Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Absurdity is the spice of life. Some people think that's supposed to say "Variety," but they've just been eaten by a rabid aardvark. We're going with absurdity. And nothing's more absurd than jamming about eleven billion different franchises together, including stuff that should barely occupy the same shelf let alone the same racetrack, in a heated run to the finish line. You've got moderately human-shaped individuals like Ulala and the Pyro from Team Fortress, next to rather distorted-looking folks like Alex Kidd and NiGHTS, next to strange anthropomorphic animals like Sonic, Tails, and that really creepy monkey from Samba de Amigo. There's Wreck-It Ralph shooting Danica Patrick with a snowball, while the dude from Football Manager sends a remote-control bomb after the other dude from Crazy Taxi. And then everyone's vehicles turn into boats or planes. I'd say that scene qualifies, rather beautifully, as "absurd." I'd also say that I'd love to stop writing this and play more of it. Hopefully, those five seconds of footage were sufficient to clue you in as to the sheer crazyness that this game thrives on. If not, I don't know how my words could bridge that gap. You just have to be willing to accept a pink hedgehog driving through huge luchador statues, dropping explosive blowfish in her wake, before ramping out of a nightclub-themed area, transforming her car into a boat in midair, and taking off down a sluice. That's all there is to it. The "Transformed" in the title refers to that very act of midair modification, where vehicles can adapt to the land, sea, or sky depending on which big, glowing blue ring you manage to pilot through. And before you ask, yes, that does sound a whole lot like Diddy Kong Racing. But Diddy Kong Racing never had Knuckles taking on a drifting challenge through the middle of Shibuya (a much more upbeat, Jet Set Radio-styled depiction, mind) or the glitz and glamor of Sonic the Hedgehog's now-obligatory Casino stages. Just watch for stacks of chips as you speed across the roulette table. You've got a slew of challenges to enjoy, from single-race pickup matches to grand prix events to the star-collecting World Tour mode where you can unlock new stages and racers. Besides just racing, you might be called upon to finish a track in 15 seconds (where time spent in Boost mode, either through your collected powerups or the glowy purple segments of track, doesn't count against this time). You might have to go head-to-head with a series of opponents in sequence. You might have to drift on a very particular strip of track... which is easier said than done, as drifting in this game feels very different to the ol' blue-sparks-and-boost you're probably more familiar with. But while the mechanics might feel a bit challenging at times, it's never patently unfair, which is the important part. Sure, you might be getting pounded with weapons while in fifth place, but then you engage All-Star mode and... well, let's just say it's gettin' kinda groovy in here. And I like it. This PC version shares most of the lineup with its console bretheren - save for obvious omissions like Miis and XBox avatars - and even includes a number of new racers above and beyond its counterparts. But prepare to do some fiddling to get the controls to work; if you don't want to be stuck using a keyboard for input (and honestly, who would play a racing game on a keyboard), you might have to convince the game that whatever controller you're using is, in fact, an XBox 360 controller in disguise. Call it tricks picked up from our old friend the Team Fortress spy. Online multiplayer supports up to ten racers at a time, though matchmaking took a heck of a long time and dropouts were plentiful. If you don't want to bother with the interwebs, you can play locally with up to three opponents in good ol' underappreciated split-screen. Man, I missed that. If you're looking for a hardcore racing experience... well, you should've stopped watching as soon as you heard my voice, and CERTAINLY should've stopped when Ulala started to dance. This isn't about getting every detail of some supercar down correctly, it's about levelling up Sega's stable of colorful characters, modifying their strange and often mechanically suspect vehicles, and then sitting down and having fun, either alone or in groups. That's the crux of it. If watching Amy Rose battle the Heavy on the high seas is your idea of fun, then by all means, indulge. And even if it isn't, chances are you'll at least enjoy yourself for a while. That's the important part.