Sonic CE Statue Contains An Actual LED Light And Can Be Modded to Work.

A twitter user by the name of Jojo has discovered that if you open up the Genesis/Mega Drive stand of the Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition statue, there is an actual LED light in the display! (NOTE: Doing so would void any warranty you might have on it.) What’s more, you can make it work! The tiny circuit board for the “SEGAAA!” sound includes two holes marked “LED”. All you need is a bit of copper wiring and a screwdriver. You can check how he did it on Jojo’s Twitter page, but man! What an easy mod! It makes you wonder though. Sega seemed to back out of the LED light working at the last minute. Why?

 

Sonic Talk 46: Comic Con Carne

In this month’s episode, Jason talks about his trip to the San Diego Comic Con and we discuss all of the big Sonic news that happened during the event along with recent news, including some Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces discussion, Archie’s Sonic cancellation, IDW’s Sonic acquisition and much, much more! Continue reading Sonic Talk 46: Comic Con Carne

TSS Review: The Sounds of Sonic Concert (With Video Highlights!)

On Thursday, July 20th in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront, I witnessed a concert by Sonic fans, for Sonic fans. A rocking music extravaganza with trumpets, saxophones, guitars, drums a keyboard and a lot of passion. It’s obvious that Shoto Nakama wanted to create something special and he truly has.

It started off with the usual stuff. Sound tests, followed by a ton of trailers. There was a funny moment as I watched Jun Senoue hanging out on the side, head-banging to his own tune, “Infinite’s Theme”.

The first song off the bat is of course, “Green Hill Zone”. The saxophone and trumpets really added a jazzy vibe to this classic tune. The video screens off to the side were showing off the original classic along with a bit of the level from Generations. Next, we go from the first Sonic tune, to one of the newest, Studiopolis! It’s cool hearing an instrumental version of a tune almost entirely programmed digitally and it’s done really well.

Next up, the lead singer, Dave Ross came onto the stage along with Crush 40’s own Jun Senoue. Now this was a rock concert! “Live and Learn” was the first tune up and they really rocked it. Dave shows a strong passion in his singing and a great range as well. Especially since the next song up was “Believe in Myself”. A song originally done by female singer Karen Brake, was sung by Dave himself and he did a surprisingly faithful version.

I gotta say this about Dave. He really knew how to work the crowd and was full of energy. When he wasn’t rocking out onstage, he was constantly jumping off the stage and running around into the crowd, giving out high-fives and making damn sure that the audience was having a great time.

Next up was “Endless Possibility” which must have been a favorite for the band as it was also the encore of the night. Dave was incredibly into it and seem to really love the number. After that, it was “Reach
For The Stars”. It was great hearing a number normally done mostly in chiptune and tonebox done with full instruments and vocals. Another great highlight of the night. They followed that up with “Escape From The City” which Dave seem to take as something he wanted the audience to do as he jumped off the stage, running around the large crowd. After fooling around for a bit and having Jun do a VERY short guitar solo, they went into “It Doesn’t Matter”, a song that fit Dave’s vocal range very well. The concert wrapped up with another performance of “Endless Possibility”.

All in all, this was a fantastic concert. The people onstage were full of energy and passion for the music they were playing and that passion was absorbed by the crowd watching. Dave Ross had a great vocal range and the performance of a true rock star. They asked if they’d like to see this concert tour close to a town near you. Hell yes, I would! I’ve seen a lot of Sonic concert performances (mostly Crush 40) and this was by far the best one. If they turn this into a full tour, don’t miss it!

Sonic Mania: Behind the Scenes Panel from San Diego Comic Con

Check out the Sonic Mania panel at 2017 to get all the details we couldn’t cover! Join host Aaron Webber with guests, Takashi Iizuka, Christian Whitehead, Tee Lopes, Tom Fry, and Simon Thomley as we get more details on what went into this game.Get the full scoop on the game, check out some wacky glitches and the fan Q&A it’s all here! Continue reading Sonic Mania: Behind the Scenes Panel from San Diego Comic Con

Sonic Talk 45: E3 Mania

Join Alex, Jason and GX as they discuss all the happenings at this year’s E3. Alex and Jason were at the show and they discuss their hands-on with Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, their time at Sonic Revolution and Alex’s first trip to Disneyland. We also talk about ARMS, Sega Forever, Sonic Runners Adventure and more! It’s out most jam-packed podcast yet, so listen in and enjoy!

