Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Review

Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Review

Dec 11, 2017

No matter how fast life goes, I doubt it would be so fast that we wouldn’t have time to try to catch up with everybody’s favorite hedgehog, Sonic. As our favorite masked speedster makes a bigger footprint on mobile devices, we can’t help but celebrate one of his latest iterations: Sonic Forces: Speed Battle.

Not a lot of confusing stuff in this one. If you’ve ever played a Sonic game, you’ll feel right at home, with the dashing looks and zoom-zoom animations. Hey, Sonic deserves cool looks, and in this game, he and his cohorts seemingly gets what he wants. It plays in landscape, and utilizes interesting worlds and glitzy backgrounds that house wild raceways bathed in bright colors.sonic3

The action is just what we’s expect: you against random opponents, and race for pints. The raceways are chock-full of helpers and hindrances, so its important to figure out which is which. It feels a lot like three-laned runners, because you have to swipe up/down and right/left to avoid things or collect stuff.

And, as always, this is war. There’s nothing cooler than collecting a fireball to launch at an opponent up ahead, and it’s almost more fun than winning. Still winning garners points, which can be used for upgrades necessary to perform better and unlock tougher challenges.

Pretty tidy.

There are opportunities to use real cash (such as ad removal), and the game is fairly self-contained.

The game is very sonic-y, in that it is just what Sonic and Sega fans should like: high octane arcade racing with plenty of obstacles and weaponized collectibles. This isn’t just about getting from point A to point B the fastest; it’s about deft touch and blasting other competitors to point C. It is familiar, but mostly manages to be fun, and is great for furtive episodes and maybe even longer stretches of play when required. The simple personalizations increase its potential likability, and by not straying too far from its source, Sonic Forces: Speed Battle probably increases its value the most… even across age groups.

SEGA Forever looks to take us way back with retro games on Android

SEGA Forever looks to take us way back with retro games on Android

Jun 22, 2017

Ah yes… the good old days.

Those of us that were lucky cut our teeth on SEGA games. Now, SEGA is letting us to relive those heady times with several retro-ish games.

For free.

The “SEGA Forever” collection starts out with five fan favorites featuring some of gaming’s most iconic characters… and there are more to come.

SEGA Mobile West CMO Mike Evans talks about the nostalgia and rediscovery. “Above all else SEGA Forever is a celebration of nostalgia. It’s about allowing fans to reconnect with past experiences and share them with family and friends in an accessible and convenient way,” he says. “Join us on a journey of rediscovery as we roll out two decades of classic games free on mobile. Create your own ‘SEGA Forever folder’ and collect your favorite classics. Enjoy moments of nostalgia on the go, or sync a Bluetooth controller to enjoy a console-like experience in your living room. SEGA Forever democratizes retro gaming, and seeks to change how the world plays, rediscovers, and shares in classic game experiences.”

Here is a linked list of games that are available now.

Sonic The Hedgehog
Comix Zone
Phantasy Star II
Kid Chameleon
Altered Beast

The games are free (with ads); alternatively, one can look to kill the ads via in-app payment.

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.

Superfrog HD Review

Superfrog HD Review

Aug 4, 2014

The original Superfrog was a platformer that unashamedly ripped off classic Sonic the Hedgehog, and was made by Team17, a company that also made Worms series. Superfrog HD is a remake of that classic that is kinda good, but feels somewhat weird. The story is about a prince, whose princess gets kidnapped, and he gets transformed into a common frog. Well, a common speaking and intelligent frog. But then he notices a potion floating down the river, because why not? It gives him superspeed powers and a cape, because magic potions are awesome like that. Anyway, he needs to find his princess and turn himself back to human form, somehow.

I think that Superfrog HD is probably among the remakes that are really faithful to the original. For better or worse, it feels exactly like a game from the nineties, and although Superfrog HD 2it looks modern, every mechanic evokes the feeling of NES-type games. It’s kind of great, but it does come with disadvantages. There are a lot of moments when I became quite frustrated with how punishing Superfrog HD can be. It looks childish, and it’s not exactly Nintendo hard, but it’s all too easy to miss an enemy or fail a jump. It’s difficult to put the issues in words, so let’s just say the game is more irritating than it looks. By the way, it looks pretty nice.

The gameplay is pretty obvious, especially if you played any of the original Sonic games – or Superfrog, of course. The frog can run around the level, jump, and glide, to try and get as many tokens as possible, and then get to the end of the level. Getting to the end is pretty easy, actually, most of the challenges comes from the hard to reach fruits and coins – and get everything in time as well.

To conclude, Superfrog HD is a nice platformer for the fans of old-school games. It’s kids-friendly, if the kids aren’t too easily-irritated, doesn’t have any serious issues, and all in all, a good remake of the original.

