Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom Review

Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom Review

Oct 27, 2015

If there’s one think Sonic does very well, beyond providing a positive image of spiny mammals and making his enemies stress, it’s running. This attribute is on full, glorious display in Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom.

The gameplay will be far from mysterious for anyone who has tried a three-laned runner; it’s in the same vein as Temple Run. One gets a top down view, with the gameplay happening in portrait. Visually, it will again be familiar to fans ofsd3 the Sonic universe, with plenty of deliberate colors and fun animations. The sounds are cheery, and pay homage to the arcade beginnings, and altogether it’s a smooth presentation.

But as for the gameplay itself, again, it’s familiar fare. Sonic is front and center as our main star, and his job is to navigate the running area; of course, there are a slew of dangerous obstacles that are looking to end the run of our hero hedgehog. To avoid them, one can gesture swipe to the left and to the right, which causes Sonic to hop into an adjacent lane when possible. Swiping up makes him jump over obstacles, and swiping down makes him skid under airborne pieces. Timing is everything, as a mistimed action can have bad consequences.

To make things interesting, there are a bunch of collectibles, too, and they lend themselves to the console version, what with magnets and game coins and temporary invulnerability and such. They are placed strategically, such that it takes a bit of daring to collect them; opportunity cost situations abound. As one goes on, one is sees special powers and windy paths, with breakaway sections and the like. It gets faster and tougher too, with objectives and even tilt controls added to the mix.

It’s pretty straightforward: run far, avoid obstacles, profit. Not a lot of complexity, but one cannot complain about a game that is easy to pick up and play. There are in-app purchase opportunities, but the game also provides non-monetary means of expediting things.

All in all, easy does it. It’s Sonic, after all.

Amazon Appstore Discounts Nine Games for Black Friday

Amazon Appstore Discounts Nine Games for Black Friday

Nov 29, 2013

On this day of mass consumerism, Amazon is about to throw a sweet deal Android users’ way: they have nine games available for free on November 29th only. These include Sonic the Hedgehog, Angry Birds Space, Fruit Ninja, and six more. The games are available though the Amazon Appstore only, so jump on the deals while they last. This page lists all the free games for US users. UK users can check their list here.

Sonic The Hedgehog Titles Coming To The Green Throttle Arena

Sonic The Hedgehog Titles Coming To The Green Throttle Arena

Jun 12, 2013

Green Throttle Games and SEGA have announced that they will bring two Sonic the Hedgehog games to the Green Throttle Arena with full Atlas Controller compatibility. An update is on its way that will provide Green Throttle support to the Android versions of Sonic 4: Episode I and II.

“The opportunities in mobile gaming today are extremely exciting, and partnering with Green Throttle to bring a console-like experience to our mobile games is one example of what’s possible with the processing power of new devices,” said David Zemke, Director of Mobile Business Development for Sega of America. “There is great value in Green Throttle’s Arena app and it was a simple integration to add support for the Atlas controller to our games, giving fans a new way to play. We hope to bring even more games to the Arena in the coming months.”


Sonic the Hedgehog Review

Sonic the Hedgehog Review

May 17, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog is a classic, at least in the sense that it was the launching pad for a famous character. In reality, it’s a lot more like some bands’ first album: their later stuff is more refined, exploring their strengths better, to make for a better product. Such is the original Sonic game. Sonic 2 and 3 do a lot to make the series much better, so I must admit that when I heard that Sonic 1 was being remastered by Christian Whitehead and company a la Sonic CD, I was initially disappointed. But really, there was no reason to be: the tweaks and new features make this better.

Sonic should be well-known at this point. Run, jump, fight Eggman’s robots and contraptions (though he’ll always be Dr. Robotnik to me), and avoid those darn spikes. This is the game that started the classic formula, including the most underappreciated part of the series’ gameplay: the complex levels and challenging platforming that comes from their multiple layers.

