Remember those Taxman remakes/ports of Sonic 1 and 2 on iOS and Android? Remember how they were really cool, but they never ported them to consoles or PC?Continue reading Play Sonic 1 & 2 in Wiiiiiiiiidescreen With This New Android De-compiler!
If your New Year Resolution, as a Sonic fan, was to unlock all of those limited edition characters in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, then you’re in luck this weekend! SEGA HARDlight has launched a new ‘Knight of the Wind’ campaign where you can try again to get yourself Excalibur Sonic from Sonic and the Black Knight.Continue reading The Knight of the Wind Returns to Sonic Forces Mobile
SEGA’s Sonic Mobile game developer, HARDlight, has moved quickly to dampen fears that Sonic Forces: Speed Battle is getting cancelled, reassuring fans that there is a whole heap of content and support coming over the next year and beyond.Continue reading SEGA HARDlight Reassures Fans That Sonic Forces Mobile is Not Shutting Down
A number of fans that represent the Sonic Forces: Speed Battle mobile game community have set up an unofficial survey asking fellow players to assess the state of the HARDlight multiplayer – fearing that the developer may soon shelve the game.Continue reading Sonic Forces Mobile Community Launches Unofficial Player Survey Amidst Continuing Balancing Issues
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
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
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
Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 is now out on mobile. The game is free to download but is basically an extended demo. At about a dozen events in, you will get to the paywall and need to purchase the game to get any further. So what are the options? Let’s take a look. Continue reading Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Mobile: What to Purchase
Sonic is back at the Olympics again, this time on mobile devices! Sonic at the Olympics Games – Tokyo 2020 is now available on iOS and Android devices. The game lets players compete across 15 different events with various Sonic characters, and also includes a story mode complete with boss battles.
The game is “free to start,” with in-app purchases required to play the entire game.
There doesn’t appear to be a launch trailer, but go ahead and check out the official event trailer below:
As of the posting of this article, the game is not technically available to play. Users who download the game will receive an error message and a notification that the “online play for this game will start shortly.” We’ll update this article once we’ve confirmed the game is playable!
UPDATE: The game’s servers are now up and running! If you’ve already downloaded the game, you can now play it! We will update this article with info about the game’s in-game purchases later today.
As part of SEGA HARDlight’s 400 million download celebrations for Sonic Dash, this first week of May sees a new character enter the endless-runner fray; All-Star Amy Rose, who you may recognise from SEGA HARDlight’s other mobile title, Sonic Forces. Continue reading Sonic Dash Slugger Series Continues With All-Star Amy Up For Grabs
Sonic’s athletic mobile run hasn’t even had its starting pistol fired yet, and already over two million people have pre-registered to the Sonic at the Tokyo Olympics app. And it’s only been seven days since we last talked about it! To celebrate, SEGA is opening a lottery for fans to win a cool limited edition jacket. Continue reading Sonic at the Tokyo Olympics Passes 2 Million Pre-Registrations, SEGA Giving Away Limited Edition Jacket
Sonic at the Olympic Games may be short a certain rival team, but it’s definitely not short of “rivals” in this new boss trailer!
SEGA has released a new trailer for the mobile exclusive Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where they detailed the game’s many modes and mini games, including a story mode.
In the story, which is told through various comic book-like still frames, Sonic competes with Eggman not just for Olympics supremacy, but also for the fate of the city of Tokyo itself! Also newly revealed in this trailer is an online rankings mode, which will allow players to compete with each other worldwide.
The trailer also shows off the game’s 15 mini games, various special “EX events,” as well as a variety of mini games not directly based on any Olympics events.
Sonic at the Olympic Games will be releasing on mobile devices worldwide on May 7th. Check out the trailer below!
Sonic Racing was one of the first titles announced for Apple Arcade, a subscription service exclusive to Apple devices meant to provide mobile gaming experiences free of loot boxes and microtransactions. As one of the service’s premiere exclusives, does Sonic Racing make good on Apple’s promise for better mobile gaming?
What’s hedgehog-shaped, utterly heartless and absolutely terrifying? Metal Sonic dressed up like the Grim Reaper, of course. And boy, does he look more menacing than ever. This version of Sonic’s robotic doppelgänger is now available to unlock in SEGA Hardlight’s Sonic Forces mobile app, as part of the game’s ‘Grim Gala’ festivities. Continue reading Sonic Forces ‘Grim Gala’ Begins, Reaper Metal Sonic Up For Grabs
Two Sonic Team franchises have launched new entries today as part of Apple Arcade’s launch line-up. Sonic Racing brings a version of Sumo Digital’s Team Sonic Racing to Apple’s platforms, letting players race as a variety of Sonic characters in a team-based racer. Chu Chu Rocket! Universe brings back the classic puzzle action of the Dreamcast original, where the player has to direct mice through a course to their rocket ship, without letting the cats eat them. Both games were made by SEGA HARDlight, the same developers behind the Sonic Dash games.
