The loveable blue Hedgehog is back, running onto Android in
the form of Sonic Dash after being out on iOS for nine months. Sonic and Mario
are two of the games I remember from my childhood that I enjoyed playing immensely.
Unfortunately, Sonic Dash suffers from a lack of polish and has left the sour
taste of pay-to-win in my mouth.
Sonic Dash has recently been released for Android devices
and is available on the Playstore here
and iTunes here. The
game is free to play, requires a download of 42mb and Android 2.3.3
or up to play.
During my time with the game I used my Nexa Orion 10.1, a powerful yet affordable Quad Core 10 Inch tablet, as I climbed
into the running shoes of the iconic blue Hedgehog…
Graphics and Sound – Nostalgically
Lovely Albeit Limited
There is no doubt that Sonic Dash looks great, as the 3D
graphics and colourful environments bring the game world to life. Animations on
characters look smooth, while enemies and moving obstacles in the environments
do well to deliver a sense of immersion.
That is until you unlock other characters to play with. Even though Sonic
himself is animated perfectly, the characters you can buy, especially “Shadow”
has so many animation bugs, from feet clipping to an arm disappearing that
playing with him is almost unbearable.
Unfortunately, the game does not offer a wide variety of
environments. That could have been okay with me, but every time I died or
started the game up again I was thrown back to the first environment, even after
getting to the third environment type. This makes the game very limited, even
though the graphics are great, the nostalgic feeling soon wore off and I quickly
became bored with the same old lavishly green first level.
The sound quality of Sonic Dash is very impressive. Every
sound takes me back to my first Sonic experience so many years ago. The zipping
sound of a speed boost or the unmistakable sound of Sonic rolling around is
masterfully done. Familiar sounds coupled with music perfectly tailored for a
running game produces a wonderful audio experience.
Gameplay and Controls – Fast and Furious
The fast paced movement in Sonic Dash is exactly what you would
expect from the speedy Hedgehog. To jump, you swipe up, while to roll you swipe
downwards. The roll doubles as Sonic’s attack, with which you can destroy your
enemies. Moving left or right requires a simple swipe in the direction you want
to go and can be used while in the process of jumping or rolling.
The gameplay is very straight forward, as the aim of the
game is to run as far as you can without dying, banking some shiny rings in the
process. Movement is extremely fast paced which makes the occasional frame rate
drop a death sentence, as the game seems to lag every few minutes.
The boss battle is fun and engaging, offering three phases. The first phase Zazz throws out stars that you have to dodge from a distance,
while in the second phase he moves closer to you and throws out two stars at
a time. The final phase was somewhat of a letdown, as you only have to tap on
him three times to collect a large amount of points and win, requiring
absolutely no skill to do so.
Even though the fast paced gameplay is fun, the fact that
there is only one boss battle hurts the game in my opinion. Level design is
also somewhat flawed, as every run ends the same. You roll underneath one object to simply run
into one right afterwards without even having vision of the object that killed
you, which makes me feel as if levels were designed in a way to promote In App Purchases (IAP).
Metagame and IAP – Sonic Falls Flat
on his Face
There is no story to progress through, so the only sense of
progression comes in the form of leaderboards where you can see your friends on
Facebook and try to beat their highest score. This could have still been nice,
but competing against players who have dropped some cash on the game is
You can buy a
currency called Red Star Rings which can be used to buy power-ups or revive
your character on a run. Power-ups come in many forms, from total score boost,
speed boosts, ring collection bonuses and many more. This gives a player a distinct
advantage while competing with other players on the leaderboards.
Not only is the game pay-to-win, but it also plagues
the user with reminders of their disadvantage if they opt not to spend some cash every single run. The revive option just screams “go
buy something on our store!” and straight after a failed run as you go to the
main menu the game asks you to rate it, over and over again even if clicking “No
Thanks” instead of “Ask Later”. This broke any sense of immersion I had during
gameplay, which is an absolute shame.
has some amazing graphics and animations, but suffers from a lack of different
environments and occasional Hedgehog killing lag. The sound quality is the best
aspect of the game, delivering some very nostalgic moments.
Sonic Dash offers no progress except for leaderboards which are plagued by IAP
and reminds you of that fact consistently and without mercy. The game is free
to play, so if you want some fast paced Sonic action, there is no reason not to
try it out. However, be warned that the game has no sense of progress and loses
its novelty very quickly unless you drop some serious cash.
Sillicur Twitter / MWEB Gamezone Twitter
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are
those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd