When the best thing that you can say about the latest crop of a long-running video game property is that "the tie-in children's TV show isn't completely terrible," it's not a ringing endorsement. Such is the case with Sonic Boom: after nearly two decades of hit-and-miss remixes on the familiar Sonic formula, SEGA hit a real stinker with the almost universally-reviled Wii U/3DS dual release last year. The "hip" new designs for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and the rest of the gang might have been forgiven if the game itself hadn't been one of the worst entries in Sonic's 24-year catalog.
It's odd, then, that SEGA is continuing the "Sonic Boom" label with its latest mobile game, instead of relying on the tried-and-true classic version of sonic that appeals to the nostalgia crowd.
Pity poor Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy is basically the Dallas Cowboys of the video game world: after gaining almost universal appeal in the 90s, his victories over the last few years have been few and fleeting. But SEGA isn't giving up on its blue mascot, if only because he's probably the only marketable franchise that isn't a Kickstarter campaign or a hyper-sexualized murder machine. So here we are, with a new Sonic game that sees one of the most iconic platforming stars in the world... aping mobile endless runners.
Play Store users can get 5 SEGA games at significant discounts for a limited time, each at $0.99. These are part of the larger set of apps, games, and media on sale in the Play Store's weekly deals collection.
Some characters have to be shoehorned into an endless runner, but for Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog, the genre is a natural fit. Now Sega is offering a Nintendo-style promotion that's only available for Android. Here's your chance to take our lovable green Bugdroid out for a spin, as the developers have dropped it into the game and are daring players to see if machines really are better at everything.
But that's not all. Players who play as Bugdroid fifty times can permanently unlock "Andronic," a disturbingly deformed version of Sonic that looks as though it has been crammed into a soda can and given pills for limbs. Dr.
December 25th, 1993. A fresh-faced and (mostly) innocent little boy wakes up and rushes through his breakfast to make sure he beats his little sister to the Christmas tree. Underneath he finds four gifts: a Sega Genesis game console, RBI Baseball, Disney's Aladdin, and Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Twenty years later, that boy, no longer little and considerably less innocent, can relive countless wasted hours on a 5-inch phone screen. Sonic 2 is now in the Play Store.
Sonic 2 was a big deal when it launched back in the early nineties - aside from being the first sequel to the smash hit original, it introduced bigger platforming levels with more unique elements, the now-ubiquitous Spin Dash attack, and a playable second character.
Oftentimes many companies take the easy way out and produce a simplistic endless runner to shoehorn any popular character into. But in the case of Sega's Sonic Dash, it's a match made in heaven. Endlessly running is what this blue hedgehog has always done in his free time, and to be honest, this style of gameplay isn't all that different from what's available in many of his latest mainstream titles. This release frankly makes sense, and as far as runners go, it's actually pretty good.
There's nothing forced about the gameplay here. Sonic's focus has always been running forward as quickly as possible, jumping over obstacles that get in his way.
How awesome would it be if Mario Kart were released for Android? Pretty awesome, right? Well if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak, so here's Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.
That may not be entirely fair. The last two entries in Sega's kart racing franchise have been well-received on consoles, even putting aside the question of why the world's fastest hedgehog needs any kind of vehicle at all when he's racing. Maybe he just really wants some cup holders for that 44oz soda, I dunno. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a mobile release of the original SEGA kart racer from 2010, not the more recent Sonic All Star Racing Transformed.
There were a lot of cool things about the early 90s, but few made the impact on gaming that one spiky blue mammal did. Sonic the Hedgehog was SEGA's flagship product, and that original game was (and still is) amazing. Well, at GDC today SEGA broke the news that the original Sonic the Hedgehog is coming to Android in April. What's more, it has been completely remastered to be native on Android. My nerd heart sings, friends.
Update 4/9/13: Gameplay video.
Sonic was great because of the incredible sense of speed – something so few games (including recent Sonic titles) have managed to replicate.