Apple Arcade is a subscription-based game service for Apple platforms, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Macintosh. For $5 a month, you gain access to every game on the service, without needing to deal with ads, in-app purchases, or other kinds of micro transactions. Every game on the service is exclusive to it, so it’s unlikely these games will be appearing on other platforms (or at least mobile platforms) any time soon.
If you want to try the games now, you can take advantage of a 30-day free trial after downloading iOS 13 for iPhone. Unfortunately, only iPhone users can currently access Apple Arcade, as the updates for Apple’s other platforms are arriving until September 30.
UPDATE: We have been able to confirm that both games boast controller support, including support for PS4 and Xbox One controllers. To sync a PS4 controller, hold the share and home buttons to put it into pairing mode. For Xbox One, hold the sync button. Afterwards, each controller can be linked to your iPhone from the phone’s Bluetooth menu.
SEGA has also released a trailer showing off both games, which you can check out below:
A new entry in Sonic Team’s long-dead Chu Chu Rocket franchise made a surprise appearance in an Apple press release today: Chu Chu Rocket! Universe.
The game is being developed by Hardlight, and is slated to come to the Apple Arcade service, a video game subscription service for Apple Devices that will let subscribers play a variety of games for $4.99 a month on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs and Macs. It’s important to note that Apple’s press release specifies that it is a “mobile and subscription service” exclusive which doesn’t necessarily rule out console ports of the game, although devices that support Apple Arcade are the only confirmed platforms.
The game has 100 3D puzzle courses, and features gameplay that appears pretty faithful to the Dreamcast original: direct your mice to rocket ships without letting cats devouring them all. Chu Chu Rocket! Universe is slated to launch alongside the debut of the Apple Arcade service on September 19. Chu Chu Rocket! won’t be the only Sonic Team series hitting the service either: as we reported earlier this year, Sonic Racing will also be coming to Apple Arcade.
The Dreamcast original was the first game on the system to feature online play, so a sequel being announced a day after the system’s 20th anniversary is neat timing. This will be the first new entry in the franchise since the Dreamcast game was ported to iOS and Android back in 2011.
Nothing else is known about the game. Check below for a screenshot and game play footage:
20 years later… it’s time to go ChuChu crazy all over again! 🐭🐭🐭
— SEGA (@SEGA) September 10, 2019
Sega revealed their plans for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the recent Sega Fes 2019 event, revealing the line up would include Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 for both Switch and Arcade (likely two different games), a more traditional Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games title- The Official Video Game for Switch and PS4. Continue reading First look at Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Mobile Title
Update (April 2nd, 2019 at 10:25PM ET):
Sega of America took down the trailer, so I rehosted it for your convenience!
Update (March 30th, 2019 at 2:32PM ET):
Sega just released the HQ assets, including transparent PNG logos, HD versions of the two primary Switch screenshots, as well as the HQ version of the trailer with less compression. I made new screencaps from the HQ version of the trailer.
Update (March 30th, 2019 at 9:16AM ET):
Sega have just announced the western release of the games. The Mario & Sonic game for Switch is now called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The arcade game of course is titled Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – Arcade Edition. Finally, the mobile game is titled Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020.
For some reason, the Tokyo 2020 branding is missing from the logos, but the games are titled as such on the website as well as by Sega in their announcement tweet. All seem to still be published by Sega in the west (a first since London 2012), in fact Sega are publishing the games worldwide, which is a first in Japan where Nintendo published the Mario & Sonic series to date prior. Also, the arcade and mobile games are now dated for Summer 2020 in the west, rather than just the generic 2020 date in Japan. Check out the western website here.
At the SEGA FES 2019 event it was announced that the Mario & Sonic series will return with Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for Switch. Not only that, a separate arcade game, simply titled Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Arcade Game, was additionally revealed, alongside a Sonic-only mobile game for both iOS and Andriod; Sonic at the Olympic Games.
SEGA previously announced back in October 2016, that they had secured the gaming license for the Tokyo 2020 games, but no confirmation was made that the Mario & Sonic series would be returning alongside Sega’s other more photorealistic Olympic video games to tie in with the event.
The title will be the 6th Olympic game title to feature Mario and Sonic following the Olympic game and Winter Olympic game titles.
Via the official Olympic Video Games website, the Switch game is due to release in Japan in Winter 2019. The arcade game is due sometime in 2020. Finally the mobile game is also due in 2020.
Here are the logos of each game plus two high-quality screenshots of the Switch game. I also included screencaps of the trailer, with all but the last being the Switch game, with the last being the mobile game:
Are you excited to see the return of the Mario & Sonic Olympic series? let us know in the comments!