Sonic Forces: Soundtrack Style Is Character Dependent

During a recent interview with Playstation at E3, SEGA Community Manager Aaron Webber revealed that each character in Sonic Forces (Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic and “the Rookie”) will have their own unique soundtrack style. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Soundtrack Style Is Character Dependent

Sonic Forces E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

At the front of Sega’s booth at E3, there were two different lines; one queue was for Sonic Mania, while the other, about half the length, was Sonic Forces. The crowds definitely seemed more excited for one over the other. Have Sonic’s recent flops affected fan’s love for modern Sonic titles, or is there enough love for both the modern era and a fun romp through the golden age? More importantly, has Sonic Team learned from the mistakes of it’s past?

First off, it should be noted that this game doesn’t try to experiment with new game types – it’s a back-to-basics formula of what worked in Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors (the better received 3-D Sonic games since SA2) and building on that. For the first time in a long time, Sega is playing it safe. Do you want me to tell you how modern Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like modern Sonic. Do you want to hear how classic Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like classic Sonic. If there are any slight differences, I didn’t notice them myself.

The new game mode is played with the avatar, a character you create and referred to as “the rookie” throughout the game. You decide how the character looks and what species he/she is. I believe you buy extra gear for your character through both common gold and red star rings, thus giving a reason for you to replay levels and giving the game a whole “carrot on a stick” feel (although I’m guessing this seeing as how you can no longer regain any rings you lose). This makes some boss battles more challenging as me and Alex watched one poor soul who just couldn’t seem to beat Eggman during the classic Sonic boss fight.

During our play through of the demo, our avatar was generated completely at random; sometimes I’d get a purple cat, other times a black bunny, and there are videos on youtube of some playing as the red wolf from the trailer. Before you enter the level, you’re given the choice between two different “Wispons”, a wisp-powered weapon. A flamethrower Wispon allows you to use the burst wisps to project your character higher into the air, while the other weapon, a lightning whip, allows the player to execute the light speed dash and quickly follow a trail of rings. There were two different stages in the demo depending on the system: the Nintendo Switch got a level very similar to modern Sonic’s stage, in which you eventually travel a slightly different path, and I found this level to be the most fun level in the demo. He/she can use their grappling hook to swing up to higher paths or attack robots via a homing attack. Alternatively, you can also use your Wispon to bring down a whole group of robots all at once. The Switch level was fast, visceral and overall, fun. This was mainly due to going through the levels a breakneck speeds only stopping to attack your enemies, with no real emphasis on platforming.

…And that’s where the PS4 level comes in to play. Oh boy.

The level sees the player racing down the Green Hill zone as it appears to be undergoing industrialization, while being chased down by a giant robot crab while smaller robot crabs try to squash you along the way. This level is entire 2-D and requires precise platforming to get through – if you read Alex’s take on the avatar character, you’ll have some appreciation for why this is a bad thing. The physics while jumping with the avatar doesn’t feel right, and it is almost impossible to turn in mid air; small platforms throughout the stage make playing the level a bit of a chore rather than fun. However if this issue can be remedied for release, then the Avatar mode could be the best new gimmick yet avatar controls much like Sonic. Personally, I don’t want to fish, I don’t want to brawl, I don’t want to pilot a mech. I want my extra character to control like Sonic as I think that is what works best in a Sonic title! It seems that Sonic Team are really investing in the avatar stages, embellished with vocal songs that are only present in their stages. These stages have the potential to be the best stages on the Switch version of the game, and if they can nail the physics, this is looking like it could be a top-tier 3-D Sonic game.

