Sonic and the Secret Rings

Sonic and the Secret Rings

Graphics and Sound aside (which are better than your Sonic average), we come to the crux of the matter – the gameplay. More specifically, the controls. The Wii console was built to play games nobody had ever experienced before, and Sonic and the Secret Rings certainly didn’t want to feel left out. There is a transition process you must allow for before you start to appreciate the system in any way.

Despite the fact that there is an extensive tutorial process before you even begin the story, at first you will be a bit clumsy and think it’s a little bit too weird for your liking. Sonic is on rails, and your level of control is limited to moving left and right (tilting the Wii remote) and moving backwards (tilting back). You grind on bars by simply jumping onto them, and to jump you press or hold down the [2] button and then release. The longer you hold, the higher you’ll go, but if you’re running, you’ll slide while you charge and forfeit speed (and some level of control).

While it’s a system that works well, it does have its bugbears. If you shoot past something important, you’ll need to backtrack. Now, moving backwards isn’t exactly easy peasy. The camera is just about perfect for every other purpose in this game, but it doesn’t accomodate for your moving backwards, meaning you can often walk into something without knowing.

Grinding is a particular pain in the arse, particularly when you’re faced with obstacles.

Another grudge is the apparent inability to take pinpoint steps, which can be a pisser if you’re trying to explore a level for collectables like Fire Souls. Additionally, grinding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – you can jump off a grind rail by tilting the Remote left or right (depending on which direction you want to jump off), which is handy if there’s a hazard on your grind rail. Unfortunately, if you tilt to the right the game will sometimes make Sonic leap left and vice versa, in some inexplicable bug that will only irritate if it’s a matter of life and a bottomless pit.

These control issues are usually irritating if you’re quite far into the game and really want to take care while playing to get certain items. Most of the time you can avoid the grinding debacle by holding [2] and jumping off to another rail or avoiding the grind altogether. One way or another, you can find a workaround for these issues (although really you shouldn’t have to).

In terms of actual missions to play, it’s quite a selection. Many missions will be much shorter than the general Story Mission (which is actually the main stage itself with the missions whacked on for longevity), but because of this aren’t too tedious to play. Add to that the fact that Sonic Team decided you should take alternate routes through the stage for various missions and you have a happy Sonic gamer. The missions range from Time Attacks and defeating a certain number of enemies, to completing the stage with 0 Rings and ploughing through a section without even getting damaged. Some of these are hardcore challenges – one particular irritant being Evil Foundry’s Boss Battle – that can really tear your hair out, so be very warned.

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.