SAGE 2020: Virtua Sonic Lets You See What it’s Like to be in Sonic’s Shoes…if He Could Get Motion Sickness

This year’s SAGE has been filled to the brim with quality, creative, and odd games. Fewer, however, so perfectly represent all three of these qualities like Virtua Sonic does. “Virtual reality Sonic” sounds like an awful idea on paper. VR games in general tend to struggle with allowing for movement without giving the user motion sickness, so how is a game about a high speed hedgehog that constantly spins around supposed to do it? Well, I don’t know…but somehow, Virtua Sonic isn’t the vomit-inducing VR experience I was expecting, and on top of that it’s…actually a surprisingly decent Sonic game!

First, it’s important that I talk about my own tolerance for VR, and my current set-up before I go on. Experiences like this are certainly not for everyone. I’ve been exposed to VR gaming for roughly four years now, starting with the HTC Vive back in 2016. Like a lot of people, I’m able to handle room scale VR (where you physically walk around a virtual space) for long stretches. Also like most people, standing VR games (where movement is handled via a controller while you just stand or sit) does make me sick, and my tolerance level for these games used to be 10-20 minutes, but that has marginally improved.

If you can’t handle these kinds of VR experiences, Virtua Sonic is not for you. That said, Virtua Sonic is actually one of the better standing VR experiences I’ve had. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the game design or my own tolerance, but I was able to play for 20 minutes before I started to feel sick, and I was able to play it for 40 minutes without having to put it down. Not bad! I played the entire thing on an Oculus Quest, connected to my computer via its Oculus Link feature. Oculus Link can be a bit jittery, and this occasionally got in the way of the experience, but I won’t be noting those aspects of the experience here, as that has nothing to do with the game.

Virtua Sonic plays surprisingly well and it is…mostly intuitive. You move by holding down buttons on the motion controllers and pumping them up and down like you’re “running,” and jumping is done by holding down the triggers and thrusting a controller down. Aside from running and jumping, all of Sonic’s moves are here, from the homing attack, to the light speed dash, stomp, spindash, and roll.

All of these moves are handled via a combination of motion controls and button presses. None of these moves are as intuitive to pull off as they are in the official games, but I eventually got used to them. That said, I did run into some problems. For one, the jumping controls just don’t feel natural in this game.

You jump by holding the triggers and thrusting a controller down, which just kept conflicting with what my brain wanted to do. I wanted to thrust the controller up, in the direction I wanted to move. I’m not sure if it would have interfered with other parts of the controls, but it took me until my third play session with the game to finally get used to it. The stomp, likewise, feels unnatural: you do it by raising your hands after a jump. Again, thrusting my arms down would feel more natural for a downward stomping motion.

But once I got used to everything, playing through the game actually felt pretty good. Like, way better than I ever would have expected a VR Sonic game to feel! Homing in on enemies, rolling, spin dashing, and light speed dashing all felt supremely satisfying. There’s even a move in the game where you basically need to “Naruto run” once you achieve a high enough speed. This allows you to retain your momentum and pull off all sorts of neat tricks like running on water or along walls. I admit, this could make me feel pretty goofy, but actually replicating Sonic’s running stance to run along a waterfall is also probably one of the most satisfying moments I’ve had in VR.

You’re going to need to master these moves to get through the demo. Aside from the tutorial stage, which is pretty linear and basic in its design, Virtua Sonic sports one full level and boss fight, and that level, Sakura Sanctuary, is big. It’s got multiple paths to to run through, and it gets increasingly large and expansive as it continues. It features design sensibilities similar to the superb Sonic GT, which isn’t surprising, since it’s based on the same tech as GT. The boss battle’s also pretty fun: you’ve got to chase down a big robot, using the physics and your moves to keep pace with it and bring it down.

It isn’t all roses, though, as the levels do have a few rough edges. In the tutorial stage, the hill that’s supposed to teach players how to jump is just a little too high, and I found myself consistently struggling to successfully scale it. There’s also an incline towards the end of Sakura Sanctuary that’s nearly impossible to get up consistently. Even spin dashing didn’t seem to work! These are small issues, but ones I found detrimental to the overall experience.