Continuing the spirit of the spooky season that SEGA Hardlight kicked off last week, the Sonic Forces Speed Battle mobile app has been updated with a brand new special event, a new stage and some gameplay adjustments. Continue reading Sonic Forces Speed Battle Launches Season Six With Vampire Shadow
It’s almost Halloween, and SEGA Hardlight has redecorated the Sonic Forces: Speed Battle mobile app to suit the spooky mood. As part of the festivities, a new character can be unlocked between now and 30 October – Witch Rouge! Continue reading Rouge the Bat Gets A Halloween Makeover in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
Shh. What’s that rumbling sound? That’s the sound of stomping feet, from all the Sonic fans dashing to download the latest update in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle! Why? Because everybody’s favourite lazy purple fisherman, Big the Cat, is now available as a playable character in the mobile racer. Continue reading Big the Cat Now Playable in Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
HARDlight Studios’ mobile multiplayer racer, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle, has just received a brand new update which adds, among other things, a new track to compete in. Fans of Sonic Forces will recognise Sandy Hills, the warped version of Green Hill that acts as the opening stage for the console game. Continue reading Latest Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Update Adds Sandy Hills Track
Introducing Sega Slots. A new game for iOS and Android. It’s a gambling simulator slot machine game. One of many kinds you can find on mobile devices. In Sega Slots you start with Sonic Slots only and level your way up to Shinobi, Golden Axe, Super Monkey Ball and more. The top level game at 101 is Classic Sonic in Casino Night Zone (makes sense). It includes mini games as well as the regular slot machine games.
After months of waiting, Sonic Runners Adventure is finally coming to Apple and Google’s official mobile storefronts. While Android users have been able to buy the game for the past several months through Gameloft and some other websites, the game’s arrival on the App Store will mark the first time iOS users will be able to play the game.
While the announcement trailer doesn’t have a firm date, the game will likely arrive on both storefronts within the next few days.
Happy Sonic 2sDay, everyone!
— SEGA Forever (@SEGAForever) November 19, 2017
Following the tease two days ago, a new classic SEGA title is joining the company’s SEGA Forever initiative on the 25th anniversary of its genesis.
It can be hard to produce a companion app for a high-profile console game. If you get it wrong, it can largely be seen as a cynical micro-transaction-heavy cash grab, or at the very least, a poor afterthought. Which is why it’s good news that SEGA Networks’ Hardlight Studio was tasked with building a new mobile experience to coincide with the launch of Sonic Forces. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Forces Speed Battle (iOS)
UPDATE: SEGA has reached out to us with their statement on the error, telling us that the issue has been resolved!
As part of a special promotion, Sonic CD is now free with ads (regularly priced at $2.99) from the App Store. For players who previously purchased Sonic CD, ads were mistakenly added to their game. This was not intended and the issue has now been resolved. Players will need to update to the latest version of Sonic CD (2.0.1) on the App Store. We apologize for the error.
Original story continues below.
Looks like NA users will be affected by the Sonic Runners shutdown earlier than we though, as SEGA announced on Twitter that the game’s regional servers will shut down on Monday May 30… before deleting any mention of it. Continue reading Could the US Sonic Runners Servers Be Shut Down Tomorrow?
It’s the end of Sonic Runners! In rather surprising news given the publisher’s exploration into the mobile space, SEGA has announced that the endless runner will be shutting down, only a year after it launched worldwide.
Continue reading Sonic Runners Shutting Down Next Month
Well that’s an interesting development.
SEGAbits have reported on their twitter that the game has received and update for the first time in 3 years with the following notes (in case you can’t see the above image for any reason):
–Bug fixes for iOS 7, 8, and 9
–Fixed crash on boot
SEGAbits also mentioned that the game still doesn’t lock-on with Episode 1 to unlock Episode Metal.
How does the game fare now on iOS after the update? Let us know in the comments!
UPDATE: Operationgamer17 points out that apparently it’s been gone since at least yesterday as of when TSSZ first mentioned it on their twitter. Also, Ming Ming Yuigahama clarified that the game is actually not on the US Google Play store either (I misunderstood that part, my mistake) and even snapped a screencap of what she sees when you access it:
And she points out in the same post that this is not so unusual and may simply come back on Monday. We’ll see what happens. Also I forgot to mention that Komodin first brought that part up. Thanks again go to both for the clarification.
It has come to our attention that Sonic Runners has been removed from the US iTunes store. This was first brought up on our forum by Operationgamer17. Our own writer VEDJ-F afterward mentions that it’s still up on the UK Google Play store, and another member Soni mentions it’s still up on the Canadian iTunes store.
Another member Ming Ming Yuigahama also linked to and confirmed that the game, while indeed gone from the US iTunes store (the link now redirects you to the iTunes store if you have it installed saying it’s not available), is still available on the iTunes store in the UK, Canada, and Japan. Ming Ming Yuighama also shows that the game is still up in the US Google Play store under “SEGA Corporation”.
