Sonic Runners is pretty fun mobile game...provided you can withstand the constant bombardment of advertisements, patch notes and offers.
In Sonic Runners you, yep you guessed it, run. It’s a 2D endless where the only control you have over your character is tapping the screen to jump, which you need to do in order to avoid the constant barrage of obstacles that Dr. Eggman sends your way. As you play you unlock “companions” which accompany you on your journey and provide you with bonuses such as a score multiplier or having access to a certain power up. After a certain point you will encounter Dr. Eggman who is trying to get away in his Eggmobile. You have a certain amount of time to cause as much damage as possible so he’ll drop a whole swath of sweet, sweet gold rings. Also along the way you can collect crystals which increase your score, provided you can keep the combo going.
You’d think with such a simple game it’d be hard to mess up, right? Well this is a mobile game after all...
Simple To Play, Hard To Master
All you need to do is jump. You can jump once, twice or even three times in a row, and all this is accomplished by tapping the screen. It’s a simple mechanic that suits mobiles perfectly and it allows anyone to play almost anywhere. Be it the bus, school or in a car. Except if you’re driving the bus or car. Don’t do that.
After you defeat Dr. Eggman Sonic will speed up, which then adds a much needed challenge to the game. This is done up to three times, as after that you will continue at “top speed”. This is the point where the game starts to provide a challenge. Your reflexes are put to the test as you aim to avoid badniks, incoming missiles or the occasional gap in the earth. It’s not unfair in the slightest, as you can bounce along the badniks or use the power ups provided in order to make it as far as you can.
Most stages lasted me between two and three minutes, which to me is the sweet spot for a quick game. If you have the skills to pay the bills you can certainly go for much longer, but after about a minute or so you will have enough points to progress to the next stage, so it isn’t really worth it.
It’s A Pretty Game
I know, there are plenty of other mobile games that put this to shame in the graphics compartment, but as someone who prefers more colourful games this certainly is a great looking game. Seeing it in motion does it more justice than these images.
It’s a simple looking game, but I believe for mobile the simpler the game looks the better.
Multiple Playable Characters
While you start off as Sonic, you unlock Knuckles and Tails as you play through the story. You can also unlock Amy by getting ten of your Facebook friends to download this Sonic Runners. Looks like I won’t be playing as Amy anytime soon. The rest of the characters have yet to be “revealed”(A few were available when this game was only out in Canada and Japan, the rest were found through data mining).
Each character belongs to either the speed, power or flight class, as well as having their own unique abilities.
Don’t worry folks, someday we’ll get to play as Shadow the Hedgehog.
At the minute the only thing you can actually pay for is more red rings, which are then used to buy rings or more lives(Like many mobiles games, you have a cooldown timer for lives). Luckily enough, it seems as though red rings are plentiful. Within ten minutes of playing Sonic Runners I had over 100 red rings. I then used 50 red rings to buy 40 lives. I currently no have 73 red rings and it seems to be increasing at a steady pace every time I play.
You can also use gold rings to upgrade your character, and it seems as though they are plentiful. It currently costs 1200 gold rings to upgrade my character. I have 43,600 at the minute.
I say they’re non-aggressive at the minute because this is still the launch week. The developers are handing out rewards like there’s no tomorrow, so I am assuming this abundance of rings will only be temporary. I will update this review accordingly if anything changes. Plus, I only got 40 lives because they are offering extra as a launch week bonus. Originally I would have only got 18 lives, which is a petty amount compared to what I have, and should always get.
The Music Is Decent But Repetitive
It’s a Sonic game, so having at the very least decent music is expected, and I know this is just a mobile game, but the music gets very repetitive very quickly. It’s really just the same eight bars or so repeated most of the time.
Companions Is A Nifty, Yet Tedious Addition
Companions grant bonuses if you take them with you into a level. Some give bonuses to your final score, some increases the number of rings you can collect and others can increase the time that your power ups last. They are a neat addition as many of them come from previous games(except for Chip from Sonic Unleashed. In a franchise full of sub-par characters, he really takes the cake. My hatred for him knows no bounds.) and I have to admit, it is quite humorous seeing the Death Egg follow in the the background behind you. They can be levelled up just like your own characters, and each one works best with a certain character. It adds some depth to an otherwise shallow game.
The problem with them is how tedious they are to acquire. At the end of every world you receive an egg, but you can only unlock a companion by collecting a certain amount of eggs and even then you have to spin a roulette in order to get one, as they are ranked from common to rare in terms of availability. Other companions can be received through completing ridiculous events, such as the birthday event going on at the minute.
A Fun Game Underneath A Mountain Of Trash
Sonic Runners is one of the most obnoxious games I have ever played when it comes to in-game ads, be it for other games or for offers that are happening in the game itself. There is just too much going on within the menus. There is three ‘SALE!’ signs at the top right of the screen, a banner telling me it’s Sonic’s birthday, a scrolling text that tells me how to unlock Amy, five different buttons that take me to different screens with even more information. Even when you go to play a level it will take you to another menu asking you what power ups you would like to use. Come on Sonic Team, I just want to go fast.
As someone who never has bought an in-app purchase, I would easily pay something reasonable to remove the in-game adverts. One plays every time you finish a level, and while that doesn’t seem so bad it pops up quite suddenly. I’ve accidently clicked on them a few times which always takes me out of the game. Which is a problem because...
EDIT: As ABSmuckers has pointed out, the ads will disappear if you make an in game purchase, so if you plan on keeping Sonic Runners on your phone I’d recommend going for the cheapest one.
The worst thing about Sonic Runners is it’s unnecessary need to me constantly connected to the internet. To make matters worse, connection errors are rife at the moment, even if your internet connection is fine. Being disconnected every few minutes makes trying to get into an actual levels an annoying process. Luckily I haven’t been disconnected while playing a level yet.
Most of the times the game will try to reconnect itself, but there are a few times where the game kicks me back into the title screen, causing me to lose my entire progress. It can frustrating to say the least.
Having to be connected the internet constantly should not be that much of a problem for the city dwellers if they are out and about, but if you’re simple country folk like myself being able to play while travelling is near impossible.
Look, Sonic Runners is a fun and simple, yet challenging game that you should consider if you want to play something quick, but that is only if you can stomach the obnoxious bombardment of information that this game is constantly throwing at you.
There are plenty of other mobile games that accomplish what Sonic Runners is doing without the layer of trash that is stuck on top of the game. However, what this game has that many other mobile games lack is charm. It’s almost like Sonic belongs on mobile.
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