I managed to play the demo on all 3 systems, and one thing I noticed was that PS4 version of the demon was playing on the PS4 Pro…and it showed. The 1080P graphics looked incredible, and were of similar caliber to Sonic Generations on the PC with ultra-high settings. The XBox One version looked to have been running at 720P as it seemed lower resolution; this might be due to anti-aliasing and as Alex mentioned in his article. The Switch version, while still very detailed, appeared to suffer the most graphically and seemed to be at 720 or sub-720P with jagged edges due to no anti-aliasing.

Physics aside, Sonic Forces is looking to be a solid, above average Sonic title. I think Sonic Team have made the right choice to stick to proven game styles, with the new gimmick being pretty much “Sonic with weapons”. I doubt it will beat Sonic Mania in reviews or sales, but still, it appears we are getting two great Sonic games in one year.

Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

I have a confession to make. I was never a huge fan of Sonic Retro. I’d lurk on their forums from time to time and I thought they tended to act a bit arrogant and cocky at times. They’d say that they could make a much better Sonic game than Sega. “Right!” I thought to myself. “A bunch of amateurs make a better game than veteran programmers? Bah!” However, Sonic Mania, lead by Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, is proof that it wasn’t arrogance, but the truth. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take

Sonic Talk 44: Schrodinger’s Sonic

Right now, Archie Sonic is much like Schrodinger’s Cat. Until we get an official confirmation, he is both cancelled and not-cancelled. In this week’s Sonic Talk, we discuss Sonic’s apparent comic cancellation and what this means for the future of non-game Sonic media. We also discuss what recent games we’ve been playing and the flat level design of the Green Hill Zone in Sonic Forces. All that, and more so stay tuned! Sadly, this was recorded just before the news broke about the third character. Continue reading Sonic Talk 44: Schrodinger’s Sonic

Sonic Talk 43: Switching Forces

In this month’s Sonic Talk, it’s all about the Nintendo Switch. We go into our obsession with Zelda and our overall thoughts on the system. We then discuss the upcoming Sonic Forces along with the fact that Sonic Boom seems to only be on Boomerang now. This and a whole lot more. Just strap it to your veins! Continue reading Sonic Talk 43: Switching Forces

Knuckles, Amy Rose and the Chaotix Confirmed for Sonic Forces

A lot of different news on Sonic Forces has been dropping these past 24 hours, and now word from Game Informer is that Knuckles, Amy Rose and the Chaotix can be heard communicating to Sonic on the chaos going on near them via radio. This likely puts them as NPC characters rather than playable, but they are in the game in some form. Still, “Forces” usually implies armies of some sort, so it’s possible the game has characters set in groups, but that’s just a theory.

Sonic Forces will be out this holiday season on PC, Switch, Xbox One and PS4

Shun Nakamura is The Producer On Sonic Forces

If Sonic Forces is leaving you with a bit of a Sonic ’06 vibe, what with it’s burning, apocalyptic cities and all, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the producer of Sonic Forces is none other than Shun Nakamura, the director on Sonic ’06 as well as Samba De Amigo, Billy Hatcher and The Giant Egg and the well-reviewed, but often overlooked, Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure. Nakamura himself posted his involvement on his Twitter account.

This news comes just shortly after the game’s title reveal as well as the announcement that Tomoya Ohtani will be composing the game’s music. An official gameplay reveal video is expected to arrive sometime tomorrow.

Sonic Forces is due on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One this holiday season.

Is It Time For The Sonic Franchise To Let Go Of Archie Comics?

We’ve been down this road last year. Delays, rumors of cancellations, ACTUAL cancellations (Mega Man, Sonic Boom) and a publisher that seems to be doing everything it possibly can to stay relevant while rumors of fighting and inner turmoil are going on within it’s offices. With a ton of characters that can no longer be used, a world that was reset but not fully rebooted and with Archie no longer allowing subscriptions to either Sonic books, we may be seeing the end of an era. But the question is….could this be a good thing? Is it time for the Sonic franchise to leave Archie and be refreshed with a new publisher?

Reason #1: Archie is focusing on Archie

Archie’s primary focus right now is on the Archie brand itself. The reboot of the Archie series using a more modern comic art style and shifting away from the classic look (outside of digests) has actually been fairly successful for them. Archie, Jughead and other books are now outselling Sonic rather than the other way around and their profits are up. Not only that, but they’re heavily focused on promoting the new CW show “Riverdale” based on the Archie characters which had a soft, but decent debut in the ratings, but has been slowly dropping since. Because of this, it seems like Sonic is taking a back seat to their top brand.