So far we have no idea what the reason is for the game’s removal from the US iTunes store. We’ll have a follow-up report if we hear more.
Thanks goes to all the users mentioned above for their help in checking the stores to see if the game is still available in their respective regions.
To celebrate Sonic’s 24th anniversary, SEGA was internally working on their own take on the endless runner genre with their new mobile game, Sonic Runners. While the game was released early in smaller markets for testing, it finally dropped internationally on iOS and Android devices towards the end of June, and with it came the release of the first volume of the game’s soundtrack.
And now, just in time for Christmas, the EP-length Sonic Runners: Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 has finally arrived on digital streaming services!
The second volume, like the first, is solely composed by Tomoya Ohtani himself, and is mainly comprised of some of the music featured in recent in-game events – unsurprisingly, the music is gorgeous and an absolute blast to listen to, making the second volume a must-have for any Sonic OST fan’s library.
The track listing is as follows:
- “Going My Way” (1:01)
- “Go Quickly!” (3:09)
- “Fiery Passion” (3:34)
- “End of the Summer” (3:48)
- “Strange Parade” (3:42)
- “Magical Snow Day” (4:11)
- “Ambition” (3:54)
The second volume is available now on iTunes (UK / US) and Amazon (UK / US), with individual tracks costing £0.79 / $0.99 a pop. If you choose to get the entire 7-track album right away, the price sits at an affordable £5.53 / $6.93 – with Vol. 2 sounding as beautiful as it does, it’s an absolute steal!
Planning on downloading this gem for yourself? If you’ve already bought the album, which track is your favourite of the bunch? Sound off below!
Well, Sega certainly seems to like to surprise us out of left field with Sonic Boom games don’t they? Found late last night on the Google Play store, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is a sequel to the popular Sonic Dash mobile game. Continue reading Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom Coming Soon to Android and iOS
Sonic Runners recently launched worldwide for those who’ve been out of the loop – it’s an endless free to play running game where you aim to get the highest scores possible. Higher scores push you up the Runners League and get you better rewards, companions, and bragging rights among your peers.
So you want to be a Runners expert? Say no more. Here’s our tips and tricks on how you can bag those big scores.
1: Use your boosts!
First off, before you even start your run – let’s go over some important stuff. Booster items are pretty great for helping your score. Primarily the Score Boost and Character Switch. Score Boost is an obvious choice and will really aid your total, and Character Switch will give you a second chance to keep your run going by switching to your sub character selected through the character menu. And for a limited time(?) you’ll be able to use these for free once a day, so take advantage!
2: Level up, go far
Sonic Runners sports a level up system on the characters you use, applied through spending rings or earning EXP on runs. It’s important to keep at least a single character high up to make sure that your overall bonuses help you hit the high marks. Wisps and power-ups will last longer when you use them too as an added bonus to it all. But your Score Bonus, Animal Bonus and Ring Bonus are what you want to increase – this is why I normally opt to just focus on one character at a time. Sonic easily adapts to most level environments which is why my primary focus is on him.
3: Crack the Eggman
Though it can get pretty repetitive, it’s best to make your confrontations with Eggman last as long as the timer will allow. Not only do you have the possibility of seeing Red Rings pop out of him, but the rings he’ll drop will boost your score with the help of your Ring Bonus quite a bit. This can be used in turn to help level up your characters and increase your overall boosts. Not to mention, you can get quite a few score gems which increase in value the further you are into the run.
4: Do a trick!
Something the game neglects to tell you is that Runners sports a small trick system within similar vein to that seen in Sonic Colours. When you approach these red spring-esque contraptions, make sure you tap the screen to leap high into the air – but don’t stop tapping once you’re flying high! Repeatedly tap the screen to do up to five trick poses, giving you that familiar “good, great, awesome, outstanding, amazing!” response!
5: Be an animal advocate
Like always, defeating the classic badniks throughout the stage will earn you points and release the little critters inside. But unlike the old games, they’ll bounce around on screen until you manage to catch them. You might want to try reaching out for them before they vanish off screen if you can. They’re worth quite a few points, and those points only increase with the Animal Bonus you level up.
6: Keep that combo
An extremely important aspect of any run is the combo and bonus number you can see above. Combos are maintained through collecting score gems, rings, and animals (not badniks!), and once you get over 1000 you’ll have the maximum bonus of +50. This will go a long way once you reach higher scores. Combos can be broken through damage or too much time between collecting combo items listed above. Power ups can help you out – the shield will prevent damage from ending your combo, and Combo Bonus will prevent damage and time from doing so.
7: Wisps are wonderful
Wisps return in Sonic Runners, and they’re mostly a fantastic help to boosting your scores. Asteroid is arguably the weakest as it moves slow and provides no multiplier to your bonus, but in can tear through all obstacles in your path. Laser lets you blast through sections of the stage at lightning speeds and collect every gem, ring, and animal on screen by tapping. Drill could arguably be the greatest score increaser, as it multiplies your bonus massively. At its max, you can gain +500 – combine this with magnet, and the specific Drill designed sections which can appear in levels (seen above), and you’re looking at a gigantic overall score boost.
8: Companions are key
Companions could be your life saver when it comes to runs. They can provide anything from boosting the overall length items last, granting you a wisp when you reach a certain combo number, or giving you the last boost at the end of the level. They can level up to increase the effectiveness of their abilities too – sadly, the only way you’ll be able to earn them is through the premium roulette wheel. To spin, you’ll need Red Rings you earn through placing on the Runners League, completing story events, or other promotions.
Outside of that, there are a few other ways to earn some helpful buddies to help push your scores up:
- You’ll earn Shahra every time you advance a rank in the Runners’ League. Each rank has three levels before you advance a letter, but she’s completely free and provides a great ability – granting you a random item when you hit certain combo numbers.
- Look out for promotions held by Sonic Team where you’ll be able to earn Buddies through normal gameplay. For example, the Sonic Birthday event has you collecting cake to unlock the Genesis buddy and various other power ups and items.
- Finally, completing a Showdown without taking dying once will give you a Special Egg – collect ten of these, and you’ll be able to spin the premium roulette wheel for free with increased odds on better eggs.
9: Aim high
Classic Sonic games usually sport a level design which has both a high and low path – the higher path providing better goodies but harder to stay on, and the lower being easier to stay on but less rewarding. That concept carries into Sonic Runners, since all the best rewards are usually found by keeping on the higher paths. Though the obstacles you face are more dire and will test your ability, you’ll get much better results if you manage to keep on that upper road.
10: Practice, practice, practice
A certain element of Runners will always come down to memorisation, and the only way you’ll memorise these zone layouts is to keep playing. Knowing what’s coming will instantly put you in a better position to prepare yourself and make each run go further – you’ll soon come to recognise familiar placements of the slopes, hoops, enemies and score gem trails. It might be difficult to play for long sessions due to its design, but playing a few times daily will go a long way. It’s all a learning curve and soon you’ll be able to do Top Speed without breaking a sweat, trust me.
Have you got any helpful advice for your fellow Runners players? Or did you find some hand advice in our little guide? Sound off below and let us know. Happy running!
Hey, didn’t you guys already review this game? Why yes we did, and we’ve been talking about if we should take another look at it since with every update it seems to change. Well, following the worldwide release, we feel that Runners has changed enough that our previous review really doesn’t apply or match up with the experience you’ll get with this game.
So here is my review on Sonic Runners, based on the worldwide release build. This will focus more on the changes between the original review and the technical performance of the game since the plot is the same and the premise of the game is the same. That said however, a lot has changed… sadly a lot has changed for the worst.
So I’m not sure how some will react with my next line but here goes… On a technical level, this is probably one of the worst Sonic game made. Yes, I am including Sonic 06 and Sonic Boom in that, it is awful, it really is. The worldwide release is plagued with issues ranging from freezing, stuttering, lag, game breaking/ruining bugs, as well as overheating issues which can potentially put the device you’re using at risk.
… You were expecting me to praise this game given how I loved the initial release? Well on a gameplay level, it’s a really fun and charming game… Which Sega have ruined by adding in the very worst of free to play features and a near broken DRM/always online requirement which by the way is doing nothing to prevent cheaters,
For full disclosure, I have used a range of different Android devices to try and play the game. Primarily I have used a Samsung Galaxy S5, however I have also tested a Nexus 7 and a Sony Xperia Z3, all of which suffer from the same and in some cases more serious problems. All of these devices could previously run Sonic Runners during the soft launch period with virtually no problems.
So lets start with the basics, though odds are you already know this. Sonic Runners is a side scrolling endless runner in which you start off as Sonic before unlocking Tails and Knuckles.
The premise of every stage is to run as far as you can and collect as many rings and gems as possible in order to get a huge score which progresses you further along the map before you reach the end of the episode/level.
Before I should go any further, I should mention that Sonic Runners uses multiple forms of currency. There are normal gold rings which are in plentiful supply. Then there are red rings which are much rarer. We’ll cover both of these later.
At the end of each stage you are given a small reward: normally gold rings or red rings, though sometimes you get an item. The rings you can use to level up characters which improve their stats. Stats are for things like score bonus increases or item effect durations increase. You’ll find you’ll need to level up characters if you want higher scores and find it easier to progress in later stages.