Sonic Dash Gets Bugdroid as Playable Character, and Rest of Sonic Series Goes on Sale

Sonic Dash Gets Bugdroid as Playable Character, and Rest of Sonic Series Goes on Sale

Jun 20, 2014

It’s a big weekend for fans of the Sonic series. First, Sonic Dash has added in two new characters: the Bugdroid (AKA the little green character commonly associated with Android) is now a playable character. Play with the Bugdroid 50 times and a Sonic skin for the Bugdroid is unlocked. Android Police has a screen. It’s amusing in a weird way.

Next up, pretty much every paid Sonic game is on sale this weekend, from Sonic 1 to Sonic 4 Episode 2 (but not Sonic 3 yet…get Christian Whitehead on that, Sega!), for only $0.99. Get on that.

Sonic Racing Transformed Review

Sonic Racing Transformed Review

Apr 18, 2014

When it comes to kart racing, Sonic is the man. And the hedgehog. Whatever… Sonic is the consummate console competitor, and he and his friends have done well on mobile devices too. Sonic Racing Transformed is yet another opportunity for us all to see how fast our blue bandit has come on Android OS.

It is an intense game, and definitely not for the device spec faint of heart. There are two modes off the bat, Single player and multi player, with the single optioning into the advertised new World Tour. There is also the Weekly Challenge, which allows players to compete for streaks and prizes.

In the World Tour, it’s all about racing as we know Sonic to race. The vehicles are closer to real gear than karts, but the mechanism and feel is still the same. Using optional virtual controls that are nestled in the bottom left sonic1along with the miscellaneous gear counters on other parts of the screen, the idea is to jockey for position, avoid obstacles and deployed weapons while deploying your own to thwart the competition. It’s leveled play, with success in a current level needed to unlock higher levels. One interesting aspect is the ability to play these levels at different difficult levels, with correspondingly different payouts. This makes it possible to have a semi-new feel even after cycling through a few times, as there is a tangibly different feel on different difficult levels.

The basics of Sonic racing are all present; windy, windy roads, light play, collectible goodies and more. The different racing environments are a discovery all by themselves, with creatively transformative vehicles matching the creative locations. The game employs tasks, and there are rings that can be garnered by placing well. Rings can be used to get the boosts and characters necessary to be successful, but they are in short supply.

The multiplayer option allows for folks to compete with others, local and otherwise. While the game is stated to be compatible with third-party controllers, I didn’t get an opportunity to use one.

It’s a fun piece of software; there are in-app purchases, even after purchase, but it does pack a lot of play in its fine-tuned raceways.

Sonic Dash Review

Sonic Dash Review

Dec 18, 2013

Sonic hasn’t exactly had a streak of good luck in his old age. Many of the Sonic games have been marketed towards a younger audience, turning their back on the crowd who grew up with the spiky and speedy rodent. Even the episodic Sonic 4 games, which attempted to go back to the Genesis glory, were met with mixed criticism. So when SEGA cranked out another Sonic mobile game, skepticism was natural, especially given that this game, Sonic Dash, is an endless runner.

But SEGA apparently had some magic up their sleeve when creating Sonic Dash. While it is an endless runner, there’s actual stuff to do, rather than avoiding a hoard of something behind you. In Sonic Dash, not only are there the well known rings to collect, but baddies to combat, obstacles to jump over and the occasional boss fight. Rings, as always, will keep you going in this endless runner, even if you manage to goof up. Of course, you can always use revive tokens, or watch a 15 second video for another shot at the level.


There is also the in game currency, in the form of red stars, which allows players to buy new characters, such as Tails, Shadow, Knuckles, and more, or other in game bonuses. There are also a series of power ups players earn or can buy, which boost one’s score, amount of rings received, or other awesome perks.Additionally, there are boss fights, which show up periodically at random times, which allow you to get an even bigger score, sort of acting as a perk.

The levels are randomly generated, as they are in many endless runners, which means players won’t face the same enemies or obstacles in the same spot, nor get the same set of rings, and not necessarily get the same perks in a level as they did the last time they played. This also applies to the end of level bonuses, which can be anything from rings, to points, to puzzle pieces, or anything that aids towards the “daily challenge”.


While it is an endless runner, using a lot of recycled game mechanics and nuances, Sonic Dash is an entertaining mobile title that will work as a great little time waster while waiting for the bus, or goofing around with. It doesn’t do anything mind blowing or terribly unique, other than the Sonic universe the game uses as a backdrop, but then again, what Sonic game has? Sonic Dash, if anything, is one of the first mobile titles with the lovable blue hedgehog that actually feels worthwhile playing.

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Oct 7, 2013

… and it’s about time.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is the Android port of the ever-popular console game that brings the intense kart racing action to the mobile screen. As is clear from the title, we get the world’s fastest hedgehog and 12 of his in-game cronies as optioned racing characters. The numerous environments are engaging, if a bit whimsical… but that is part of the game’s charm.

