What sets the Wii U version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed apart from its other versions is its clever use of the GamePad, which introduces additional features and modes to the game. Unfortunately, this version also brings a few unwanted problems that prevent it from being a worthy contender to Nintendo’s own Mario Kart racer.
During single-player races, the GamePad becomes your map and rearview mirror, letting you plan ahead or prepare for an incoming attack. This addition is really helpful when you can manage to take your eyes off your television screen. Otherwise, you can switch views and play the game entirely off your GamePad if you feel so inclined. The sound effects that come from the controller do a good job at making you feel like you’re behind the wheel, though the resolution isn’t that great and the smaller screen can sometimes make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on.
Giving one player his or her own private viewing screen also frees up an additional slot for up to five players to play local matches together. Driving with the Wii remote gets some getting used to, as you’ll need to rely on its motion controls to move your vehicle. Of course, using a nunchuk attachment gives you all the buttons you need to feel just as good as playing it with the GamePad.
In addition to all the modes that come with the other versions, the Wii U game comes with two tag-inspired mini-games that are currently unplayable due to a glitch that spawns you right on top of your opponent, ending the match as soon as it starts. Glitches also strike the game’s World Tour mode and cause checkpoints to not appear in the Boost Challenges, making them unwinnable. This ultimately prevents you from fully completing the game. Other glitches include sometimes spawning you as the wrong vehicle after you drive off a stage or simply freezing altogether.
Seeing as it’s the only racing game currently available on the Wii U, Transformed could have set the bar for future kart racers on the system. It’s still a fun game and the GamePad adds to the experience, actually making it better than its other versions--when it's working properly. However, ultimately its improvements are marred by a slew of technical follies.