I've been playing Sonic Racing Transfored (the name it SHOULD have gone under rather than it's actual and much clunkier title) for well over a week now. That's really saying something because frankly, most racing games are ones I'll play for a night or two as sort of gaming sorbet before moving onto something else. Don't get me wrong, Super Mario Kart (SNES) was a legit phenomenon for me and my friends back in the day, and my wife and I still to this day dabble in Mario Kart 8 and Double Dash, but again, that's usually for a single night of unwinding.
I hadn't played Sonic Racing Transformed since around the time of its release. I was a fan for sure. Heck, I'm pretty sure that I preferred the first Sonic Racing reboot to be honest. But I don't know, I went back to this one on Wii U this past week and kinda sorta thought it was fantastic.
There's a true sense of speed to the OMG level. The visuals are great. The tracks are long and well designed and change upon each lap. The roster is a thing of beauty for Sega fans. It's just a truly solid racing game.
The gimmick here is that it's not a pure kart racer, but rather you also switch between boats and aircrafts. It can be jarring at times, and honestly, I don't care for these sections quite as much as the karts. But it's at least unique. The boat stuff feels like you're suddenly thrown into Hydro Thunder or something. The flying... is fast, but kind of clunky to me at times. There's also the fact that the levels can get a little busy, making it confusing where to head at times when you're not familiar with a course.
That said, I'd still throw this one pretty high on my list of casual racing games. It's got a definite arcade vibe to it, and yet putting time in really pays off. After my week-plus of digging in, I had unlocked all the mirror tracks, learned how to drift like a champ, and found some shortcuts. Plus, I even messed around with the glorified quest mode, but gave up on it because after a while it can drag with repetition.
But as a purely simple and impressive racer a la Mario Kart, this is a solid recommendation. Certainly one that seems to be passing the test of time.