The game’s short, but it’s a complete package all the same. It tells a simple, complete story with good writing and solid voice work. Sakura Sanctuary and the tutorial stage are both gorgeous, and the selection of music (which includes a nice little track from NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams) works well with the levels. Once you beat the game you can play through both levels and the boss battle in Time Attack mode, which adds a bit of replay value.

I hope we get more projects like this. During an event that was full of surprises, Virtua Sonic may be the biggest of the lot. If you’ve got a VR set up and your stomach can take it, check it out! You wont be disappointed.

Balan Wonderworld Gets March 2021 Release Date

Today’s Nintendo Direct gave us some new info on Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima’s upcoming game, Balan Wonderworld. The game will be launching on March 26, 2021, and will include 12 worlds, each with their own boss fight. You progress through the game by collecting hidden trophies, which you can do with a friend through the game’s co-op mode.

You can check out the game’s new trailer for its Nintendo Switch version below:

Tokyo Joypolis Celebrates Sonic Colours’ 10th Anniversary With Crossover Halloween Event

This Autumn, the Colours will feel so right spooky and creepy at SEGA’s Tokyo Joypolis amusement park. With Wii classic ‘Sonic Colours’ originally releasing on 11 November 2010 (in PAL territories), Joypolis is throwing a special event to both celebrate both the game’s 10-year anniversary and Halloween. Continue reading Tokyo Joypolis Celebrates Sonic Colours’ 10th Anniversary With Crossover Halloween Event

2020 Chris Tang Battles 1994 Chris Tang To Redo His Old Sonic & Knuckles Rock the Rock Run

The year was 1994. Sonic & Knuckles was featured in SEGA and MTV’s Rock the Rock competition, and Chris Tang managed to win. 26 years later, Tang was inspired to give his winning run a redo, in an effort to see if he could beat his own record.

Continue reading 2020 Chris Tang Battles 1994 Chris Tang To Redo His Old Sonic & Knuckles Rock the Rock Run

Sonic x Ninjala Collaboration Details Revealed – Costumes, Eggman Utsusemi and More!

Don’t blink! New details on the Ninjala and Sonic the Hedgehog collaboration have just been announced. The ninja-based battle royale developers revealed that between September 23 and October 21, players will be able to unlock cool Sonic outfits as well as emotes and a new Dr. Eggman Ustusemi. Continue reading Sonic x Ninjala Collaboration Details Revealed – Costumes, Eggman Utsusemi and More!

Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Under Way with New Games! European Licensing Magazine Confirms

With the world in a state of disarray during a pandemic and nary a drop of news regarding the next big Sonic game (for very understandable reasons), there may have been some concern among the community that there wouldn’t be much of a celebration for Sonic’s big 30th anniversary in 2021. Thankfully this isn’t the case after spotting an advert on a Licensing Magazine.

Continue reading Sonic’s 30th Anniversary Under Way with New Games! European Licensing Magazine Confirms

Unseen Original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Artwork Hits the Internet

Some more archive SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis era material has come to light today, courtesy of former SEGA Technical Institute artist Craig Stitt. The latest drop comes in the form of some awesome original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 artwork, drawn by the creator of Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, Yasushi Yamaguchi. Continue reading Unseen Original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Artwork Hits the Internet

GameFly also lists a ‘Sonic Forces + Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz – HD Double Pack’ for Switch (Update)

Update @ 9:33PM EST 08/26/2020: Canadian retailer Video Games Plus has also put up the listing, alongside a HQ box which you can see above. They also put up a listing for the Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack as well, now with similar bilingual packaging.

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The double packs just doubled up! Following the earlier finding of a Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack for Switch, this time retailer GameFly has put up the same listing, but also added a Sonic Forces + Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz – HD Double Pack for Switch as well. Sadly there is no accompanying box art this time, but the other pack’s box art will give you an idea of what to expect.

While the Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing pack is dated for October 26th, 2020 on Amazon for $39.99 USD, there’s no firm date yet for the Sonic Forces + Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD pack. However GameFly lists both for a placeholder October 31st, 2020 date. Perhaps both will release on the same day, possibly also for $39.99 USD?

