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)
Note: This review qualifies as mostly ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements.
It’s odd to think it’s been so long since the last major Sonic the Hedgehog release from Sonic Team. In fact, it’s just over six years since the release of Sonic Generations for the 20th anniversary. I’m sure there were raised eyebrows as the 25th anniversary came and went without an A-list title, but perhaps the majority let this pass as the fandom became gripped amidst ‘Sonic Mania’. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Forces
Note: This review qualifies as ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements and story concepts that have already been made public by official SEGA marketing channels. Be aware, if you’ve been on a total media blackout.
In the middle of Sonic Mania’s main adventure mode, Sonic is warped to the Little Planet and finds himself in a spectacularly familiar place. Golden speakers line a series of curvy narrow chutes that catapult our blue hero into the sky, against a starlit backdrop. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Mania
As perhaps one of the most highly-anticipated collector’s items in recent memory, Cook & Becker’s 25th Anniversary Sonic art book has a lot of expectations to meet. It’s not easy to produce an elegant video game-themed art book at the best of times, so working on such a project for a franchise as iconic as Sonic no doubt comes with extra pressure. Especially when the blue blur has been through so many design changes over the years. We recently got our hands on a copy; is it worth your hard-earned money? Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Cook & Becker’s Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Art Book
LEGO and Sonic the Hedgehog. Now there’s two things we never thought we’d see officially put together in the same product. Sure, maybe it’s not as earth-shattering a crossover as the Mario & Sonic series (I mean, who’d have ever seen that one coming, and at the Olympic Games no less?!), but it’s just as mind-bogglingly unthinkable. But, then again, almost anything is possible in the crazy world of TT Games’ LEGO Dimensions. You know what’s even crazier though? This bonkers mash-up of blue blurs and bricks is arguably the best thing to come out of Sonic’s 25th anniversary celebrations this year.
Emphasis on the dozen, add more yolks.
If the history of fiction has proven anything, it’s that villains are far more likely to be more fun to watch than the heroes. So a natural way to get a great arc on paper is to shove all your villains in one place and see how it unfolds. Eggman’s Dozen does exactly that, but will it prove the perfect dish or be a case of putting all the eggs in the wrong basket? Read on and find out!
Mario and Sonic was always the topic at the Copa. With the Olympics just weeks around the corner, Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the Wii U is finally out on the shelves. Promising more characters, better graphics, 14 Olympic events and an array of content, will this game have you partying like you’re in Maracanã, or will you be left thinking of it as Barren da Tijuca?
The biannual bash of gaming’s top titans is here again and it’s a far more enjoyable fare than a certain recent movie featuring two other huge fictional rivals. Mario and Sonic return to the Olympics with their biggest roster ever and a surprisingly meaty single-player experience. However, with this being the fifth outing for this mascot sports series, is it too much of the “same-old, same-old”, or is there enough meat in the portable outing to be worth a purchase? Continue reading TSS Review: Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (3DS)
Now… the last time I wrote about a First4Figures statue in detail was back in 2013, and it wasn’t exactly a happy experience, my statue along with several others had a number of problems, mysterious black marks, badly manufactured joints to name but a few. This, combined with problems with a number of previous statues finally broke the camels back. So I cancelled all my outstanding orders for statues with them, since then I have not bought another F4F product, that rule was in place for me until I saw evidence that they were taking their quality control seriously.