Reason #2: Past creators and lawsuits

Without naming very obvious names, Archie comics can’t use a large amount of past Sonic characters because of legal issues. This is main reason for the soft reboot of the series three years ago. In some cases, I believe those creators to be in the wrong. While in other cases, I feel them to be very much in the right. Let’s be honest, Archie hasn’t  exactly done right by a lot of former creators, including the one they took their classic art style from. And just when you think everything’s been all settled and done, another creator comes in, staking a claim. Then there’s Archie offering reprints of old issues featuring creator-owned characters online which has caused even more controversy. At this point, it may be better for Archie to let Sonic go and avoid the hassle.

Reason #3: It’s gotten a bit stale

Now, this is just my personal opinion (and I know I’m gonna get a ton of comments on this one). When the first Mega Man/Sonic crossover was done, Archie did a soft reboot of Sonic with a long, long, too friggin’ long story known as “The World Adventure”, based off of the game “Sonic Unleashed”. For three full years, from September of 2013 up to October of 2016, we have been going through one very long story line with branching arcs along the way to build up a new world with new lands and new characters.

And at times, it was starting to bore me.

Here’s the thing: when I first heard about the soft reboot, I was elated! Finally, a chance to get rid of all the excess baggage and back story that has dragged down the book over time. We could focus on the main SegaSonic cast and build up their own back stories while slowly showing some new lands in this new world. While we were introduced to new worlds, we were also introduced to a lot of new characters with their own back stories. Suddenly, the world was cluttered again. SegaSonic already has a ton of characters, did we really need to have a bunch of new ones? I love some of the new arcs (“Champions” was fantastic) and some of the new characters like Thunderbolt and Relic, but after twenty years of Sonic traveling the globe to keep the Acorn kingdom safe, this was the opportunity to take the series in a bold new direction and instead, it does its best to fill the void of old characters as quickly as possible while telling an over-arching story that takes three…..years to finish. It may be new, but it doesn’t feel very fresh. This is no fault of writer Ian Flynn or the very talented artists, it  just feels to me like it’s been going in circles for a long, long time.

So if rumors hold up and Archie lets go of the Sonic license, where should Sonic go? There only two real choices Sega should take IMO.

Boom Studios

Boom has not only done some of their own kid-friendly indie titles like the Lumberjanes, but Cartoon Network’s biggest properties like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Regular Show and classic Sunday funnies franchises like Garfield and Peanuts. While I don’t know how well Sonic would do here, I could see Sega splitting the franchises and adding Sonic Boom with the Cartoon Network lineup. That said, I think there’s only one true place for Sonic after Archie and that’s…

IDW

Home of: Godzilla (okay, not kid-friendly but I love Godzilla), Skylanders, My Little Pony, Star Trek, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Disney Comics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more, IDW has some of the biggest franchises under the sun with some of the best talent working in comics today! This right here is where I’d like to see the Sonic franchise head with a new take and a fresh perspective, Both Boom and IDW tend to sell better in direct markets than Archie nowadays and think of the possible crossovers! Just surfing the forums alone, I know there’s probably a ton of people out there that would love to see a Sonic/My Little Pony Crossover. Heck, how about Sonic and crew visiting Spyro and the world of Skylanders?

The Sonic comic franchise had been around for over twenty years and deserves better than to be constantly delayed, have subscriptions halted and be tied up in lawsuits. In my opinion, it’s time for Sonic to break free of Archie and run a blazing trail on fresh, new ground.

Sonic Talk 42: The End of Archie Sonic?

Our first all video episode! Stare in despair at Jason’s fat mug and incredibly messy room! Delight at GX’s poor haircut and massive Wii/WiiU collection! Watch as……Alex is too shy to show his face, so he just appears as an icon of Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. Continue reading Sonic Talk 42: The End of Archie Sonic?

Sonic Talk 41: How Are The Puppies Having Puppies?!!