Once again, when more shows up, we’ll let you know!

Knight of the Wind! Excalibur Sonic is the Latest Special Character for Sonic Force Mobile

Hold on to your swords, because SEGA HARDlight is about to unleash the Knight of the Wind in its multiplayer Sonic Forces game. To prepare for an upcoming event, players are being tasked with collecting Special Excalibur Sonic cards. These may be key to unlocking Sonic’s form in Sonic and the Black Knight as a playable character. Continue reading Knight of the Wind! Excalibur Sonic is the Latest Special Character for Sonic Force Mobile

Sonic the Hedgehog collaboration coming to Ninjala for Switch

If you’ve been following things, you may remember that this was leaked via a datamining of the game Ninjala for Nintendo Switch (these things tend to happen) where references to the Sonic franchise were found. Anyway, Ninjala makers GungHo finally revealed the existence of the collaboration with our fav blue Hedgehog. Only, that’s all for now! We’ll have to wait and see what the collaboration will actually be about. When that time comes, we’ll let you know!

Ninjala for those who don’t know is a free-to-play competitive action game that’s out right now worldwide exclusively on Nintendo Switch (from the director of Dissidia Final Fantasy on PSP, I am not kidding). So if you have a Switch, you can try it out now (find your regional store page on the official site) and see if it’s your thing, and it’ll hopefully give you an idea on what to expect from this collaboration.

Via GungHo’s Youtube Channel (at 6:10).

Amazon.com lists a ‘Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack’ for Switch

So this just popped up. It’s been reported that Amazon.com now lists a double pack of Sonic Mania (the vanilla version it appears) and Team Sonic Racing for Switch. There aren’t any listings of the pack for other platforms yet upon checking. Also it’s not clear if this is yet another of those “put two boxes in a cardboard sleeve” type of releases that Sega do occasionally, as opposed to cramming both games into one cartridge/disc.

Continue reading Amazon.com lists a ‘Sonic Mania + Team Sonic Racing Double Pack’ for Switch

The Next Special Sonic Dash Character is Elite Agent Rouge

Did you manage to get the OVA-tastic Treasure Hunting Knuckles in Sonic Dash, hat and all? Well, if you just missed out, maybe this will help take the sting out. HARDlight has announced that starting today you can work to unlock the next special character, Elite Agent Rouge. Continue reading The Next Special Sonic Dash Character is Elite Agent Rouge

Sonic Fan Hack Makes its Way into Netflix Documentary Series

Sonic fans can be talented. Very talented. They can be so talented, in fact, that the stuff they produce is sometimes confused with the real thing. The latest example of this can be found in Netflix’s new video game documentary series, High Score. Continue reading Sonic Fan Hack Makes its Way into Netflix Documentary Series

Sonic 2’s Hidden Palace Zone Rediscovered in Cancelled Mega Drive Prototype ‘Astropede’

Former SEGA Technical Institute artist Craig Stitt has revealed that assets from Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s long lost Hidden Palace Zone were re-used in a prototype Mega Drive/Genesis game that was pitched to SEGA of America in the 1990s. Continue reading Sonic 2’s Hidden Palace Zone Rediscovered in Cancelled Mega Drive Prototype ‘Astropede’

Meet “Treasure Tails”, A Genesis/Mega Drive Pitched By SEGA Technical Institute

Sonic’s history is a tale of high and lows, twists and turns, and lots of mysteries. Sonic’s Classic era particularly has been a constant gold mine of information and surprising stories. For example, SEGA Technical Institute once pitched a SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive spin-off game called “Treasure Tails”.