However, the worldwide release differs from the initial release with the inclusion of an experience bar. This bar will fill based on how many rings you pick up in the game, which means you can save on spending those rings if you regularly use a character. By level 20 however, you’ll find it’s not worth waiting and will just spend those rings on your power level. Which again, do you do this from rings collected, or once more, there is that micro-transaction system hint hint wink wink.
Whilst the level cap is 100, the gains from level 50 onwards are so poor there is absolutely no point in waiting to level up, so spend those rings.
What else can you spend rings on? Nothing. Just levelling up characters. I will talk about red rings near the end of the review. Needless to say, I am not happy.
Levels are split into three types: Speed, Flight and Power. Each is designed to be played by a specific character type, though you’ll quickly find that you’ll only ever want to play as either speed or flight since Power characters are so useless compared to the other two. They’re only useful for their own stages, whereas the other types are great on every stage, with flight characters taking the top of the character tier list.
As you progress through the game, you start very simple stories involving Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and various other characters. Normally it’s “Eggman is doing a thing! Lets go stop him.” “Help! This character is missing, lets go find them!” Whilst the climax does build up into something more dramatic, this type of story is rare and a one off.
Some may find it nice that we’ve gone back to a simple story in which it’s just “Sonic goes after Eggman because Eggman did something bad.” though others may find these stories far too basic to enjoy. Personally I began to skip some of the stories since they were so repetitive and dull.
The stage layout is the same as the soft launch version. No changes. It’s a decent layout combining challenge, flow and multiple paths, however I’m not sure that in some places the higher path is the most rewarding. In some stages, the lower path is clearly more viable in terms of score.
It should be really enjoyable, and in the pre worldwide version it is. It’s a great example as to how you can adapt a classic Sonic game for a modern mobile market place, slap a small price tag on it and you have a great experience for the daily commute or for killing a spare half hour.
It’s fun and addictive. If the game had a price tag of say £2.99, I would buy this in a heartbeat. It’s a really nice charming game which is bloody good.
So what’s the problem?
Pretty much everything underpinning that which turns Runners into a near unplayable mess which is designed to rob the player of their time and money, turning runners into a gambling machine.
The game has very poor optimisation. It’s so poor in fact that after only 5 minutes it starts to stutter, lag and in some cases completely freezes. How bad is it? Well remember how I said I tested this game on three different devices? Here is how Runners used to perform.
- Galaxy S5: Flawless, phone was slightly warm, but otherwise flawless.
- Sony Xperia Z3: Near Flawless, phone got hotter than the S5, but otherwise fine, however battery drained quicker than the S5.
- Nexus 7 (2013): Wasn’t tested, but is compatible with the game.
Here is how those devices performed with the worldwide release.
- Galaxy S5: Initially, the game runs fine… but after 5 min of play time the phone gets very hot, gameplay begins to stutter, lag, some occasional freezing in areas with lots of objects. Game eventually becomes near unplayable.
- Xperia Z3: Same as the S5, however after 5 min the temperature of the phone increases by 16-20°C (value taken from built in battery monitoring app) the game will then completely crash. Battery life is drained by 20% after only 5 min.
- Nexus 7 (2013): This was a fresh install so we only played the tutorial. We couldn’t accurately test the lag effects with lots of objects on the screen… But after 5 minutes of play, the device became too hot to comfortably hold and we had to turn it off to cool the device down. We were afraid it would cause lasting damage to the device and the owner then requested we immediately delete Runners and never install it on again.
You want to know something even more head scratching? These were running in streamlined mode, which is designed to take pressure of the processor and make the game perform better…. however our soft launch versions did not have streamlined mode turned on! Yet it’s performing this badly with streamlined mode on!?
Sega… What the hell happened!? How do two of the most advanced phones on the market go from playing the game flawlessly to struggling and in one case failing after 5 min of gameplay time?
The Nexus 7 can probably be explained by the fact it’s older hardware and Runners does demand a lot. But still, the heat generated was worrying to the owner of the device so if you have a Nexus 7 2013, avoid runners like the Black Death.
This is just bad optimisation, pure and simple. There is no way a game like Runners should be causing this many problems on these devices. Whilst I personally haven’t been able to test an iOS build, I’ve been told it’s a lot better, which suggests to me the Android version is a port which got little development or tooling. I would say that this claim is further supported by the fact that the Android version on launch crashed during start up due to a major problem the always online DRM, questioning how this got past the Q&A if the game had been optimised for this platform.
So technically, the game is bad. It’s really bad. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s there with Sonic 06 and Rise of Lyric, because for as buggy as those games are, at least they allow you to play for more than 5 min and do not melt your system.
Other noticeable bugs: Buddies no longer pick up animals, the asteroid wisp will sometimes spiral to the top of the screen out of control, totally ruining a run.
Then there is this odd thing…
Yes it’s funny, but you add this will the other technical problems and you really do question if any optimisation or QA took place.
Aside from it’s technical performance, are there any other problems. Yes… dear lord yes.
