TSS@E3 – Hands-on: Sonic Jump Fever

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I wasn’t really a big fan of the original Sonic Jump. It was fairly simplistic and lacked the kind of adrenaline pumping speed I’ve come to expect from Sonic’s 2D efforts. The game also became impossibly hard later on, being very unforgiving of mistakes in the hopes of getting players to spend real world money on power ups and other “cheats”. Since Sonic Jump, Sonic’s mobile efforts have improved immensely, from Christian Whitehead’s stellar retro Sonic ports to better modern Sonic efforts like Sonic Dash. How does the new Sonic Jump sequel, Sonic Jump Fever, stack up to the other, better mobile games Sonic has starred in over the last few years?

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Sonic Jump Fever is definitely an improvement over the original game. Graphically the game looks a lot better, with much more colorful sprites and much more detailed backgrounds. Whereas the old Sonic Jump looks like a cheap fan game, the visuals here look far more like what you would expect from a proper, official Sonic title. These improved graphics are accompanied by much more hectic movement. Whereas Jump could often feel kind of empty, the stages we got to play in Fever where constantly filed with moving enemies, flickies and platforms.

Visuals are nothing without good game play though and in this regard Fever brings some huge improvement to Jump’s formula. Where Jump had a slower pace, focused a lot on vertical movement, and came to a complete stop with every death, Fever flows a lot quicker. The action is constantly moving and between the various orange boost rings and bouncing platforms it’s very easy to keep upward momentum going. Even dying no longer kills the momentum, since the game gives you extra lives in the form of cannons, which immediately launch you back into the air if you miss a platform. Once you run out of lives, the game immediately takes you to the end of the stage instead of giving you a game over screen. Finally, Fever also adds a boost meter, which is fueled by collecting rings and getting combos. Once the boost meter fills up, it automatically activates, blasting Sonic upwards into a massive barrage of rings. This boost meter is a very welcome addition to the Sonic Jump formula, making an already fast game all the more exciting.

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The speed is complimented with a time limit, which can only be increased by reaching ribbon check points placed at set parts of every stage. Much like in old school arcade games, the timer helps to add some urgency to the proceedings, since trying to slow down to collect rings or rescue flickies can end your game in short order. Fever’s stages are also more populated, filled to the brim with enemies, power ups, moving platforms and caged flickies. This really lends the stages a sense of movement and life that the original Sonic Jump lacked. Even the end of the stages are better: instead of a bland sign post, every stage is topped with a platform full of flickies and a hot air balloon that you need to toss them into. Fever also adds new helper chao, which can be found and hatched in the “Chao Forest”. Once hatched, these Chao can assist you in levels, whether it be in collecting rings or defeating enemies.

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All of these improvements culminate in a game that feels much more complete than its predecessor. Everything about it, from the graphics to the level design to the game play, has been improved markedly. That said, I’ve no idea how this game will hold up over the long term. I grew bored of Jump and Dash rather quickly because there wasn’t much to them, and I can’t yet say whether or not the same will happen to Fever. One thing is for sure though: it is a lot better than Jump. It could very well be the best made-for-mobile title Sonic has ever had. I had a lot of fun with it and anyone who’s a fan of the original Sonic Jump will certainly love this title.

6 Comments

  1. Wait, question about this: ” the game immediately takes you to the end of the stage instead of giving you a game over screen”. So say you run out of loves, and you go to the top of the zone, do you automatically pass the zone? If so, that’s a turn off for me as I was hyped when this got announced. I mean really, really hyped.

  2. This reminds me: when is SEGA going to finish Sonic Jump 1?! We’re still missing a level and three playable characters!

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