RELEASE: 3/2013 | PUBLISHER: Sega America | DEVELOPER: Hardlight | Rated: 4+
The flood of “Endless Runner” games for iOS and other handheld devices is in full swing. I can’t take the subway to work without seeing half a train car playing Subway Surf; much like last year at this time everyone was playing Temple Run. Always aspiring to be the odd-man-out, I’ve been searching for an alternative. Then I saw a tweet from @SEGA that made me smile; the blue hedgehog has released its own endless runner game called Sonic Dash.
I can’t think of a game character better suited for this genre (it’s a genre all it’s own now, right?). I have fond memories of Sonic games of the past that have been all but ruined by any modern take on the character. This simple runner is the perfect venue for Sonic and I’m sure it didn’t take a mammoth investment to make it happen.
A lot of endless runners make good use of the vertical phone screen. The graphics allow the player a distinct vantage point to see what is coming up ahead in their path. Most use smart phone’s motion sensing technology to maneuver left and right. That is where Sonic Dash starts to break from the norm. Moving left to right, as well as jumping and sliding are all done with fingers swipes. This slight difference allows the game to have a little more depth, at times having to cross multiple paths to get to a safe passage. Sonic Dash’s courses are made up of three columns.
Sonic also has the element of rings. Usually, colliding with an object or villain would result in the end of the run; in classic Sonic style, having collected rings basically gives you a chance to continue. Colliding with enemies will have you lose all your rings, then continue (that is if you have any rings left). This can be a little confusing at first; colliding with enemies makes you lose all your rings, whereas hitting a wall will end your run regardless of your rings.
The “dash” in Sonic Dash is an invincible hyper-speed mode you can enter. It’s built up by collecting enough rings consecutively and is best used on some of the more complicated parts of the course. While dashing, you can blaze through enemies, walls and even jumps.
Sonic Dash is not perfect. It has two glaring flaws. One, being the title screen is simply not sharp looking, almost low resolution on today's perfect-pixel screens. Two, the constant nagging for in-game purchases is unnecessary and delays starting a fresh game for some excruciating seconds.
All in, if you like Sonic the hedgehog this game/app is worth you $1.99. If you are just a fan of endless runners, pick it up during a free download offer or wait for a sale.
I got your free rings right here, Sega
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