Lets get onto the Red Rings. Red Rings are the second form of currency that this game uses, they are much harder to come by and when you get some, it’s in very limited stock. Red Rings are used to by normal rings or extra lives, but their primary use is to use on the roulette wheel and gain buddies.
What are buddies? They’re small characters that accompany you in stages which add a bunch of effects ranging from score boosters to ring recovery and other positive effects. The vast majority of them are pointless, but some of the rarer ones are highly valuable and the key to doing well on the leader boards.
The catch is that the only way to get them is from either a special event, or from spending 50 red rings on the roulette wheel, at which point you are granted a random buddy. If you get the same buddy, it levels up before capping at level 5. The problem now is that following the worldwide release, Sega has drastically slashed the number of red star rings you can get.
How bad is it? Well under the soft launch version, completing all parts of the final scenario rewarded you with 90 red rings. 10 for each episode, 50 for the final boss. To complete the final scenario, you need a total score of 50 million, so 50 million = 90 red rings.
But in the worldwide launch, you only get 5 per episode and only 10 for the final boss! So now you only get 30 for completing the 5 hardest levels in the game. A total point requirement of 50 million, so 50 million = 30 red rings!
What about other red ring methods? You can randomly find one in a stage, Eggman may drop one if you’re lucky, and if you spam your friends Facebook accounts you can get 10 if they sign up to Runners and use your referral… oh wait hang on… that feature is currently broken.
You are therefore forced to use real world money to buy red rings. And how have Sega welcomed new users to this? By ripping them off.
Prior to the worldwide launch, the highest red ring price was £24.99 for 700 red rings. In the new worldwide version it’s £30 for 481, yet they still have the gall to claim that this is a sale price! But wait? What’s that bonus +1019 red ring amount, that apparently gets removed if you are actually silly enough to buy rings from the store? They call it a ‘first time buyers bonus.’ After you make your first purchase, it returns to 481.
For new players who have just picked up the game, sorry to say this but you are totally screwed. You won’t ever be able to touch those who have been playing this game for months. Their buddies are too well levelled up and they have the special limited edition characters which boost score. Don’t even try, it’s over.
…Unless you spend several hundred pounds in red rings. Then you ‘might’ have a chance, but you won’t. You won’t because you won’t have the limited edition characters who have better bonuses, so why even bother?
And now we get to a major problem with Sonic Runners in terms of it’s design and ethical issues.
The game has now forced you to use the micro-transaction system. The only thing worth spending that on is the roulette wheel, which is no different than playing real roulette in a casino. You pay money, then take a chance at the wheel to get a reward.
Sonic Runners essentially becomes a miniature gambling machine, you are enticed to put real money in, then spend that money in the form of red rings, you gamble those rings for prizes, this is gambling, there is no other way to describe it. Then we get into the very murky waters of the fact that the game is aimed at children. This is a miniature gambling game aimed at kids. Surely this should have a higher ESRB rating than it currently does given that it has gambling in it?
Before you say ‘well it’s not really gambling’ explain how? It’s no different from any other form of gambling. In fact it’s just a virtual form of casino chips, if you spend money on this game, then use those rings on the wheel, you are gambling, think about that for a moment. Some of you will be ok with it, but I know a few won’t be.
Were red rings common in the original? No, you still had to work to earn them, but you could get them for playing and doing well if you were dedicated and were generally good at the game. Now, they’re virtually non existent. So few are available that you’ll be crying out for special events or bite the bullet and spend real money to gamble with.
Your chances to get rings are further restricted due to the life/revive change. Whilst this change came during the soft launch, it was done so close to the worldwide launch it’s worth mentioning; you are now only given 3 lives. 1 life will recharge every 30 min. After which you’re told to buy more or wait until they recharge.
Even more pathetic an insult, Sega have been releasing new characters. The only way to get them is by using the roulette wheel. There’s a mere 6% chance at getting said characters. The catch is that their bonuses are much better than the default characters, so if you want to compete, gotta get these characters.
Even Amy is dangled in front of your face like some kind of bait. Spam your Facebook friends who might have no interest in the game, hope they’ll use your referral and you might get Amy… except Facebook links are currently broken so this is impossible.
You want more examples of how the free to play nature ruins what is a decent game? Adverts… everywhere, even for completing a stage, you now get an advert, say goodbye to your mobile data limits as these are video files, the majority of which are 30 seconds long. So far I’ve not seen one which relates to Sonic or Sega, and some have nothing to do with gaming.
This brings me onto another change. When you die in a stage, you can continue if you watch a video advert (there is a limited number per day). This sounds like a great idea… but like most other parts of the game, there are problems. Sometimes the adverts don’t play, sometimes the adverts crash or freeze your game, forcing you to quit, taking with it your life and doesn’t compensate you in any way, and sometimes the adverts are for things not available in your region. I got one advert for medication which isn’t available in the UK!