Sonic1_Screenshot 7

The spin dash I have mixed opinions about: it makes the game feel better, but it makes certain sections much easier. This is especially true of the final boss, where dodging the sparks that come out becomes much, much easier thanks to the ability to quickly speed away from them on a dime. But hey, it makes the game a bit less frustrating, so it’s worth it, right? Plus, it’s just an option, so the purists can turn it off.

The other new features add a lot of value to the game. It’s possible to play as Tails and Knuckles, or even Sonic with Tails. Powerups from later Sonic games can be used. There’s a Time Attack mode. The cartridges for the three different versions of the game as well to be displayed when launching the game. It’s a minor feature, but for a project powered by hardcore fans who have gotten to work with Sega, it means a lot.

The controller support helps to make this a far-improved experience as well. A wide variety is supported just like in Sonic CD – the MOGA models are supported as are HID controllers, for example. The virtual controls are far from perfect, but at least they’re configurable.

Sonic the Hedgehog may not be the best game in the series, but the bonus content that comes along with it (in surprising amounts) is well worth checking out for fans both new and old.

GDC 2013: Sonic the Hedgehog Gets Remastered by Christian Whitehead

GDC 2013: Sonic the Hedgehog Gets Remastered by Christian Whitehead

Apr 5, 2013

The developer who helped bring Sonic CD to mobile platforms in a flawless port is back with a new port, this time of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Christian Whitehead has brought his remastering touch to the Sonic game that started it all, dramatically improving and modernizing the emulated Genesis version currently on the App Store. Thanks to the rebuilt game’s new native engine, the graphics now support the Retina Display, widescreen, and the iPad. The virtual controls are improved as well, and some minor tweaks and improvements to pathing that will make the game play better than ever.

For extras, there’s the ability to see the US, EU, or JP version of the Sonic 1 cart in the menu, and to play a new Time Attack mode. This revamp releases in April, and will be a free update for those who already own Sonic 1 on the App Store, and will be available on Android as well with gamepad support.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review

Aug 27, 2012

I’m a life-long Sonic fan. Sure, I’ve had a rough relationship with the series since the turn of the millennium, but I still love the series deep down. I just tend to be a harsh critic of it. Sonic 4 Episode II is my latest title to criticize. This is the latest 2.5D revival of Sonic, featuring 3D graphics, but gameplay on an entirely-two-dimensional plane. Sonic is partnered with Tails, which allows him to fly briefly through the levels, along with other new abilities. The levels are new designs based on themes inspired by the classic Sonic games. In particular, Sonic 2 has a telling influence on the levels in this game.

Sonic 4 Episode II the more that I play it is quiute simply the fact that instant death is such a prevalent part of the game. Levels that feature multiple bottomless pits that essentially test the player’s life count in order to provide artificially-inflated challenge just do not feel like much fun. They’re really just frustrating, and it’s not satisfaction I feel when I succeed at a particular death trap; it’s relief. Good games give the player a positive feedback loop, and Sonic 4 Episode II fails at that.

It’s a shame because there’s such a promising core here. Integrating the Sonic and Tails cooperation in to the game is such a great combination for a Sonic game. Yes, Tails has been able to fly Sonic before, but it hasn’t been integrated into the game quite like this because the levels were designed for non-flying characters. Becauase there’s no choice but to use flight at times, there’s an ingeniousness to the levels. And the new combo abilities such as the powerful high-speed rolling that Sonic and Tails can do are well-integrated. The non-linear level structure is a great choice to go along with it.

Yet, I keep coming back to the annoying death traps, and they still just aggravate me. It’s almost not because of the deaths by themselves, it’s the fact that this level design crutch keeps getting used. The core here is so promising, and frustrating sudden deaths keep the game from achieving its full potential.

I’m still looking forward to a hopeful Sonic 4: Episode III.

GDC 2012: Hands-On with Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge from Sega

GDC 2012: Hands-On with Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge from Sega

Mar 13, 2012

Sega was at GDC showing off some of their latest titles, and mobile was a big focus for them. Including new titles and updates for iOS, they showed off a pair of Android games: Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge.

