TSS Review: Sonic Dash (iOS)

Following close in the wake of Sonic Jump, Sonic Dash seems like an obvious choice in format for a portable Sonic game; an endless runner for a hedgehog who is reknowned for running. On this basis, Sonic Dash can be forgiven for being a near carbon-copy of the popular Temple Run… in fact it is slightly surprising SEGA hadn’t thought of this idea earlier!

sonic-dash-art

Sonic Dash sees the player lead-footing it through a never-ending world, collecting rings and popping enemies as you go, whilest trying not to smash Sonic’s teeth in on a low beam or send him to a watery grave. As Sonic’s journey is a neverending one, the aim of the game is to rack up the highest score you can. Sonic can manouvre between three rails (a trait reminiscent of Sonic and the Secret Rings) and can negotiate objects by jumping over or spin-dashing under them. Dash power is generated by collecting rings, which can be used to initiate warp-speed and to avoid particlarly nasty sections. Sure, there’s no story or flashy cut-scenes, but because of that Sonic Dash is a great pick-up / put-down title, and is an ideal time-waster while making a cup of coffee or riding the bus to school or work.

photoDash is a pretty title. Ok, it’s a gorgeous title. The 3D models are all rendered to a high standard, and while the scenery is limited to the Green Hill Zone and Seaside Hill, both environments have a high level of detail to them further enhanced by slick running on the newer generation Apple products. The soundtrack consists of a happy hardcore rendition of Seaside Hill / Ocean Palace (distinctively Sonic R-esque) which while fun to begin with grows rapidly tiresome, you’ll find yourself playing on mute after 10 minutes.

The gameplay is exactly what you want from a title like this; highly addictive. Many gamers will find themselves putting the game down, only to pick it up a few minutes later in an effort to beat your high score – or even more satisfying, your friend’s high scores. The joy of playing this attractive title is unfortunately marred by moments of pure frustration, particularly when runs are ended by cruelly placed enemies hidden behind hurdles, or row upon row of spikes or mines that are virtually impossible to avoid.

Similar to Sonic Jump, the game sets objectives which reward the player with coveted red stars which allow you to purchase lives (in order to continue runs should you fall – what happened to lives?) or to buy other characters such as Tails and Knuckles. Rings collected in each run can be put towards upgrading abilities which assist racking up even higher scores.

photo(2)Unfortunately here lies the real negative point of this game, in that it is a massive cash cow which will wave micro-transactions in front of your nose at every possible opportunity, tempting the player with unlockables. While on one hand this isn’t so bad as extra characters and power-ups can be unlocked through means that don’t require opening your wallet, the challenges that reward you red rings are often extremely time consuming or taxing. Ring collecting is also tediously slow, and thus the in-game store offers a double ring perk…which costs more to buy than the game itself. Considering the target audience for Sonic titles are younger people, it seems hardly fair to dangle these offers in their faces – especially as scoring seems to scale with progression of challenges.

The consequence of this is that the longevity of this title is likely going to be proportional to the amount of money you are willing to invest in it, with few willing to spend £35 to unlock the full experience from the get-go.

While Sonic Dash is a pretty little time-waster with solid, silky gameplay, it is apparent that it has been designed in order to milk as much money out of the player as possible. If you can resist the urge to blow your paycheck in one go on perks, then I recommend you head to the iTunes store and get this game downloaded. But heed the warning; if you want it all and you want it now, Sonic Dash will take all of your ‘Sonic cash’.

THE FINAL WORD

YOU’LL LOVE
+ The happy hardcore soundtrack.
+ The beautiful backgrounds and stages.
+ The addictive gameplay.
+ Trying to beat your friend’s high score.

YOU’LL HATE
– More than ten minutes of happy hardcore soundtrack.
– Cruelly placed obstacles that end your high score run.
– The time consuming challenges you’ll need to complete in order to unlock characters.
– Being hassled to buy ‘extras’.

Sonic Dash is available for download on the iTunes store for £1.49 / $1.99

Published by

Adam Tuff

With a decade under his belt, Adam is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Adam is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.

30 Comments

  1. Seems about right to me. I really hope they get enough complaints about the greedy design to change it.

  2. According to forum members on the SSMB, it’s actually impossible to unlock the alternate characters without spending some money. Apparently you can unlock Amy, but that is if you don’t spend the rings on powerups/1-ups.

    I really hope this game gets updated. I’m having buyer’s remorse here. Extremely limited and a big cash cow. Premium price + Premium Microtransactions? …ugh

    1. “Happy Hardcore” is an actual genre, he’s not saying it’s a “Hardcore” soundtrack that is happy.

      I’m no expert but the handful of happy hardcore songs I’ve heard are pretty similar to this game’s soundtrack.

    2. It’s switches to D&B t some point, yes, but the remainder has all the traits of hardcore/dance e.g. high BPM etc…

    3. Yeah, I wouldn’t call it happy hardcore. The bit of Gammer you posted was a good example of what is. Also the soundtrack to ‘Techno Kitten Adventure’, ironically. It seems the general public are pretty confused over the hard dance style genres lol.

