UPDATE: Sonic CD Becomes Free-to-Play on iOS, Forces Users to Pay to Remove Ads

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.

Continue reading UPDATE: Sonic CD Becomes Free-to-Play on iOS, Forces Users to Pay to Remove Ads

Could the US Sonic Runners Servers Be Shut Down Tomorrow?

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?

Sonic 4: Episode 2 on iOS receives new update, now playable on the new OS

S4E2 iOS Update

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

This update numbered Version 2.1.3 is live in US, Canada, and EU.

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: And the US Google Play store) Sonic Runners removed from the US iTunes store

runners2

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:

0UtTmLB

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.

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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.

Volume 2 of the Sonic Runners Soundtrack is Now Available on iTunes and Amazon!

SonicRunners2OST

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:

  1. “Going My Way” (1:01)
  2. “Go Quickly!” (3:09)
  3. “Fiery Passion” (3:34)
  4. “End of the Summer” (3:48)
  5. “Strange Parade” (3:42)
  6. “Magical Snow Day” (4:11)
  7. “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!

Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom Coming Soon to Android and iOS

"WHAT THE WHAT?!!"
“WHAT THE WHAT?!!”

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. Only now, you’ll be playing as the characters from the Sonic Boom franchise. It’s not just running and jumping either. You”ll also be using the Enerbeam (with added tilt controls) and slide on rails among other things. Characters from the show also make an appearance in the back ground. Here’s some more details from the store page.

The dazzling sequel to SEGA’s hit endless runner, SONIC DASH. Featuring the cast and world of the new TV series, SONIC BOOM.

New and amazing 3D worlds, challenges and game play. Play as Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Sonic’s new friend, Sticks. Let’s do this!
SONIC DASH 2 FEATURES
– RACE with up to three characters in new Team Play mode! Swap runners mid-race to earn high scores
– UNLEASH new special powers – Amy’s Hammer, Knuckle’s Jump Up & Slam attack, Sonic’s even faster Dash, and more
– CONQUER new obstacles and badnicks
– DASH on new fast-paced tracks in and above the beautiful Sonic Boom world
– MASTER new Swing & Tilt gameplay with the super charged Enerbeam; tilt your device to swing the runner towards the rings and orbs
– COLLECT, evolve, and run with new magical Sprites
– EARN special prizes in new Events and Daily SEGA Challenges.

No links have worked so far and it seems like it could either be a soft launch starting in Canada again, or the game simply isn’t quite available yet. What do you guys think? Are you excited for a new spin on Sonic Dash or does the thought of yet another Boom game repulse you? Let us know in the comments section. Personally, I’m cool with this. I think Sonic Boom works better for mobile than for console.

EnerbeamSonic Dash 2.1TailsDash

 

 

 

10 Tips For Great Runs In Sonic Runners

RunnersTenTips

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!

Free! Free! Free! But for how long?
Free! Free! Free! But for how long?

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

This is pretty much the only place where rings come in handy.
This is pretty much the only place where rings come in handy.

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

Wait, so where does Sonic keep his rings?
Wait, so where does Sonic keep his rings?

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!

What, you thought you couldn't be stylish on these?
What, you thought you couldn’t be stylish on these?

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

Not like PETA, though.
Not like PETA, though.

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

It can be difficult to maintain, but do your best!

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

This is probably one of the best score increasing sections of the game.
This is probably one of the best score increasing sections of the game.

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

Unfortunately, this is the only way to get them.
Unfortunately, this is the only way to get them.

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

Sonic can't fly, but he can jump three times. Which is almost as good.
Sonic can’t fly, but he can jump three times. Which is almost as good.

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

Prepare to see this a lot.
Prepare to see this a lot.

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!

TSS Review: Sonic Runners (v.1.1.0)

Sonic_Runners_logo

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.

sonic runners

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.

Sonic_Runners_Team_Heroes

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.

sonicrunners2
This is the single most coolest image you’ll ever see in Sonic Runners.

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.

sonicrunners1

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.

runnersasteroid
I’m not touching the screen, the wisp just refuses to come down.

Then there is this odd thing…

charmytheknuckles
Charmy the Knuckles

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.

runnerstore

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.

runnerstoogood
See this? This is why you will NEVER be able to touch those higher level players.

…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.

runnerswheel
Is anyone ok with the fact that Runners is essentially a gambling machine aimed at children?

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.

sonicrunners
Facebook support suddenly disabled

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.

asprin
To read the rest of this review, please take a moment to just stare at this picture of Aspirin for 30 seconds.

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.

sonicrunnersadvert

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.

You’ll Love:
+ When it works, the simple gameplay which is fun.
+ The moment you manage to unlock a new character.
+ Knuckles threatening to kill Eggman.

 You’ll hate:

–  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.
–  Adverts.
–  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.*

Second Opinion by Bradd039243d0917679ed9762e415af2f9e8

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.

Daily Challenges are at least more easily completed in the worldwide release.
Daily Challenges are at least more easily completed in the worldwide release.

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.

UPDATE: The Spin: “What Do You Mean? There’s a Problem With Sonic Runners?”

spin

UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, the following happened.