What kind of crazy world does Sonic Boom belong to where less than a week old puppies can be impregnated and give birth?!! A sick, #$@%ed-up world, that’s what!! Join GX, Jason and Alex (who’s too dang far from his mic so I apologize for his audio in advance) as they discuss the new 2nd season of Sonic Boom, the other animated series based on a video game Skylanders Academy, new Sonic merchandise, Jason’s trip to the Playstation Experience, Titanfall 2, Pokemon Sun and Moon and much, much more! Continue reading Sonic Talk 41: How Are The Puppies Having Puppies?!!

Sonic Talk Episode 40

For our 40th episode, we decided to treat you to an extra special episode by having NO Alex Peal! Yaaaay! (Alex is gonna kill me.) Instead, we have GX Echidna and Jason discussing Shin Godzilla, Skylanders Imaginators, Jason’s hands-on of  the Mario and Sonic Rio Olympics arcade machine, our opinions on Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice and much more! Continue reading Sonic Talk Episode 40

See Dr. Eggman Take on The Ghostbusters in Lego Dimensions

UPDATE: Check out the newly uploaded video after the cut which shows the battle in a different way, complete with Sonic Adventure boss music and even ghost Badniks!

ORIGINAL STORY: One of the things I love about Lego Dimensions is that they constantly merge the franchises they have license to as much as possible. If you haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters movie, there’s an action sequence where they have to take down some giant, haunted parade balloons. In the game, two of the balloons have been replaced with the Ice King from Adventure Time and Dr. Eggman. Watch the Ghostbusters take down the balloon Dr. Eggman with the help of a balloon Sonic in the video above!

Continue reading See Dr. Eggman Take on The Ghostbusters in Lego Dimensions

Sonic Talk 39: Stuffed Full of Cheese

 

This podcast was (not) brought to you by Totino’s!

Alex takes over hosting duties this month as we talk about our trip to the Sonic 25th Anniversary celebration and San Diego Comic Con along with our impressions of Sonic Mania, along with our thoughts on Project 2017 and Sonic in Lego Dimensions and our thoughts on Sonic Mega Drive from Archie comics. We only focus on one major topic this week so this episode is mercifully shorter than usual. Enjoy!

Sonic Talk 38: A Song of Fire and Ice

Join Jason, Alex and GX as they discuss Mighty No. 9 and Mario and Sonic Wii U. Then, Jason and Alex discuss their experiences at Sonic Revolution and this years E3 along with their opinions of Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice We end the show with Sonic Producer, Chibilola answering your Twitter questions! Lots of good stuff in this episode so give it a good listening! Continue reading Sonic Talk 38: A Song of Fire and Ice

E3 2016: Sonic Boom Fire & Ice Preview, Jason’s Take

“A delayed game is eventually good. A bad game is bad forever.” – Shigeru Miyamoto

While these words aren’t necessarily true (just look at Duke Nukem Forever), a delayed game with the purpose of fixing it’s issues can only make a better game. Such seems to be the case with Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. A game originally scheduled for November 2015 that looked like it might be just a slight improvement over the original, but nothing major. Fast forward 8 months later and lo and behold, we seem to have a pretty good game on our hands. Continue reading E3 2016: Sonic Boom Fire & Ice Preview, Jason’s Take

E3 2016: Interview With Aaron Webber

Yesterday, I sat down in a quiet location of E3 with the master of memes himself, Aaron Webber. We discussed a little bit of Sonic Revolution, Sonic in Lego Dimensions, but mostly Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. You’ll hear about improvements made due to the delay, the trailer cutscene, the length of the game and much, more! So please watch and enjoy. Continue reading E3 2016: Interview With Aaron Webber

Mystery of New Animation in Sonic Boom Fire and Ice Solved

You may have seen the new Sonic Boom Fire and Ice E3 trailer and seen a brand new cartoon scene mixed in with cuts from the first season. Many speculated that this new spot consisting of Sonic and Amy using teamwork together was from the “totally not confirmed” second season. Not so! Continue reading Mystery of New Animation in Sonic Boom Fire and Ice Solved

