Sonic's Microtransaction-laden Adventure
Sonic the Hedgehog has seen multiple releases already on mobile devices with games like Sonic Dash and Sonic Jump. With his latest mobile offering, he gets a game designed by Sonic Team itself instead of a Western developer. However, the end result, Sonic Runners, may have compelling gameplay, but it has a free-to-play model so sinister that it would make even Dr. Eggman shake his head in disgust.
It seemed like the obvious type of game for Sonic the Hedgehog of all characters to inhabit, the runner. However, Sonic Runners is hardly just another runner game. It has multiple levels to it that show off areas from Sonic: Lost World, such as the Green Hill equivalent of Windy Hill, Desert Ruins, Sky Road, and even Dr. Eggman's stomping grounds in the game, Lava Mountain.
There's an insane amount of text for a game of this type through Sonic Runners' story, and all of it is unneeded and superfluous. I ended up just skipping the dialogue entirely, as there are only so many scenarios that can be set up that have Dr. Eggman doing evil hijinks for the umpteenth time.
|The runner genre seems perfectly fitting for Sonic the Hedgehog, and it mostly is.|
|These Egg Pawns are no match for Sonic's speed.|
|Earn enough points in a run to make your way to a given chapter's conclusion.|
|A hit to Dr. Eggman will let loose a whole lot of precious rings.|
This all begins with dying once in a given run. You are given a chance to return to your run by either spending a certain amount of Red Rings or through watching a 30-second advertisement. This isn't counting the ads that you have to watch after runs that pop up occasionally. Throw that in with long and frequent load times, and you're already getting your chops busted enough.
However, that wasn't enough for Sega or Sonic Team. You get two different roulette wheels to spin, one of which you get a free spin on a daily basis. The thing of it is that this wheel is pretty much full of useless stuff that you wouldn't want to spend your time with. The actual roulette wheel that has worthwhile goodies on it (such as new eggs to hatch new Buddies, or new characters to unlock) requires 50 Red Rings to spin. This would be great if Red Rings came naturally at a fast enough pace to feel you were investing your time in a positive way.
|Levels start out slow enough, but every now and then the speed increases.|
Thus, Sonic Runners is a good designed gameplay experience that is trapped behind walls upon walls of sleazy microtransactions and is a slave to the free-to-play model. It's the type of game that is a perfect example to unfortunately bring up to show how not to make a mobile game that respects the player and doesn't treat them so obviously as a money-generator. Otherwise, Sonic Runners is an enjoyable runner, when you actually get the chance to play it without all the loading times, ads, notifications, and microtransactions.
[SPC Says: C-]