And oh boy, how they have gone above my expectations. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: First4Figures Tornado Exclusive Edition Diorama
Freemium. A word almost associated with fear to many nowadays. You hear the horror stories everywhere – a kid downloads a little free app, next thing you know their parent’s bank accounts are emptied and they have 500 coins of in-game currency to spend. It’s becoming so bad that Apple themselves need to offer consumers the ability to block these purchases from happening, and even market against them. It’s an undeniably profitable market, one which Sonic has dabbled in before. Continue reading Initial Impressions: Sonic Runners (iOS/Android)
This whole Sonic Boom business has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, hasn’t it? Announced in February alongside the CG cartoon of the same name, the third and final entries in Sonic’s Nintendo exclusivity deal – Rise of Lyric for Wii U and Shattered Crystal for 3DS – were the source of much speculation and debate. Not only did it signal the start of a whole new branch of the franchise, one where the convoluted mistakes of the past could be wiped clean and start afresh, but the games were being handled by a whole new development studio. Sonic Team, for better or worse, were taking a back seat this time to Big Red Button and Sanzaru Games – both newcomers to the series – which meant we could expect a brand new take on the characters we all know and love… and boy oh boy, a brand new take is certainly what we got. Continue reading TSS Second Opinion: Sonic Boom (Wii U/3DS)
Giving exploration incentives in a platformer can be a tricky business. It can be a fun aspect or make your game an absolute chore. Sonic Colors does it very succesfully by having you look for red rings to unlock bonus levels. Unleashed does it poorly as it forces you to look around for sun and moon medals to progress to new stages. Many times making you return to some boring, 30-minute Werehog level desperatley looking for sun medals so you can get a new, fun daytime level with Sonic. Sanzaru Games’ Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal works both ways. At best, it can be a thrilling, fun platformer where you’re going a a full speed flow. Juggling homing attacks, enerbeam swings, springs and speed boosts into a beautiful blend that feels like a mesh of classic Sonic and Sonic Rush. At worst, you’re contantly stopping your character without pausing to scroll the bottom map and look for blueprints and crystal shards you need to progress further in the game like your on GameFAQs. Ironically, it’s usually on the exact same level. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal
Can you believe it’s been over 10 years since Sonic X left the airways? We’ve had a long time to debate the good and bad of Sonic X , love it or hate it, it’s been 10 years since the last Sonic cartoon, unless you include Night of the Werehog. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Boom Episode 1 & 2
If you used to watch a show called ‘The X-Files’ you know that poster Mulder has in his office? The one with the UFO and the words “I want to believe” below it? That’s how I’ve felt regarding Jazwares toys lately. Especially their Metal Sonic plush. Would you believe that this was first shown in a complete form way back in January 2012? Since then it’s been used on the Jazwares website, made a random appearance a year later at another toyfair event and been cancelled. With no new toys at this years fair and more cancellations of products… it didn’t look good.. Continue reading TSS Review: Jazwares Metal Sonic Plush
I’m sure I am not alone when I say I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve purchased Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in various incarnations, be it through a port to a 7th gen console or a compilation release over the last decade. Yet, SEGA keep coming back to these classic titles in order to capitalise on those still reminiscing of a golden age, and indeed I keep coming back to these epitomes of gaming on the Megadrive. I might have been apprehensive in purchasing this game once more, had it not been for the involvement of the now legendary Taxman and Stealth in this port, and going off their incredible rebuilds of Sonic 1 and Sonic CD for iOS and Android I couldn’t resist. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (iOS)
The Mario & Sonic series is one that I personally have a lot of history with. I remember almost exploding with excitement when the first title was announced – my two favourite videogame characters, together at last! Sure, it wasn’t the ideal crossover scenario everyone wanted and the game itself wasn’t anything that special, but I lapped it up for sheer novelty value alone, alternating between the Team Mario and Team Sonic t-shirts that came as pre-order bonuses while I shook my Wii Remote around in glee. Continue reading TSS Review: Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U)
From the moment of its official unveiling, Sonic Lost World was poised to drift away from certain standards of games past, making this new title one of the most anticipated games of the year. Gone was the Boost, making way for a fusion of Genesis-era gameplay and parkour-inspired controls! Although, while eyes were certainly glued to any and all information of the Wii U release, many questions arose concerning the Nintendo 3DS version that would surely follow, especially with it being the first ever 3D handheld Sonic game. With Dimps once again behind the wheel, has the Osaka-based developer crafted a solid Sonic handheld experience with its first venture into 3D territory, or has this game only met with 3 dimpmensions of sorry expectations? Does Sonic Lost World 3DS stand on its own apart from Sonic Lost World Wii U, or does it fall short of grabbing that ledge and fall straight down? Let’s dive right into the mellow and find out!