Continue reading Meet “Treasure Tails”, A Genesis/Mega Drive Pitched By SEGA Technical Institute

RUMOR: Arcade 1up Virtua Fighter Cabinet with Sonic The Fighters Leaked

Coming out of Reddit, an image has surfaced showing a new Arcade 1Up cabinet that includes many AM2 fighting games in one machine. The games include Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter Remix, Virtua Fighter 2, Fighting Vipers and Sonic the Fighters. There is no word on price or release date yet. Continue reading RUMOR: Arcade 1up Virtua Fighter Cabinet with Sonic The Fighters Leaked

Sonic Mania Was Released Three Years Ago Today

Today is August 15, which will be obvious to anyone who happens to be able to tell the time. But what might not be so obvious – unless you’re keen on checking calendars – is that Sonic’s fantastic 2D adventure, Sonic Mania, was released on this day in 2017. That was three whole years ago! Where has the time gone!? Continue reading Sonic Mania Was Released Three Years Ago Today

My Hat’s On Fire! Treasure Hunter Knuckles Arrives as new Sonic Dash Collectible Character

Knock knock it’s Knuckles (again)! But this time SEGA HARDlight has revealed a new version of the porcupine on the block with the buff chest – along with a buff hat. That’s right, Treasure Hunter Knuckles is coming to Sonic Dash and Sonic Forces Mobile, in a nod to the fan favourite Sonic the Movie OVA. Continue reading My Hat’s On Fire! Treasure Hunter Knuckles Arrives as new Sonic Dash Collectible Character

New Genesis Is Phantasy Star Online 2, But It Isn’t

For those of you confused about Phantasy Star Online 2’s upcoming update “New Genesis,” you’re in good company, because it’s connected to PSO2, but also it’s its own thing, but… Okay, you know what, let’s just break it down:

According to the PSO2 official news blog, New Genesis will release in place of a new episode next year and targets bringing the 8-year-old game to fit modern tech and design expectations. It features a new world, new enemies, a new combat system, a more open map (though it’s premature to call it true open world yet), and significant visual upgrades.

The news post refers to the setup as “twin universes,” noting that you can you can swap between playing original PSO2 and New Genesis. New Genesis’ PC requirements will be a step above PSO2, but your created characters and emotes can shift between the two games. Both remain free-to-play and use the same account. Further, your weapons, units, and Mags can move over from PSO2 to New Genesis…with some significant caveats.

You will effectively have to treat the two as separate games, as you can’t bring over most of your items and basic character progression (your level/EXP, skills, arts, etc…). Weapon stats may change, and you may not be able to use certain weapons at all until the required class is put in the game (which may imply some current classes won’t be available at launch of New Genesis). Same with Units, but they will not be visible on your character. Mags will… exist, but they won’t impact your gameplay or character, suggesting they could be cosmetic only.

Much like Final Fantasy 14 and A Realm Reborn, this mid-life drastic shift is a high risk move with potentially high rewards, especially if PSO2 continues to grow outside of Japan. At the moment, only Xbox One and Windows 10 are the confirmed platforms with the statement “If PSO2 is added to new platforms, we plan to make PSO2: NGS available on those platforms as well.”

Sonic Mania Coming to Origin Access Premiere UPDATE: With Denuvo DRM

Anyone with an Origin Access Premiere subscription now has access to the PC version of Sonic Mania through EA’s Origin storefront. For those unfamiliar with the service, EA Access Premiere is the higher tier version of the Origin Access service. This service provides access to a library of games, discounts to all games bought on the storefront, and “extra content” for new EA games for $15 a month.

It is the vanilla version of the game, meaning that the Encore DLC will still need to be bought separately.

UPDATE: According to twitter user @CodenameGamma, who hacks and reverse-engineers games like Sonic Mania, this version of the game adds the infamous Denuvo DRM back into the game. The Steam release of Sonic Mania originally released with this DRM, before it was removed due to fan outcry. As a result, this version of Sonic Mania will not be supported by the community.

Sonic Dash Generates Nearly $11m, More Than Last Five Sonic Mobile Games Combined

Even after seven years, Sonic Dash is still getting significant content and character updates. And with this latest news it’s clear to see why – SEGA Hardlight’s mobile auto-runner is a huge cash cow, earning nearly $11 million since its initial release – reportedly more revenue than the last five Sonic mobile games combined. Continue reading Sonic Dash Generates Nearly $11m, More Than Last Five Sonic Mobile Games Combined

Whisper Shoots Her Way into Sonic Forces With New Event, “Guardian Angel”

Whisper the Wolf, the fan-favorite socially anxious sniper from IDW’s Sonic comic, has arrived in the mobile version of Sonic Forces in a new ten day event: Guardian Angel. Whisper brings her wisp-fueled variable whispon sniper rifle to the race, which allows her to access three new power-ups: cyan laser, green hover, and pink spikes.