Sonic Talk 37: Bubsy Modded

In this month’s Sonic Talk, join Jason, Alex and GX Echidna as they discuss the Ratchet and Clank movie, Star Fox Zero, the Lego Dimensions Sonic rumor, Jon Gray leaving Archie comics, Sonic conventions, the new Sega Genesis hub with mod support on Steam (while driving Alex nuts about Bubsy mods) and…Sonic facial Cream? Continue reading Sonic Talk 37: Bubsy Modded

Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Inducted Into The Video Game Hall of Fame

Sonic the Hedgehog has now been put in the accolades of fellow major video game franchises such as Pac-Man, Super Mario and Zelda. Today, Sonic the Hedgehog has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame. With Sonic being well known for his speed, it didn’t take long for Sonic to reach the Hall of Fame that’s now celebrating it’s second year. Here’s the announcement from the official site. Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Inducted Into The Video Game Hall of Fame

Colleen O’Shaughnessey to Appear at Sonic Revolution

Voice actress Colleen O’Shaughnessey is the latest guest to be added to the Sonic Revolution Convention being held at the Holiday Inn LAX Ballroom on June 12. Colleen is well known as the voice of Tails, Charmy Bee and Zooey from Sonic Boom. Colleen is the latest in a large guest line up that keeps growing and growing! Continue reading Colleen O’Shaughnessey to Appear at Sonic Revolution

TSS Review: Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (3DS)

The biannual bash of gaming’s top titans is here again and it’s a far more enjoyable fare than a certain recent movie featuring two other huge fictional rivals. Mario and Sonic return to the Olympics with their biggest roster ever and a surprisingly meaty single-player experience. However, with this being the fifth outing for this mascot sports series, is it too much of the “same-old, same-old”, or is there enough meat in the portable outing to be worth a purchase? Continue reading TSS Review: Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (3DS)

Mike Pollock to Appear as a Guest at Sonic Revolution

Voice actor (and possible serial killer going by the profile picture I chose – after the jump) Mike Pollock will be at Sonic Revolution. The first of the trifecta of Sonic conventions hitting this summer. The others being the Sonic 25th Anniversary party in July and Summer of Sonic in August. Continue reading Mike Pollock to Appear as a Guest at Sonic Revolution

Hands On: Sonic Blast Ball

While entertaining my Canadian cousin last week, we got in a game of Bowling at Round 1 in Puente Hills, California. Round 1 is a Japanese owned franchise of arcades in America that carry the latest and great games straight from Japan. While checking out some Sega UFO catchers, the sight of a certain blue hedgehog immediately caught my eye. Of course, that being the brand new Sonic Blast Ball. Continue reading Hands On: Sonic Blast Ball

Sonic Talk 36: Super Talk Bros

An episode 24 years in the making! But not really. Join Alex, GX and Jason as they talk about Yo-Kai Watch and Street Fighter 5 in “Stuff talk”. We also talk about the long lost SegaSonicBros arcade prototype, the Sonic movie coming in 2018 and why are Sonic comics facing such huge delays. All this, a comedy segment with GX and Reef from Spindash and more! Continue reading Sonic Talk 36: Super Talk Bros

Sonic Talk Episode 35: Jolly Holly Hedgehog

Merry Christmas from Sonic Talk!

While I have dreams of lightsabers dancing in my head (this was recorded on Dec 17 so I was pretty anxious to go see Star Wars), Alex and GX talk all things Xenoblade while I zone out. Then, We discuss the latest game from Yuji Naka “Rodea the Sky Soldier”. Other topics include Sonic Boom DVD coming to the UK, updates for Sonic Dash 2 and Sonic Runners, my opinion of Sonic Lost World on PC and much more! Merry Christmas and a Happy Life Day!

Dr. Eggman Takes Over Sonic The Hedgehog’s Twitter

EggmanTwitter

Dr. Eggman. Evil super genius, Grammy award winner and Fuzzy Puppy gaming pro has taken over Sonic’s Twitter account. The menacing mustachioed mastermind hacked his way onto Twitter and into our hearts with several replies and tweets to Archie comics and Roger Craig Smith,  all the way to our own Adam Tuff with a shoutout to our site! So head on over to Son-er…I mean, Dr. Eggman’s Twitter account and ask him a question. He may even leave an audio reply! All hail the great Eggman Empire!!