Anyone who has played this on a console will be relieved to note that the visuals translate well to mobile devices. The swathes of color are present, making the whole game look like the candy heaven it’s supposed to look light. The sega1animations are sharp and effective, and all the characters are easily identifiable to anyone with a smattering of Sonic knowledge.

The gameplay is standard racing fare; get your vehicle, race the opponents, collect boosts, avoid deployed traps and win. There are different types of vehicles, so there isn’t a fear of being confined to something as conventional as go-kart; if racing a banana (and yes, I am not using street-savvy slang to describe a yellow sports car. I am referring to the yellow fruit) is your flavor, this is the game for you.

The single player racing comes in different flavors: Grand Prix, single race, time trial and missions. I like that it is possible to play in multiplayer mode with up to four players online and local wi-fi; Facebook sign-up ensures that social friends can jump into the action too. The built in tutorial is great, with pointers to effect drifting. It should be noted that not all drivers and locations are available at the beginning; they need to do be earned. There is an in-app store, but isn’t needed to progress.

Gaming and interaction…this game makes it look easy.

KickStarter Spotlight: Freedom Planet

KickStarter Spotlight: Freedom Planet

Feb 6, 2013

It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.

And by harken, I mean to say that I could see more than a few people finding this to be a strange, ill-advised Sonic offshoot; that is how similar Freedom Planet looks like the classic Sonic The Hedgehog games. There is a large difference between retro graphics and pixel art, and Freedom Planet’s graphics are most certainly encamped in the former. While I see where the developers are coming from, I feel that the execution is potentially just a little weak and the levels just do not seem to have the same pop and charm of the games it is emulating. What is charming, however, are the character models. These wide-eyed Powerpuff anthropomorphic animals certainly deliver the looks and will garner anyone’s sympathy upon their virtual demise.

In terms of gameplay, it is not surprising to note that the game does borrow heavily from Sonic, but there are enough new elements interwoven to make it really stand on its own. Each character has their own special move and these seem to work in a myriad of ways ranging from conjuring a motorcycle to reflective shields. I do not have a hard time imagining how the wide range of character options and breakneck game speed would attract modern gamers who, as a whole, are very willing to give any deserving indie game a shot. This is aided by the fact that Freedom Planet is being developed for just about every platform other than the PS3 or Xbox 360, including potentially an Android version. Any remaining doubt of this game’s success is quelled upon looking at their KickStarter page and noticing that with still a week to go, Freedom Planet has garnered almost nine times its original goal. Their biggest challenge now is getting approved for Steam through Steam’s Greenlight program, so for any platformer fans who are looking for a new indie game, head over to the Freedom Planet KickStarter and Steam Greenlight page and help make this game a reality.

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.

Sonic CD Comes to Android, Game to be Distributed Digitally and Ironically

Sonic CD Comes to Android, Game to be Distributed Digitally and Ironically

Aug 31, 2011

Sonic CD is coming back! This Sonic title, released for the ill-fated Genesis add-on Sega CD, is being given a modern re-release by Sega, in part because it introduces Sonic franchise mainstays Amy Rose and Metal Sonic, the latter having a connection to the modern Sonic 4 series. The most surprising part of this announcement, and the reason why this is being reported on an Android site? The game is going to be made available on Android, as well as the consoles and the iOS App Store.

This represents Sega’s first major foray into Android gaming, and this is an interesting choice for Sega’s first Android game. The game is running on the Retro engine, developed by a member of the Sonic community named Christian “The Taxman” Whitehead, who designed a proof of concept back in 2009 of the game running on his Retro engine, which is designed specifically to play like classic Sonic games. This means that the game is not an emulation, this is a port, meaning the game should have proper support for widescreen phones, and no worries about incorrect physics like with Sonic 4: Episode 1.

The game itself is particularly notable for its time-travel gameplay mechanic; each act contains Past and Future variants that the player can travel to by passing Past and Future lampposts and then running fast enough to activate the time travel. Each time had its own music and differences in levels, and some actions undertaken in the past or present would have an impact on future versions of the level. Players that detonate the robot generators in the Past and return to the Future will make it a Good Future that is bright and colorful as opposed to the bleak darkness that normally fills the Bad Future. Getting Good Futures in both of the first two acts of a zone makes the third act, a boss fight, a Good Future automatically. As well, the game introduces Metal Sonic and Amy Rose into the Sonic canon for the first time.

This version of Sonic CD will also feature the original Japanese soundtrack and not the alternate US soundtrack. While the members of the Sonic community who realize that there was a difference generally fall in favor of the Japanese soundtrack, the American soundtrack is a nostalgic part of my childhood, so hopefully it is added as DLC in the future; right now it is not in the game due to licensing issues.

Sonic CD will be available on a variety of platforms, including consoles, PC, and mobile platforms by the end of the year, and a review will definitely be up on Android Rundown when it comes out.