Sonic Superstars: Every Playable Character, Ranked

Sonic Superstars finally introduces the idea of chaotic co-op to the universe of everyone’s favourite blue speedster. The concept of four-player local play was always spitballed, but nailing down exactly how it would work when the characters are hurtling across the screen at several hundred miles per hour seemed to have eluded Sega for a while until now.

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Picking from a selection of five faces – four familiar and one newcomer – you and your mates can zip around loops and grind on vines with the best of them. But of these plucky heroes, who plays the best? The Sonicverse has no shortage of charming protagonists, after all. Let’s rank ’em!

5 Knuckles

Sonic Superstars comic book Knuckles running across a bridge in front of a waterfall

In literally any other side-scrolling Sonic game in which he appears, Knuckles would place near the top. All his usual abilities and trappings have made the migration to Sonic Superstars intact; he can still glide effortlessly through the air, his gloved hands outstretched in a comical fashion that’s sure to elicit some laughs. He’s also capable of climbing any (vertical) wall, enabling him to reach treasures and secret routes that are just out of the way for the rest of the cast.

So, it all seems fine and dandy. The trouble is that he’s majorly outclassed by every other character in the roster – anything he can do, another of the heroes can pull it off in a far more efficient manner. Need to reach a far-off platform by gliding? Straight-up flying with Tails will get the job done. Do you need a wall climbed to reach a fruit piece or medal? Trip is more than happy to oblige and at twice the speed.

Poor Knuckles. On the plus side, he controls a damn sight better here than he does in Frontiers’ DLC. Small victories!

4 Sonic

Sonic running in a 2D stage with green grass. But it's not Green Hill Zone.

Strange as it may seem to have the eponymous rodent ranked so low, it’s perhaps a testament to the utility of Sonic’s chums that the ‘hog himself can only muster up fourth place. Again, it isn’t that he’s poor to control, far from it. This is easily the best Classic Sonic has felt since Generations (not counting Mania, which was, in fairness, a glorified fan rom-hack.)

Related: The Best Sonic Games For Beginners

His momentum ebbs and flows like a dream; his spindash can be deployed with minimal faff; he no longer takes eons to come to a stop, allowing you to correct errant jumps; and he even comes packing his now-traditional drop dash.

Now, you need no longer bring Sonic to a screeching halt to rev up. Simply hold the button while in the air, and you’ll get a burst of speed when you touch down, which avoids interrupting that sweet, sweet flow.

Sonic is, ironically, let down by a general feeling that a lot of the game just isn’t built for him. There are a few too many bonus portals and hidden goodies that he can’t access, and those appallingly difficult boss fights can barely be survived by the skin of his teeth without, say, Amy’s double jump. Perhaps it’s a concession to co-op?

3 Tails

Tails holding a gem in Sonic the Hedgehog

Younger siblings and Player Twos the world over know the feeling of disappointment that came with playing as Tails back in the day. While your elder companion got to control the fastest thing alive, you were stuck as the barely functional Miles Prower, who was there purely in an assistive capacity. The camera was strictly glued to Sonic, and about the only thing you could contribute was the odd blow against a boss (and an atmosphere of tension when you inevitably cocked up in the special stages).

Well, second fiddles unite: Tails is a blast in Sonic Superstars. His trademark tail-powered flight makes a mockery of some of the late-game single-block platforming, and it lasts far longer than it’s done in previous iterations. You can even have him hover in place if you want, in case a Badnik opts to shoot a laser at just the wrong time, and you need to wait it out.

Aside from this, he’s got the spindash, and all of Sonic’s other basic capabilities, making him a primo pick. The only criticism you can level at Miles is that you have to mash the button to keep his flight up, which can make navigating through precariously small openings a tad irritating. Flappy Bird, this ain’t.

2 Amy Rose

Amy Rose watching over animals in Sonic Superstars

It’s about time Amy got her due. After a (very) extended absence post-Sonic 2006, we’re experiencing something of a Rose-naissance in the 2020s; all of a sudden, she’s playable in several Sonic games and has starring roles in assorted television and film media. In Superstars, she’s reverted to her classic kaleidoscopic nineties garb, pairing an orange skirt with a green T-shirt. Nostalgia, ye must be plucked!

Related: Sonic the Hedgehog: The Best Games To Play For The Story

Gameplay-wise, Amy’s a hoot. She comes with all the fundamentals you get with the other heroes, with the notable addition of two things. First, her beloved Piko Piko hammer, which has double-fold usage. Not only does Amy swing it around her when jumping, increasing the range of her spin attack, but she can also pound the ground with it when she hits max speed. She can use this to mow down any Badniks unfortunate enough to be in her way. Woe betide thee, Slicer.

Second, there’s her double jump. There are no timing limitations on this – it’s genuinely just an extra jump you can deploy anytime you feel. As mentioned, it’s an utter godsend against some of the late-game bosses. That interminable Fang auto-scroller becomes significantly neutered by Amy, as does the final Eggman mech.

Fancy an easier ride? Ms. Rose is your lass.

1 Trip

Trip the Sungazer battles Eggman's mech in Sonic Superstars

The latest addition to Sonic’s ever-expanding rotisserie of technicolour chums, Trip the Sungazer (that’s a kind of lizard, fact fans), represents the pinnacle of Superstars’ roster. As well she should: what better way to ingratiate yourself to legions of fans than by effectively breaking the game?

Granted, you don’t have access to Trip right out of the gate. You’ve got to earn her by beating the core campaign at least once, at which point she becomes playable not only in the main story but in her own mini side-adventure. You’ll replay a selection of the game’s stages, rejigged to suit her unique abilities. She can render the platforming pointless as a start (and tank the framerate on the Switch version).

Not only can Trip double jump, but she can also climb walls and spindash, instantly replacing Amy, Knuckles, and Sonic in one fell swoop. Then, provided you’ve gathered all the Chaos Emeralds – and given how easy the special stages are, you likely will have done – you can play as Super Trip. In this form, she morphs into a golden dragon, allowing you to soar over the entire stage, Super Mario World cape-style. Cheap? Sure. Fun? You bet.

Combining the best aspects of all her new comrades, this laudable lizard makes for the optimum choice in Sonic Superstars. You might say that playing as her is, well, a trip.

Next: Sonic Frontiers: Every Playable Character, Ranked

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