  3. I don’t think it is possible to get all the characters unlocked without spending money either. Yeah, I got Amy, but now I am already out of missions and there is nothing else I can do except upgrade the rest of my abilities. It isn’t even that great playing as Amy because you are almost always caught off guard by, I’ll just say, interesting camera angles of her… if you know what I mean.
    I can avoid buying those stupid extras normally, but when it comes to characters, it is a hard thing to evade because some of us would do anything to play as our favorite characters. I really hope when it says that new missions are coming soon, it means it. Also, from what I’ve heard, all characters are clones of Sonic and no one has unique abilities so it really doesn’t make sense that they enforce you to pay actual money for hardly any difference in game play. This is my main problem with the game, everything else is fine.

    1. I personally would have expected Tails to fly, Knuckles to glide (both useful for crossing gaps), and Amy to knock enemies/obstacles out of the way with her hammer. Maybe with the next update.

  4. Petition for this game for Windows Phone 8! I heartily urge any WP8 users to email Sega and ask for this game.

  5. Yes all characters are copies of Sonic!! It seems unfair I had to spend money to get characters who are just carbon copies of Sonic… Still I love playing as Tails and Knuckles but Amy….she’s odd! They should have replaced her with Shadow.

  6. The animation of this game gives me a weird feeling.. Anyone unlocked Amy? She just flaps her arms around. It looks fucking stupid.

    Great game btw.

  7. Great review T-bird, hit the nail right on the head. It takes so long to save up your red coins. Has anyone unlocked a second character yet?

  8. I wish I had a device I could play this game on, that’s for sure! But all in all the game looks really fun and has great graphics~ (Also I like the title, maybe they should have implemented Rainbow Dash into it cause of the title including Dash, I dunno XD)

    1. This is like the third or fourth time I’ve seen someone mention Rainbow Dash because this game is called “Sonic Dash”.

      *sigh* Why? Just why?

      1. THANK YOU SANE PERSON.
        I agree, why must they babble their ponies on something totally unrelated? Sure, Dash, big deal, it’s just a fucking word. A Pokémon fan could go on about Pokémon Dash and Sonic Dash, but most of us don’t give a shit. Gah, I’m starting to see why they’re called: The Cancer of the Internet. T_T This is Sonic time not pony time! >~<

        Off topic here, this game was really good! =D

    1. What drawings? Do you mean the CG renders, or the screenshots? Either way, they look perfectly fine. Sonic’s mouth on the logo art looks a bit wonky, but it’s still a decent render.

  9. “…Sonic Dash can be forgiven for being a near carbon-copy of the popular Temple Run…”

    Actually, the first time I played Temple Run, it reminded me of Sonic games. 🙂

  10. Doodle Jump genre –> Sonic Jump
    Temple Run genre –> Sonic Dash
    Angry Birds genre –> ???

  11. Is the writer serious? I downloaded this game for free, and have not spent a penny. There is no need to. If you are good at these temple run type of games, this game plays itself out in 1-2 weeks. The missions are extremely easy and I have had “New Missions Coming Soon!” For a week now. After you beat the missions, the game is no longer fun. Found this page searching to see if they were ever going to add new missions. If you play 10-20 minutes a day and get the 4 puzzle pieces each day, by day five you get random spin to get lots of goodies. I think it is rigged though, because all 3 times I’ve been able to do this, I’ve gotten “10 super head start”‘s which is pretty dumb. I bought Knuckles with 60 red rings and thought I would have new missions but nOPE! Pretty lame. I can imagine anyone would spend money on this game. I think they are just trying to get lucky with some 4 year olds wanting some extra coins. Overall this game is fun for 2 weeks max. Now it will stay unused on my iPhone for 1-2 weeks to see if they add more missions. If not, byebye Sonic Dash 🙁

  12. UPDATE
    I rolled for the 4th time today. Guess what I got? 10 SUPER HEAD STARTS!!! This game is rigged and it’s garbage. To me the game loses all it’s fun potential when it’s rigged. For one, the in-game is rigged too. If you lose your rings while running, the next “?” Bubble will be a 50 or 100 coin bubble. If you never lose your coins, the most it will ever be is 20, and that’s rare, most of the time it’s a 10 or magnet. I have a feeling that if you have made in-app purchases, it will probably let you roll the actual goodies. Or maybe it makes you get head starts for the first 5 tries or something. I am going to keep playing to get the puzzle pieces everyday to see if I ever get anything. I assume the next one it will let me get is the “revive” bundle. Then back to head starts again, then maybe the 20 red coins. I bet it will take at least 2 weeks to get tails. I’m going to do this experiment and post back here with results. I’m very disappointed with this game, at least Temple Run has a couple challenges that take FOREVER just so you have something to shoot for. We will see. Can someone else state if they have gotten to the roll and their results? It’s obvious to me, but maybe if someone can confirm it happens to them too it will be a true scientific experiment. NOTE: I never spend red rings or coins on anything besides upgrades and saved the red rings (never used any) to buy Knuckles. Which could also have an effect like the ? Bubbles in the game. Maybe if I wasted a bunch of them I would roll something different. Comment people!

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