on the Steam Deck. But how well does it perform on the Deck? Can it be played without any issues? Let’s find out.
Pictured: Lego Sonic stands in the first zone. Image Credit: Wesley Copeland.
Sonic Superstars works brilliantly on the Steam Deck, the visuals can be set to the maximum with almost no hit to the framerate, and performance in single-player modes is as close to perfect as it can be.
Online play, however, is a different story. Sonic Superstars uses Epic’s online services for the multiplayer portion, and it’s as annoying as you’d expect. I was automatically logged in to my Epic Games account, but I’ve heard others are having trouble connecting the two. My advice is to try launching Sonic Superstars for the first time in desktop mode so you’ve got access to the Internet browser should you need it.
I also haven’t been able to test out the online portion. I’ve tried queuing up on multiple occasions and I’m still yet to find other players. This could be down to other factors rather than the game itself, or it could be down to the fact the online mode is a poor version of Fall Guys with Sonic characters. You’re not missing out on much, but it’s still something worth keeping in mind.
Let’s be real here, most aren’t going to care about the online mode. It’s a decent attempt to justify the larger $60 price tag, but the bulk of people picking up Sonic Superstars is going to be for the single-player mode, which as I say, performs well on the Steam Deck.
Sonic Superstars Best Settings.
Pictured: Knuckles in the training area. Image Credit: Wesley Copeland.
Great news, you don’t need to change any of the default Sonic Superstars settings to get the best performance. It works so well, in fact, you can get away with the stock settings in docked mode, too. I’ve been playing Sonic Superstars in both handheld and docked mode and it runs great in both. Plus you can get some really solid battery life. I managed to hit the three-hour mark, which puts Sonic Superstars on the higher end when it comes to battery life.
|Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)|
|TDP: 12||Estimated Battery Life: 3 Hours|
|Docked Mode Resolution: 1280x720||FSR: On (Docked Mode)|
|Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen||Yes|
|Performance Rating: 5/5|
Should You Buy Sonic Superstars?
Pictured: Tails in the Casino Night throwback stage. Image Credit: Wesley Copeland.
I’ve enjoyed my time with Sonic Superstars, but that comes with some serious caveats. Level design is the best SEGA and Sonic Team has produced since Sonic and Knuckles. The flow, and more importantly, the momentum are near-perfect. Sonic and Co. move fast but it’s still easy to read what’s coming for the most part. If you’re looking for an authentic Sonic experience, Sonic Superstars comes easy to recommend.
It’s not all smooth sailing, though. Some of the new mechanics – like the mouse form – can be pure irritation until you work out the safest route. I also suffered several random deaths due to crush traps not working correctly: I’d hit one of their flat walls and instantly die, rather than getting trapped and crushed then dying.
Some of the bosses are also needlessly complex. There’s a later fight that goes through several forms and lasts too long. Normally I’d be fine with long battles, but when you’re learning what to do, repeating the earlier stages every, single, time, becomes tiresome.
Music is another area SEGA needs to work on. Sonic Superstars sounds a lot like Sonic 4 – techno beats with zero energy. The kicks sound right, but outside of the Casino Nights-style stage, music tends to fall flat.
But, on the flip side of all these drawbacks is a Sonic game that’s fun to play. As imperfect as it is, nothing beats hitting loops or finding the perfect route.
Bottom Line: If you’re a mega Sonic fan, grab Sonic Superstars now. If, however, you only have a passing interest in the blue blur, Sonic Superstars may impress more at a lower price point.