Cyan laser fires a beam both forward and behind Whisper, while green hover gives Whisper a speed boost and extends her air time. Her final power-up, pink spike, lays spike traps for rivals to run into.

To unlock Whisper, players will have until July 27 to collect 60 character cards by completing specific missions. Whisper’s stats give her 8/10 on speed, 6/10 on acceleration, and a 7/10 on strength. As she is a rare character rather than an event character, it should be possible to get her cards after the event is over, although they will be quite rare.

I am currently halfway towards unlocking her, so be sure to check back later for footage of her in action!

Whisper Slips into Sonic Dash in a New Event

Whisper the Wolf, friend of Tangle and the other fan favorite new character from IDW Sonic, has arrived in a new event following Tangle’s from last week.

Just like with Tangle, players will need to collect 500 Whispers tokens to unlock her. You can check out footage I captured of her being unlocked and played below! The event, which started a few days ago, will end on July 17.

Whisper will also be heading to Sonic Forces in the near future, probably right after Tangle’s event, which also ends on July 17.

 

Tangle Swings into Sonic Forces Today

Less than a week after popping up in Sonic Dash, fan-favorite IDW Sonic character Tangle the Lemur has now found her way into Sonic Forces Mobile in a new week-and-half-long event, “It’s Hero Time!”

She comes to the game as a rare character, and players will need to earn 60 character cards to unlock her. These cards are earned by completing specific missions during the event, which will last from today until July 17.

Tangle brings two new power ups to the game: tail strike, a damaging short-range dash that can take up two item slots, and tail spring, which will let Tangle essentially perform a powered-up spin attack. When it comes to her stats, she scores a 7/10 in speed, 5/10 in acceleration, and 10/10 in strength.

Whisper will likely be coming to the game later this month, after Tangle’s event ends. Stay tuned to this post for Tangle gameplay footage!

Tangle now available in Sonic Dash UPDATE: Now With Gameplay Footage

While Tangle and Whisper will be coming to Sonic Forces: Mobile very soon, Tangle herself is available in Sonic Dash today! This lightfooted lemur is the first playable Sonic character taken from the comics and not from the games themselves (Sally and the Freedom Fighters had a non-playable cameo in Sonic Spinball). Tangle is playable by unlocking 500 Tangle tokens in an event going on all this week. Shouldn’t take players too long to unlock her as a good player can nab 20+ tokens per game easy.

The event only lasts a week, so make sure you get in some time on Sonic Dash soon!

UPDATE: Check out footage of Tangle in action below:

IDW Sonic’s Tangle & Whisper Are Coming To Sonic Forces Mobile!

Over 25 years have passed since the last time a Sonic comic character made an appearance in a Sonic game, and that was just a cameo in Sonic Spinball’s bonus stages. The streak is over. IDW Sonic’s Tangle and Whisper are coming to the mobile version of Sonic Forces.

They will be part of a 3-part unlock event that Hardlight says will last a week. They’ve arrived “just in time” to take part in Dr. Eggman’s Egg Pawn Assault 2.0, a community event where you can earn free Tangle and Whisper cards as prizes.

Now, you may recall that the duo were found in Sonic Dash’s files yesterday. Well, it’s very likely that this will still happen. It is not uncommon for non-costume characters to be added to both games. So, all indications are Hardlight will announce that soon.

But now we get to the biggest question of all. Will this mean that Tangle and Whisper will appear in a main series Sonic game? Well, no one knows. Even Ian Flynn said on Twitter that he has no idea if this “opens the doors to anything else”. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Via Twitter

Tangle & Whisper Uncovered in Sonic Dash Datamine!