The always online requirement is still here, and once again it’s proved how pointless it is, players are already cheating and have been cheating for months, asking the question, why the hell is this even a thing? The game would be so much better if this wasn’t even here, it’s just pointless and restrictive to how and where you can play.
So I’ve complained for a while, might as well offer some solutions to these problems.
- Scrap the online only requirement, it doesn’t do anything and isn’t preventing cheating.
- Optimise the game. For the love of god optimise the game for Android.
- Return the red ring rewards for completing the final episode to the soft launch levels.
- Stop putting characters on the roulette wheel and give us a store to buy them from for a limited period of time.
Overall, Sonic Runners was once a really great little game. It was really fun to play and I got lots of enjoyment from it. Then something happened called the Worldwide launch and Sonic runners was turned into a broken mess littered with adverts and the very worst of methods to try and extract money from you.
That’s not a browser advert, I just felt you all needed to see a Game of War advert, since Runners wants you to see them all the time, maybe it’s viral marketing for Eggman’s army having a cross over in Game of War?
Don’t do it, do not waste your time with this, there was a great game here, it’s gone now, it died with the worldwide release. Unless they fix the blatantly broken android version, radically overhaul the red ring system and cut down the adverts avoid this game.
– In terms of its technical performance, it’s easily one of the worst Sonic games of all time.
– Stuttering, lag, freezes after a short period of play.
– Always online.
– It’s a gambling machine aimed at children.
– Designed to take money from you, not reward your ability to play.
– Overheating of your device.
– Trying to explain to your partner why their expensive phone has melted/no longer performs well due to overheating.
*Review based on the Android version of the game, running on Galaxy S5, Nexus 7 (2013) & Sony Xperia Z3.*
Played on the iPhone 5C, using the latest version of iOS.
When I reviewed the initial build of the game, I had nothing but praise for it. In fact, I called it the best Sonic title we’ve seen since Sonic Generations. While I hold to what I said regarding that soft launch version… there’s no way I can continue to hold that opinion with this new worldwide release.
First, I want to go over the positives – the game is still simple and fun in terms of its gameplay. It inherits some of the classic design philosophies but modernised for a new platform and it’s fun to experience. Furthermore, the production values haven’t gone anywhere either. The music from Ohtani is still top notch (if not slightly repetitive by the game’s nature) and the visuals are still great.
Something I highlighted as a positive in my initial look was how it was fair with its freemium nature. This has, unfortunately, become quite the opposite. Runners’ worldwide build finally is using in game advertisements to a mixed approach. I don’t mind having the ability to use a free revive by viewing an ad, but I don’t appreciate them appearing when I try to see my results or return to the main menu.
Red Rings have also become a true premium currency with a questionable approach. The soft launch version not only was more generous in terms of how it rewarded players with them, but I also never felt pressured to spend them. This version has cut rewarded Red Rings in half for defeating most boss encounters in game and upped prices in the store – this, alongside the awful luck based system to earns new characters and buddies, only discourages me from playing the game or purchasing premium currency.
My other negatives still stand also. The game does lack variety (don’t expect to be playing Runners for long periods of time without becoming bored), the story is still abysmally uninteresting/poorly written, and some obstacles in the game feel very cheap. But aside from what I’ve mentioned above, there’s still one more gigantic negative the worldwide version has brought – which is performance issues.
Never during the game’s soft launch builds did I ever experience issues with how the game performed. It ran smoothly and meant that generally, players at fault would be punished fairly. The worldwide version has brought very noticeable stuttering and lag to the gameplay. And this wouldn’t be much of an issue… if it didn’t cause your runs to mess up completely. Lag will make your jump go a little too high, or for you to miss an enemy, or to hit that obstacle you had dodged a thousand times before suddenly smack you in the face. This issue affects the experience immensely.
A few other things I should mention about this worldwide version of the game, as it stands:
- A great fix the game made was showing players what level they would be facing before they entered regardless of the progress you made. This allows you to be much more prepared, and not feel cheated when you enter a level with Tails and fail immensely in a power based stage.
- Revive tokens have been completely nerfed. Not only have they been cut to three, the recovery time for them has been increased. This could be to encourage players to connect with their Facebook friends so they can send revive tokens to one another.
- A new experience system has been introduced. A great idea in concept and would encourage you to perform better in your runs – however the experience system feels limited and not generous on any level, even at just level 10. It makes you think it may just be another nudge to spend more rings, which in turn may make you want to use premium currency to attain…?
I’d quite frankly call the worldwide launch of Sonic Runners a bit of a failure – not only have they made a fun little mobile game a money hungry monster, they’ve introduced new problems to soft launch players that never existed before. This version of Runners is not the same experience anymore, and that truly saddens me.