Hee! Hee! Eggman’s burst through the image gave Tails a mustache. How apropo.

TSS Review: Sonic Dash 2 Sonic Boom

Sonic Dash 2

If there’s one thing Sonic Dash 2 has, it’s an uphill battle to prove itself as a high quality mobile game. Not only does it have to live up to the original Sonic Dash, a highly successful Sonic mobile game with over 140 million downloads and a large cast of SegaSonic characters, but it has to rise above the stench left by Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Has Hardlight Studios made a true successor to the original, or has the Boom curse hit once again?

Hardlight does a lot to make Sonic Dash 2 differentiate from it’s predecessor while using the same basic controls. You still swipe left and right to change lanes, swipe up to jump, swipe down to spindash and double tap to do a dash once you dash meter is full. You also have random missions to complete just as the first, but that’s about it. If there’s one thing Sonic Dash 2 does well, it’s packs a lot of originality into a genre that’s been done to death.

Sonic Dash 2.1
Not all at once though. This fake screenshot is misleading.

The first thing you’ll notice is that after you get an extra character (Amy or Knuckles very early on), you can switch to that character after going into a cave and banking some rings. This way, you can play up to three characters in one run. Each character also has their own attributes. Sonic is a ring magnet when Dashing, Knuckles can ground-pound enemies to help build up combos, Amy can turn enemies into rings while dashing, Sticks keeps enemy combos from breaking if you get hit and Tails gets you an extra revive. These can be important depending on what events or missions you’ll be taking on.

Speaking of Events and Missions, there’s a lot here to keep you coming back. Missions are constant little goals you can do in the regular part of the game for rewards. Mostly easy goals like “jump 25 times times in one run” or “smash 20 robots”. You can play in mission mode pretty much all day with no limits on lives so you can work on your high score. Pretty generous compared to what you get from other “free to Play” games. Event mode is limited as you need tickets to play, but it tends to pay out bigger rewards. When in this mode, you can to spend an event ticket to take on a challenge. You are usually limited to 4 tickets, but more are earned through time. These events can take awhile to accomplish, but there’s usually mini-goals along the way. For instance, you might have to bank 2500 rings. This is a big task, but you get rewarded with prizes for hitting 10% of the goal, 25%, 40% and so on. There’s also the daily event of Score Chaser. This is where your global score really matters. The better your score or the closer you are to reaching your event goal, the higher your prize is.

Need help with event goals or high scores? Call in the sprites. Everyday, you will get at least one sprite you can use either by checking in daily or getting them as prizes for finishing events. Sprites are basically the same as the Chao you get in games like Sonic Runners or Sonic Jump (Since Sonic Boom is a spin-off, I guess they decided to go with different creatures.) Sprites can be either a one time use, or permanent ones you can upgrade and evolve. One time use sprites can do things such as give you an extra revive or double your score bonus while permanent sprites will give you smaller boosts you can upgrade such as building the dash bar faster or enerbeams appearing twice as often. Once you’ve upgraded a sprite, you can evolve it further by combining three sprites together into one. Although initially, you can only use one sprite at a time, you can add up to two more by spending red rings. Sprites are great for offering a bonus towards goals and can be a great way to add strategy to your gameplay.

EnerbeamBut enough of the minute details, how does the game play? Well it plays a lot like Sonic Dash. Duh!

Okay, okay, there’s a bit more to it than that of course. While you do the usual bit of dodging left to right, jumping over obstacles and spindashing enemies, you also have a new game play moment where you can swing on your enerbeams and collect rings and dash orbs high in the air. This part offers a different set of controls as you tilt your device left and right to collect the bits. It’s a short diversion but a very welcome change of pace even if brief.