Sonic’s mobile games have been focused on making more Sonic characters playable for years now, making deeper and deeper cuts into the game canon. Now, Hardlight seems to be mining Sonic’s IDW comics for new characters, according to data uncovered by Twitter user Bluwolfboy. He dug into the latest build of the Android version of Sonic Dash, and uncovered two new characters: Tangle the Lemur and Whisper the Wolf! These two characters were introduced early on in Sonic’s IDW run, and became so popular the soon got their own four-part mini series!

Bluwolfboy uncovered fully 3D models and character icons. They also posted proof that the characters are in the data, and Tails Channel was able to independently verify it themselves.

This is a major milestone, not just for IDW Sonic, but for Sonic comics in general. Aside from the Freedom Fighter’s cameos in Sonic Spinball, and a few canceled games, this marks the first time Sonic comics characters have been present in a game! That said, we’re probably still a long way off from any members of the Archie cast popping up in anything.

You can check out Tangle and Whisper’s game assets below. If you want access to the actual models, check out the source at the bottom of the page! Obviously, it is currently not known when these characters will be available, but given they are in the data we probably won’t be waiting too long!

via Twitter

Buy Sonic Generations on Steam for $1.00

Yes, seriously. Sonic Generations is 95% off it’s MSRP on Steam right now, so you’d better act quickly! In fact, many other Sonic games are available for a ridiculously low price.

Continue reading Buy Sonic Generations on Steam for $1.00

The Spin: Five Sonic games that were just shy of greatness

The opinions expressed in this article are those of Jason Berry and dot not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TSS staff.

Guilty pleasures. Fan favorites. Cult classics. Names used for a variety of entertainment from movies to music and of course, video games. Usually, it refers to something that is flawed, but nonetheless, enjoyable. 

The same can be said for a lot, and I mean a LOT of Sonic games out there. Games that are seriously flawed, but still have some fans who enjoy them. I’m still baffled by some people who say that they loved Sonic ‘06 but hey, don’t let me tell you what not to enjoy. Heck, I kinda like Rise of Lyric and that game is in an even more unfinished state than ‘06.

But what I want to talk about are Sonic games that were poorly reviewed by critics, but still enjoyed by fans or vice-versa. Games that are on the cusp of greatness, but some element holds it back. Games that make you say “yeah, it’s not the best, but I like it.” Games that are polished in their design, but their design is ultimately flawed. These are my five Sonic games just shy of greatness.

Sonic and the Black Knight

This is low on the list because it’s genuinely a bad game in the design department, but it has two elements that really shine. Sonic and the Black Knight was the second in the short-lived storybook series just after the arguably better Sonic and the Secret Rings. So why is this one on the list and not Secret Rings? While I didn’t care much for the constant stop-and-slash gameplay of Black Knight, there were two things that really stood out for me. 

One, the story is actually one of my favorites in the series. Sonic is back in a storybook world, only this time, he has the knowledge from the previous game to know that his friends are not the same ones from his world and only look the same in appearance. Also, Sonic’s smart enough to realize that something’s off with the titular villain and the surprise twist reveal is something I didn’t see coming. It also includes a moral that, well… you don’t see very often. 

Two, the music! Crush 40 is back along with a great, guitar-heavy soundtrack by Jun Sunoe and other talented composers including Tommy Talarico. There are also a few remixes of previous Sonic music, but overall a rockin’ soundtrack to a sub-par game.

Sonic Lost World

Boy did everyone love this game when it made the early rounds at preview shows like E3 and  Comic-Con. Most people gave this new and very different entry in the Sonic series a lot of love… until it came out. It’s not that changing the formula for once wasn’t a good idea. I love the boost formula but could’ve used a break. However, once again as most games you see on this list, the biggest flaw is the game design. 

Sonic Lost World was doing it’s best to rip off Mario Galaxy and it just didn’t work. The level design, for the most part, was very good. It was the controls themselves that fell apart. Sonic with a run button just felt wrong. Not allowing a more analog run control was a mistake in my opinion, but the other problem was the game’s newest gimmick, the parkour control. Basically, Sonic could climb and run alongside walls in a parkour-style to traverse certain levels. However, it was very hit and miss. Sonic would start to slide off the wall very quickly and it was hard to bounce from wall to wall. It took a more advanced level of skill than normally required from a platformer. Surprisingly, the 3DS port had the opposite problem. The parkour controls worked very well and should have been implemented in the console game, while the level design was pure torture. Had we had gotten both solid, parkour controls along with good level design, Sonic Lost Word could have been a hit. 