Without a doubt, Sonic the Hedgehog has been making something of a comeback in recent years. After falling to his lowest point in the mid-2000s, SEGA’s blue mascot has slowly but surely been climbing his way back onto the pedestal he proudly stood upon in his early days. Sonic Colours propelled him into relevance once more, while the time-travelling anniversary adventure of Sonic Generations cemented his newfound return to form. The question is – with a brand new gameplay style to show off, does the Nintendo-exclusive Sonic Lost World see the hedgehog grab the edge of success with a well-executed parkour move? Or does it buck the trend and see him stumble, falling back down towards the depths of mediocrity from whence he came? Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Lost World (Wii U)
For 15 years, Funko have been making products based on characters from pop culture. Their range is expansive with hundreds of franchises and over a thousand different products. They’re also no stranger to the Sonic brand. A few years ago they made several Sonic toys based on their Wacky Wobblers line, so it’s not like this is the first time they’d had a go with the Sonic license. However, it is the first time that they’ve used the Sonic license for their ‘Pop! Vinyl’ line. Now the Funko Pop range has a certain ‘style’ to it, so how do Sonic, Tails and Knuckles look after their Funko Pop transformation? Well… Continue reading TSS Review: Funko’s Sonic the Hedgehog ‘Pop!’ Vinyl Figures
The Sonic Show begins a new series of indepth video reviews of some of the more interesting pieces in the world of Sonic merchandise. Continue reading 10th Anniversary Sonic Crystal Video Review
Following close in the wake of Sonic Jump, Sonic Dash seems like an obvious choice in format for a portable Sonic game; an endless runner for a hedgehog who is reknowned for running. On this basis, Sonic Dash can be forgiven for being a near carbon-copy of the popular Temple Run… in fact it is slightly surprising SEGA hadn’t thought of this idea earlier! Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Dash (iOS)
Game-breaking bugs, choppy framerates, and controversial reviews – these are just three of the things that have plagued the Wii U version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed prior to its release. Indeed, it’s not unfair to say that people have been somewhat skeptical about the blue hedgehog’s first leap onto Nintendo’s new console, especially when compared to the 360 and PS3 counterparts of the same game. But now that Sonic has launched alongside the Wii U, are this version’s exclusive features enough to help it speed ahead of the pack? Or has it turned out to be the runt of the litter? Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)
You know… Every time I hear the words “kart racer” I always have a negative thought. Am I wrong to do that? Let’s think about it for a moment. How many times have we seen a random character or series suddenly decide that they can make a video game? The result is usually a random party game or… “kart racer”. Crazy Frog, DreamWorks Super Starz Kartz, Wacky Races, Beanotown Racing and even Disney have made either a very poor or incredibly average “kart racer”. Yes, there are some very good kart racing games out there, but considering how the bad vastly outnumbers the good, I can’t be alone with instantly coming to a negative disposition when I hear “there is a new karting game starring *insert character/series here*”. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed
It seems funny to think why this has taken so long to make, Sonic is over 20 years old, yet I could name franchises not even half that age which have more printed publications like this. Why it took Sonic 20 years to catch on is anyone’s guess. But, we finally have it! An official history of Sonic the Hedgehog, published by Pix’n Love, fully authorized by Sega.