A YouTube Video was posted showing a possible workaround for the instant crash bug. Looks like it was related to the always online DRM.

UPDATE 2: Sega has published a new update for Android users, the instant crash bug has been fixed but performance problems are still being experienced.

Game still can’t be downloaded by some users despite the fact it runs on those devices fine.

ORIGINAL STORY:

So… How did the Sonic Runners launch go?

sonicrunnersbroke

Take a look at it…  Just look at it, that isn’t them all, it’s barely a quarter of all the complaints I could find, it’s also just from one source, a small sample of all the complaints on the official Sonic the Hedgehog Facebook group regarding today’s release of Sonic Runners.

Sonic Runners was released nearly 20 hours ago and since then there has been nothing but problems reported, mainly from Android users, most iOS users despite some reported problems are actually able to get the game to start and are able to play.

Now with a lot of games lately there are bugs and issues, with mobile games especially, you have the minefield of non standardised hardware being an issue, however Sonic Runners really does set a new standard for some pretty major bugs and issues, some of which potentially pose risk to the actual device and the health of the person playing the game.

Since the game launched, players of the game have inundated Sega’s various Facebook and twitter accounts, as well as the official and fan forums to report problems with the game and in some cases issues which threaten the device it was running on.

The problems are mainly located on the Android platform, however iOS users have also reported serious issues ranging from game crashing, poor optimization, loss of connection and data loss.

Android users however have had nothing but hell since the game launched, if indeed they can get the game launched. I have at hand 3 devices which by all rights should be able to play this game without any problems, all these devices were able to play every single soft launch release build flawlessly.

 

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (barely 6 months old)
  • Sony Xperia Z3 (less than a year old)
  • Google Nexus 7 (3 days old)

 

All these devices are running the most up to date firmware/operating systems. the S5 has played runners daily at length since it originally launched. The following is a list of the VERY serious issues that I have personally experienced and other users on our forums have reported with the same/other devices.

 

  • S5 & Xperia: Crashes the moment you try to start it up, it gives the impression that the app has closed, however it’s actually still running as a background app.
  • Xperia: If the app is started and left in the background (say unnoticed by the user), the phone will get extremely hot to touch, the battery will also drain very quickly.
  • Nexus 7: The worldwide release works and runs, however after only 2 min of play the device gets extremely hot, so hot in fact we had to turn it off for fearing the safety of the hardware and because we were very concerned that it would become a fire hazard had we left it running, one part of the device was so hot it could have potentially burned someone.

 

The issues with the Nexus 7 were so bad, the owner of it immediately uninstalled the game and made me promise never to install it on there again.

Regarding the Nexus 7 issue. This is almost certainly the result of the hardware not being upto scratch, the system is being pushed near it’s limit which is generating a massive level of heat.

But the issue is this. Why is an older device  cleary struggling to play the game able to do just that. But more advanced systems can’t even get past a splash screen?

Following efforts to get the devices to play Runners, we also noticed that the devices had issues with their normal operations after the game was stopped, such as 3G & 4G connectivity completely failing for around an hour and some other web service issues, yes we even travelled to another location to verify this wasn’t a localised problem to the area.

As mentioned, other users who have got the game working on android have also noticed phones/devices overheating (confirmed on both iOS and Android), some have reported data loss when upgrading to the worldwide launch version and others have reported major performance problems on both iOS and Android.

Now to be fair here, I have some experience with developing games for mobile devices and there is a problem, unlike developing for a console, even if your testing studio has 100 devices, you will still never have universal compatibility or be free from problems, even from things such as the size of the screen can fail a build. When releasing a game for Android, you will NEVER have a problem free launch…

However… given the scale of the issues reported, this can barely be an excuse, some of the most advanced devices using the latest OS and firmware are reporting major problems, even in Sega’s own compatibility list, devices which should work are not, in fact Sega has only said iOS users must be over iOS 7. There is absolutely no reason at all why the S4, S5, S6 or the Sony Z3 shouldn’t be able to play this game. It’s frankly baffling how this was allowed to be released in it’s current state.

But you know what is really odd about all this?

Yesterday, all these devices were playing the game fine, absolutely no problems, I was enjoying the game and have been doing nothing but praising the game since it was launched, yes I have some issues with it which I was actually intending to bring up later if they were still present in the worldwide version, but given the state of the worldwide version as it stands right now, it’s not worth the risk to your device to play it.

Now to be fair, Sega have release a statement on the matter.

 

runnersstatement

 

I want to be reassured that it’ll be fixed soon, I really do, I really love Runners and really want to play it again, however it took 2 years for them to fix Sonic 4 on mobile devices and it’s really easy to put a statement like that out, especially with no time frame or what they define as a ‘challenge’.

Especially since in a few hours time the birthday celebrations are due to begin, in which free items will be given away and users will have the chance to get classic Sonic… will we get it fixed in time to be in with a chance at picking him up? If not, how is that going to work? Compensation? If so how you going to do that since there’s no way to prove who was prevented from playing and who is a new user?

I don’t like this waiting game, especially when it was working fine the other day and there really is absolutely no justifiable reason as to why this became such a disaster for such a large portion of the user base who provided you with the test data for today’s launch.