Sonic 4 Episode 2, the next episode in the 2.5D Sonic revival series, was shown running on a Transformer Prime, with two levels available for play. Fans will be glad to know that the physics system has been revamped from the original; no longer is it possible to stick to walls, defying gravity as Sonic runs up at impossibly slow speeds. It feels much more like a classic Sonic game.

The game uses both a jump and action button, used to fly with Tails when in mid-air, and to do a forward rolling attack when on the ground that keeps going until canceled out or when they hit a wall. The Android version will support external gamepads such as the Xbox 360 controller, along with the Xperia Play. The on-screen joystick has been improved from the original, though.

The Android version launches later this March, and will be available for two weeks exclusively on Tegra 3 devices. When asked, Sega said that the game should run on any device that will run Sonic 4: Episode 1.

Next up was Virtua Tennis Challenge, developed by the same team at Sega who developed classic iterations of the franchise. The game was shown running on the Xperia Play, with full support for the device’s controls, using the d-pad and four face buttons to serve and return shots. The analog touchpads were not in use. The CPU opponent is very tough to start off with; expect to get annihilated when starting out.

The game also features a touch-based control scheme, utilizing gestures in order to pull off the 5 shot types. Bluetooth multiplayer is also available for playing with up to 4 people wirelessly. This one is scheduled for release at some point in the near future. That was their Android showing, and no other details were available on future Android titles from Sega, but this feels like it will be a bigger push from them on the platform.

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Coming Early to Tegra 3 Devices This March

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Coming Early to Tegra 3 Devices This March

Feb 28, 2012

Sonic 4 Episode 2 has been confirmed for Android devices, and it’s coming really, really soon for a certain subset of them. Phandroid is reporting that after playing the game hands on at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, that the game will be coming to Tegra 3 devices this March. Probably the most prominent of Tegra 3 devices currently available is the Asus Transformer Prime, though more devices are rolling out with the chip, such as the LG Optimus 4X HD. Still, this will mean that only a limited number of people will be playing it on Android at its March launch, though the game will be available for Android at large in mid-April.

The second episode in Sega’s 2.5D Sonic 4 series (the first episode of which recently launched on Android) will bring Tails into the mix, with special attacks available for Sonic and Tails together. A trailer for the game has recently been released, showing off some of the game’s new levels. We’ll have more on this game as it approaches release.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Review

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Review

Jan 26, 2012

Sonic 4 is finally on Android. Sega’s revival of their legendary franchise utilizes 3D graphics, but is otherwise an entirely 2D affair that recalls the classic games, in both gameplay along with common level styles, graphics, and music themes Even the bonus levels are similar to the original Sega Genesis (Mega Drive for European 16-bit gamers) games. This is a port of the iOS version of Sonic 4 specifically – the console versions received some changes pre-release, particularly to the physics, graphics, and to two levels that are all still in the mobile versions.

This is a game that does tend to utilize the classic Sonic games’ nostalgia to advance itself – there are a lot of elements taken directly from the classic games, rearranged in new ways. This is not a bad thing, because the classic Sonic games represent the pinnacle of the series, and seeing these concepts presented in new ways is certainly enjoyable for fans of the franchise. The Android version looks fantastic, even better than the iPhone version which never had Retina Display graphics enabled.

The tiny d-pad was an ill-advised interface choice; it makes movement extremely difficult. Some of the weird physics are still here; Sonic still seems to be very sticky to the surfaces he stands on, and gravity feels very floaty. Especially compared to the recently-released Sonic CD, the physics will feel odd. This also is a release of a game that did come out in October 2010 on virtually every modern platform; the audience that hasn’t played it yet is likely small, and there’s nothing new here that the other versions of the game don’t have. Ice Cream Sandwich users should note that the game doesn’t run properly on that version of the OS yet.

But hey, this pretty much had to come out, didn’t it? Episode 2 is planned for Android, and this gives folks on the Android platform a chance to check this version of the game out before the next version comes out. For Sonic fans, this is well worth the retraux blast, and the Android version is a very good version of the game.