Sonic Forces

Looks like classic Sonic, but doesn’t quite play like him.

Sonic Forces COULD have been a great game under the right circumstances. It’s using the Hedgehog Engine 2, Classic Sonic is back, you have your classic 2-D and boost gameplay just like Generations. You can even design your original character (do not steal), making every Sonic fanfic writer’s dream come true. In fact, it did okay with critics or at least critics who weren’t that familiar with Sonic. But as a fan of Sonic, you played the game and realized right away that something was off. It looked like Generations, but it didn’t quite play like it. 

I think the main problem lies in that a good amount of the team from Sonic Colors worked on this game including the director, Morio Kishimoto. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Sonic Colors. But that game has very different platform physics than Generations or Unleashed. However, this game seems to have the engine of Generations, but with the jumping physics of Colors. Casual game players might not notice, but if you’re a Sonic fan, it’ll throw you off a bit. Like riding a bicycle, only now the bicycle controls like a unicycle.

What also doesn’t help is the terrible writing once again from Pontac and Graff. I’ll admit, I loved the story in Colors and laughed at Eggman’s PSA’s but those two are comedy writers, and every time they attempt drama in Sonic games, it falls flat. Sonic was supposed to be captured by Eggman and tortured for months, but when we see him, he’s the same ol’ Sonic he’s always been. Crackin’ jokes with (not) Zavoc. 

Sonic Heroes

“What goes up, must come down…” Much like the quality of gameplay in Sonic Heroes.

Now, Sonic Heroes is definitely one of my “guilty pleasures”. It has a lot going for it that I like. It offers the 3-D gameplay similar to the last Sonic Adventure games, but stripped down to a level-by-level structure, much like the 2-D classics. The new gimmick in this one is that you control three characters at once. One for speed (Sonic, Shadow, Amy, Espio), one for power (Knuckles, Omega, Big, Vector), and one for flight (Tails, Rouge, Cream, Charmy). Four teams with four stories of their own. Sonic Heroes did a lot right. It brought back the Chaotix, introduced Omega, and had probably Jun Sunoe’s and Crush 40’s best tracks in any of their games. “What I’m made of” is unironically a damn good song and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise (not really). For the most part, the “three at a time” formula works and helps keep the platforming gameplay moving at a fairly fast pace. It even did fairly well by critics (for a Sonic game of that era). Seaside Hill is still a joy to play. So what’s keeping it from being one of the best?

Level design. That’s the biggest problem. Sometimes it works great (like the aforementioned Seaside Hill) while others are a disaster. Casino Park and Bingo Highway still infuriate me to this day. The game’s difficulty constantly spikes. You can be having a great time of it only to have one of the most frustrating experiences on the very next level. It also doesn’t help that this was the first Sonic game to introduce a massive amount of annoying talking during gameplay. I just want to reach into my screen and choke Tails every time he says “Look at all those Eggman’s robots!”.For a child with a high IQ, he sure has poor grammar.

Now, if you’re a big fan of Sonic Heroes, I understand. There’s a lot to love here. But it’s definitely not without its faults. Speaking of a very faulty Sonic game that I love…



Sonic Unleashed

 

 

 

I friggin’ LOVE Sonic Unleashed! But it’s definitely got its flaws. 

It starts out soooo good! That Marza animated intro is the best Sonic…. Anything! (Speaking of, when’s that “Lupin the 3rd: The First” movie hitting the western markets?) We then meet Chip and… yeah, his mileage may vary depending on if he grows on you or not. We then meet humans and OMG!! They actually fit well in Sonic’s world for once! Giving them a cartoon appearance works perfectly. Then, after some story introductions and a training level, we are introduced to our first full level in Apotos, “Windmill Isle Act 2” and OMG is it amazing!!  Sonic’s running at incredible speeds through narrow streets that blur by. Dodging buildings left and right, grinding rails and smashing through Badniks. It was the first Sonic game to introduce the 3-D boost mechanics that are still present in the latest games. It all feels sooo good and it’s over too soon.

