Sonic Team’s Sonic Superstars brings the beloved blue hedgehog and friends back to the side-scrolling platforming space, albeit with 2.5D visuals and four-player co-op. However, along with all-new Zones, the platformer also introduces a twist on the Chaos Emeralds. While you acquire them from Special Stages, they each provide different abilities.
As creative officer Takashi Iizuka told Game Informer, “We wanted to say, ‘How can we reward someone for getting just one?’ And if we reward someone for getting just one, that will motivate people to get each one and see what they are. So, part of the new ideas and how Emerald Powers started was in that process of trying to get people excited about getting each Emerald.”
The Special Stages are accessible via large gold rings and require swinging towards an objective with floating bubbles. It’s easier said than done since some bubbles can alter your momentum, increase it or halt you. As showcased in some trailers, collecting all seven Emeralds allows each character to use a Super form that makes them faster and invincible while they have rings. However, you can still use a specified Emerald’s power.
The Emerald Powers are as follows:
- Avatar (Blue Emerald) – Creates copies of the character to attack enemies. Good against bosses.
- Bullet (Red Emerald) – Shoots the character forward in a chosen direction. You can change directions mid-flight.
- Water (Cyan Emerald) – Climb waterfalls and travel underwater with ease. Not so great in areas without any water.
- Ivy (Green Emerald) – Create vines to climb and reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
- Vision (Purple Emerald) – Hidden platforms and rings are revealed.
- Slow (Yellow Emerald) – Everything onscreen is slowed.
- Extra (White Emerald) – Grants an additional ability to each character. Sonic gets the Homing Attack; Knuckles can Punch; Tails uses Tornado spin; and Amy has Hammer Throw.
You use the Emerald Powers with the right stick, but they can’t be used continuously. After using them, you need to recharge them at checkpoints. Though they sound similar to the Wisps, Iizuka says they aren’t essentially for traversing levels.
“In Colors, you need to use the Wisps to get around in the level and complete the game, but we didn’t want that to be a part of the Superstars game. We wanted the Classic Sonic gameplay to remain true, so when we were looking at the Emerald Powers and the Wisps, we wanted to make sure you could still beat Superstars without having to use any of the powers, which is what we needed to balance during game design.”
Sonic Superstars is out this Fall for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch (with retailers listing it for October). Check out the opening animation here.