The one thing I’ll say is that it seems like it gets more difficult quicker than the previous Sonic Dash. About three levels in you’ll be having to quickly dodge trees and watch out for charging Motobugs. (I think this is the first time in the Sonic franchise where Motobugs have been a real threat.) But don’t feel discouraged. Leveling up your characters and sprites will help balance out the difficulty and help you towards a nice, high score.

You say “That’s all very well and good Jason, but what about the economy in the game”? Don’t worry Sonic Runners players, you won’t be abused here. First, let’s discuss red rings. At first, they are given out pretty generously since the game wants you to buy your first character right away. You have your choice between Amy or Knuckles at 30 rings each while Sticks is 50 rings and Tails with his extra revive ability, is an expensive 70 rings. After a short while, red rings will be harder and harder to come by, but not so much that you feel cheated. Usually, you can find at least one red ring on the field every time you play the game (just keep a lookout or you can accidentally pass it up). You’ll also get red rings on occasion for doing missions, events and just playing each day. In fact, if you play it frequent enough, you should have the entire cast within a month of playing. But red rings are for more than just characters. You can spend 15 rings to add an extra slot for a sprite or to top out your upgraded character. You can also spend red rings on revives if you’ve run out of ads to watch. As of right now, it’s a pretty fair economy. You can spend $5 for 28 rings or $20 for 130 rings. That’s enough rings to get you the other 3 characters available right away! That’s a better offer than a half dozen or more chances on a roulette wheel and possibly ending up with nothing. Plus, it never feels like you HAVE to buy these rings. As I’ve said before, the amount you earn is gradual, but fair.

TailsDashThe one thing where Hardlight is really pushing you to buy is the “Boom Boost”. For $1.99, you can add an extra revive, more chances at sprites and up to 6 tickets for events. A very good deal if it was permanent, but sadly it only lasts a week and then you’d have to pay again. It gets annoying as they advertise this to your face quite a bit. However, I always believe you should support a FTP game if you enjoy it, so I’d recommend trying it at least once. There are definitely worse deals out there.

While I’m finding the game pretty enjoyable and the events addicting, there are some negative points I’d like to address. Please note that much like the original Sonic Dash, any nitpicks I have now could possibly be fixed in the near future as these games tend to evolve and improve greatly over time (unless that game is called “Sonic Runners”).

First off is the graphics. While it can be highly detailed (especially in the backgrounds), the cost is a lower frame rate. Sonic Dash 2 plays at 30 FPS while the original plays at a solid 60 FPS. Also, the amount of detail can vary depending on what device you are using. so if you have a more low end device, you could get less palm trees and more N64 fog. Also, the background music is just the same high speed chorus over and over again. Only changing characters in the caves gives you some relief from that overdone tune. Add an extra tune for the different environment and I think it would work out better. Speaking of environments, I really feel this game could at least use one more. You’re going from jungle to village and back again over and over. I know you kinda did the same thing in the Seaside Hill level of Sonic Dash, but the more open environment made it feel more natural. I know the Sonic Boom cartoon is limited on environments, but adding something like the canyon area would help give the game a little more variety to it. One other thing this game is lacking over the first one is boss battles. While that came later on in the first Dash as well, it feels weird not having it in this one, especially since Eggman taunts you at the very beginning of the game. A boss battle would definitely help change things up a bit.

But those are just nitpicks. The most valid complaint is just how glitchy this game can be sometimes. Several times, I’ve had to reset the game due to being stuck in the environment. Every single time, it was to do with the enerbeam mini-game. It doesn’t happen too often, but every time it’s due to that part. Considering that’s the exact part where the glitch happens, you’d think Q&A would have had that bug nabbed by now.

That said, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is a solid mobile title with plenty of goals to keep you busy and adds a lot more variety than the original Dash. However, the first one had a ton of characters to choose from while this one just has the main five. The good news is, there’s more characters on the way (Metal and Shadow most likely). Also, the game has a good economic system in place that doesn’t feel like it’s ripping you off. It’s hard to review mobile games like this (especially when they’re new) as they tend to change and improve (or get worse) over time. I hope people look past the bad taste Rise of Lyric left in their mouths and don’t just ignore the game on it’s brand alone because this is the best Sonic Boom title by far. Although I’ll admit, that’s not saying much.