And then it happens. The Werehog. The thing both critics and fans felt was a bad idea and frankly, still is. Now, don’t get me wrong. The gameplay of the Werehog is actually not that bad! You’re running, jumping, getting into brawls and shimmying on ledges and it works out okay. It just doesn’t feel like that kind of gameplay belongs in a Sonic game. Also, each level is about a half-hour long or more. Compare that to the Sonic daytime levels that clock in at about five minutes. I’m bored ten minutes into the Werehog levels. The one thing the Wii did right was to break them up into smaller levels so you could take a break from them. The Wii version also didn’t have the frustrating medal hunt. Don’t have enough sun medals for the next Sonic daytime level? Too bad. Back to the old Werehog levels to hunt them down.

With all, it’s faults I’d still be lying if I didn’t say that Sonic Unleashed was one of my favorite 3-D Sonic games. The Werehog isn’t gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are far worse Sonic gameplay options out there (I’m looking at you, Big in Sonic Adventure.) 

So what flawed Sonic game do you enjoy? Are there any you think I should have put on the list? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Sonic Birthday Lobby Returns to Phantasy Star Online 2; Beat Up Sonic Enemies For Rare Loot

In what appears to be an annual tradition, SEGA is once again celebrating Sonic’s birthday in its massive online RPG, Phantasy Star Online 2. Starting today, players can log in to find the ‘Sonic Lobby’, which will greet you with an adoring monument of the blue blur and offer special Sonic-themed items for a limited time. Continue reading Sonic Birthday Lobby Returns to Phantasy Star Online 2; Beat Up Sonic Enemies For Rare Loot

Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary

Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka wants to make you happy. The guy is clearly working flat out to deliver whatever projects SEGA has in store for Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th Anniversary, and in a new interview he’s not shy about his intention to to satisfy every fan out there.  Continue reading Takashi Iizuka Hopes He Can “Meet Fans’ Desires” For Sonic 30th Anniversary

Microsoft’s Offering The Sonic Movie And Sonic Mania For Just $13 Until June 15th

Microsoft has got an interesting offer for Sonic fans out there, especially if you’re still planning to check out the new Sonic movie. Until June 15th, you can get the Sonic Movie for just $12.99 as part of the Gamer Flicks Sale. Doing so will also net you a free downloadable copy of Sonic Mania.

Continue reading Microsoft’s Offering The Sonic Movie And Sonic Mania For Just $13 Until June 15th

Sonic Forces Mobile Introduces Tikal Today in Keeper of Chaos Event

Tikal is now available on Sonic Forces Mobile for a limited time, as part of the game’s “Keeper of Chaos” event. The event will run for ten days, from now until June 15, and will give players a chance to unlock the character by completing specific missions. As a a “super rare” character, players must collect 30 cards before the event is over to unlock her.

Tikal has a speed rating of 10/10, an acceleration rating of 6/10, and a strength rating of 5/10. She brings three new power ups to the game, including:

Chao Guardian: Chao skip ahead to damage rivals.

Chao Chase: Run with chao, and gain an extra speed boost when you tag rivals.

Captive Light: A shining light appears in front of rivals, blinding them if they hit it.

If you miss this event, this likely won’t be your only chance to get her. This event comes on the heels of one that gave people another opportunity to unlock the Sonic movie characters, after all!

If we’re able to unlock Tikal before the event ends, check this space for footage of her in action.

Game Gear Micro Full Details: Sonic Games, Colours, Bundles, Pricing and More!

Fresh details have been revealed on SEGA’s teeny tiny handheld remake, the Game Gear Micro – including four versions of the “micro”-console each sporting a different colour, and the inclusion of two Sonic the Hedgehog GG games within a couple of the models. Continue reading Game Gear Micro Full Details: Sonic Games, Colours, Bundles, Pricing and More!