Sonic 4: Episode 2 has got a tough, uphill road to climb. While critics loved the first Sonic HD game in 2-D, many fans were outraged by its poor physics, unoriginal levels with cheesy gimmicks and uninspired boss fights. Add to that, the far superior gameplay of Sonic Generations and many gamers may already be dismissing this next chapter while critics who praised the first game are already looking at this second chapter with a more discerning eye. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Now, before I go into this review it should be noted that I’ve been a big fan of Dimps works up until late. Sonic Rush was one of my favorite Sonic games and I loved the first two Advance games. But lately, they seem to have been faltering. Sonic Colors on the DS was basically another Rush, but not quite as good as the previous two and incredibly sub-par compared to the Wii version. Sonic 4 I felt had good level design and was decent enough for a downloadable title, but the odd physics turned many people off. Now, they have their hands on their first foray onto the 3DS. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Generations (3DS)
It’s no secret that Sonic has been… lost over these last few years. It seems like ever since he left the Dreamcast, Sonic’s been going on a journey of self discovery to “find himself.” He’s tried team-work gameplay, sword play and has even let Shadow take the reins for a game. These various directions have had a variety of different results, but none of them have felt like a true successor to Sonic Adventure 2. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Colours
As a preface to this review, I will say that I am being particularly harsh in my criticisms of this game, because I feel no need to patronize this team or treat the game as “just a fangame,” mostly because of its enormous size, publicity, and history. I’m also sore because I get motion sickness from playing jerky 3D games and am being doing it for spite from all the physical pain it put me through. On to the review…Sonic Robo Blast 2 is a project that has been in development for over a decade and it shows. In the eyes of many fangamers, including this one, it’s in a class of its own. The volume of content and detail in this game is incredible. It is and it feels like a full game. However, it’s far from feeling like a complete game, as there are a large number of truly unfortunate glaring flaws with this game which keep me from really enjoying it. Continue reading SAGE Spotlight: Sonic Robo Blast 2
It’s always hard to judge games like SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection in a review, because the only thing you can really gauge is the offering itself and whether the presentation offers value for money. With the Wii’s Virtual Console providing a lot of classic entertainment at varying prices each, and the Xbox Live Arcade doing the same for certain cult favourites, it seems fitting that SEGA would jump in and provide an outlet for gamers to experience all of their past titles as well. Of course, a Mega Drive Collection is nothing new; the publisher has been supporting the console on Nintendo’s hardware for the longest time, and as recent as 2006 we all saw a Mega Drive Collection released for the PlayStation 2 and PSP. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
One of the first things you can do in Sonic and the Black Knight is view a slide show gallery of artwork, created by blue blur fans around the world. Almost all of them recount classic moments in the franchise’s history within Sonic CD, Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic Adventure 2 among others. It’s a bittersweet irony really, given that the new-age Sonic Team – a studio that’s opening their hearts and willing to do good like an eager puppy – are willing to embrace fan input where it’s positive, yet block out complaints about rushed developments, poor gameplay mechanics and passionless level design and counter with more of the same. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic and the Black Knight
Everywhere you look, classic Sonic games are on things that go beep. With the success of Sonic 1 Mobile, with its sales exceeding 8 million units, SEGA thought it would be a swell idea to port Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to mobile phones as well. Since Sonic 2 is so damn big, it was released in two parts, Dash and Crash. My mobile provider recently put up Crash, so I gave it a spin in order to make my intended Dash/Crash, 2-in-1 review. The verdict? It’s Sonic 2 and good. Big surprise. I’ll keep it brief, kids. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Mobile (Dash/Crash)
I like almost all music. “Almost, you say, Slinger?” Yeah, I cannot stand country whatsoever. When you go to karaoke night at the bars every Wednesday night, the hicks in Nebraska love to sing their Garth Brooks. I’m rather open about rap and hip-hop, as the beats and grooves can prove to be rather cathartic at the end of the day. That, and it can really pump me up before I step onto the field. I have been talking a lot about Charles Hamilton lately, because I like his sound and he has been making news with the release of his new mixtape, “Sonic the Hamilton.” I have had a while to check out his new tracks and I urge you to give this Hedgehog-lovin’ rapper a shot.
As a mixtape, I expect a lot of songs to use sampling. A majority of this mixtape does that and it is rather successful. A well-executed sample can add new dimension to a song and allow people to relive the source material. Many of Hamilton’s samples are, of course, Sonic tunes and when I heard the familiar Genesis tracks, I could not help but not my head with the beat. Continue reading Sonic the Hamilton
I found it hard to write this review. Not because I didn’t know what to say, but because I wasn’t sure how I was going to say it. Hashimoto-san and company have worked very hard on the latest Sonic adventure. It’s clear to see when you take a peek at the screenshots, or learn about the Hedgehog Engine, or hear about how they spent countless months designing Sonic stages that cover hundreds of virtual miles. Sonic Team haven’t scrimped here, they had something to prove after Sonic 06 that they can create a well-produced, non-glitchy game. And they have. Based on the effort put in, I’d give them as many Thumbs Up as humanely possible. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Unleashed
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is further proof, beyond Sonic Spinball and Sonic Riders, that the classic hedgehog formula can be applied to just about any old genre SEGA sees fit (not always successfully, mind). The idea for this game apparently came about during a discussion with Bioware’s managing directors and SEGA America’s President Simon Jeffery. Obviously the concept and challenge of putting Sonic the Hedgehog in untested waters was just too good an opportunity to pass up, but also came with a worrying premise for gamers. Because we’d all been there with Shadow the Hedgehog.
With the standard Sonic games not doing so hot, was a spinoff – which happen to be extremely hit and miss in the history of the franchise – really the best way to go about repairing the damaged reputation the blue blur has? Would the franchise be in good hands with Bioware, an excellent developer known for their more mature RPG projects? Read on and find out, in TSS’ definitive review.
Sonic Frenzy Adventure is one of those games that started a long long time ago and was never quite finished. Unlike most projects which ended up being canned though, SFA has stuck with it and is here to prove that ambitious fangames can be seen through from beginning to end. The question is though, is it still relevant in today’s fangaming scene, with Sonic Nexus and Retro Sonic ushering us into a new, exciting era of the hobby?
What it does, it does pretty well and in an entertaining fashion. You’re not going to walk away from the latest Frenzy Adventure demo thinking it’s a poor excuse for a fangame. Clearly a lot of detail and attention has gone into this game so far, with a stonking 16 Zones promised plus a Chao raising minigame. The presentation for each Zone is impressive, and BlueFrenzy has thrown some good gimmicks and ideas into each one. Continue reading SAGE 08: Sonic Frenzy Adventure
Time Twisted and I have a history together. The game debuted during the same SAGE as my project and we have made an appearance at the show for three years running now. It is always a good sight to see that a project is still alive. Secondly, we both chose the path of emulating Sonic CD, which is a plus, in my book. It remains a highlight of the show for anybody looking for a demo with more content than most (three zones here, broskis). Nonetheless, personally, I am gradually more and more disappointed with each subsequent release.
When it came down to gameplay, the physics are similar to Sonic Panic, in that they are manageable and are not intrusive to the action. A much needed improvement that I noticed this year was the beefed-up spin-dash. It only takes one touch of the space bar to power up Sonic to full speed and that is a godsend, in my opinion. The core gameplay experience does not twist the fun, but there are a few questionable gameplay choices that will. For example, ring loss is, apparently, absent. Sure, it happens, but I cannot collect any rings. None.
Time Twisted, as stated earlier, takes after Sonic CD and its time travel element. In previous years, I did not think there was a reason for the time travel, as Overbound, the creator, might not have thought of a purpose for it at the time. That said, now that development is three years in, there should be a reason why I should even bother going back to the past. I had to destroy something in the past levels of Sonic CD, so there was a reward for keeping my speed up in the present. Here, I am simply unmotivated to brave the journey through time. Time Twisted treats this feature like a novelty and it feels phoned in for the sake of having time travel while other fangames do not. Continue reading SAGE ’08: Sonic – Time Twisted