All Sonic: My Attempt To Play Almost Every Sonic Game

51. Sonic Drift

  • Original Platform: Game Gear
  • Where to get: Sonic Adventure DS, Sonic Mega Collection Plus

An extremely basic kart racer made for the Game Gear. Because of how big the screen is, Sega decided that there was too much to handle and had all the gameplay take place on the lower third of the map, with the background and map taking up the rest of the screen.

You drive through three cups, all of which have tracks based on the same six levels from Sonic 1 (16-bit version, not the one on Game Gear), with different layouts. They all feel exactly the same, though, with the background being the main thing different. The backgrounds do look very nice, though.

Dotted along the tracks are a few powerups, such as a spring jump and an invincibility that speeds you up and seems to last for almost an entire lap.

That’s about it for Sonic Drift, there’s not much interesting about it.

52. Sonic Eraser

  • Original Platform: Mega Drive (via Mega Modem)
  • Where to get: Unavailable.

A Sonic game that was only released in Japan via the Modem for the Mega Drive, through the Sega Game Library service. It’s a shape matching block puzzle game (which is nice, as it is colourblind friendly), although has very little to do with Sonic other than his sprite appearing in Vs mode.

Blocks of four shapes will fall from the top of the screen, you can’t rotate the block itself but can change the order of the shapes within the block. Once they fall down, any groups of two will vanish, and the game will speed up over time. I’m not a big fan of games like this, but found Sonic Eraser to be enjoyable. 

On top of the regular mode, Sonic Eraser has a few different ways to play. While in a regular game, each individual shape will fall down, the Block mode has each “block” stick together, only falling when combos are made. There’s also a “doubt” mode, where a random shape will turn into a white square once it has fallen, adding some randomness.

Round mode contains 40 puzzles. It will give you an initial setup with some special spinning blocks. You have to remove these by matching them up, which is done by removing the shapes around it. 

Finally, there is Vs mode which can be played in 2 player against a computer. As you play, your Sonics will battle and if you knock the opponent out, you win. The computer seems very bad at the game as I didn’t have much of a problem defeating it. And while the music in the singleplayer modes are bad…the versus music might be the worst Sonic music:

53. Sonic Forces – Speed Battle

  • Original Platform: Android/iOS
  • Version Played: Android
  • Where to get: Google Play, Apple App Store.

Another sequel to Sonic Dash, kind of. This takes the autorunning gameplay and put it onto specially designed courses, where the object is to race to be the first to the finish line, avoiding obstacles and using power ups to battle other racers.

For a while, I wasn’t sure if I was racing real people or not. They have names of other people, but I know from other mobile games (like Mario Kart World Tour), that these are often fake and you’re just racing AI using random people’s names. The lack of any ability to play with friends is also usually a sign that there’s no actual online multiplayer, and none of the racers seemed to act like real people, and were really easy (to the point I even did one race while cooking, occasionally swiping and hitting loads of obstacles…and still won).

That was until I got to around 1000 points into the ranking system (1st place gets you around 27ish points), all of a sudden the game got much more challenging, and the opponents moved around more, used similar tactics to what I had been doing, used power ups more and just acted more human. I suspect that initially I was paired with AI disguised as players before it started pairing me with real people. If the racers were balanced and it didn’t have horribly aggressive microtransactions and loot boxes…it could be a pretty fun mobile game.

But it’s not balanced at all. In order to facilitate the many kinds of microtransactions, the game is based around unlocking and upgrading characters, so you’ll just face opponents with outright better (or worse) characters. This is done by collecting “cards”, you need X amount to unlock them and then Y more to upgrade them. It varies between characters and some cards are a lot rarer (with others only available in special time limited events). I did end up getting quite a few characters within a few days: Sonic, Classic Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Silver (I got so, so many Silver cards), Charmy, Omega, Vector, and Tangle (a character from the comics). One interesting omission is Infinite, the character introduced in Sonic Forces.

However, once you’ve got most of the “common” characters, progression is probably extremely slow to get more. Unless you pay for them multiple types of premium currency, loot boxes or (some some characters) deals that unlock a specific character (Shadow was available when I paid for £4.49, which is quite a lot).

I think it would be nice if the final patch of the game let you play against AI and choose the level you want to play, but ultimately, I think that the servers will just be shut down at some point and the game will be unplayable.

54. Sonic Pinball Party

  • Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • Where to get: Second Hand

A pinball game that has a story. After Dr Robotnik’s last defeat, he’s set up a pinball tournament. As Sonic, you take part in the tournament. The tournament has 16 players, but you’ll only encounter Knuckles, Tails, Amy and Metal Sonic (the other ones are just to tease you). After you win the tournament, it turns out it’s all a trick and you have to face Dr Robotnik (in a pinball match).

First up you’ll have to face Knuckles on the Neo Green Hill Zone machine and get 10,000,000 points. Progress will be very slow until you follow the arrows, three loops and hitting into the right hole will get Dr Robotnik to spawn, then hitting the ball into a hole will destroy him and get you the 10,000,000 points.

Then Tails, who calls Sonic a moron, and has glowing red eyes because its brainwashed (I like how Knuckles has been fooled to fight Sonic so many times that they didn’t even bother brainwashing him). This time you need 15,000,000 points in 5 minutes on the Casino Paradise Zone machine. This is when you’ll find out that all the Sonic tables are exactly the same, just with different colours. So you’ll be doing exactly the same thing to get Dr Robotnik to appear and defeat him, potentially twice, as it’s by far the best way to get points.

Next up is a brainwashed Amy, and you get to play a completely different table, based on NiGHTS. Points aren’t important here, you just follow the instructions until you win. The final stage of the “tournament” is against Metal Sonic, where you have to beat all seven stages of the Sonic table. To defeat a stage, you do the same thing I mentioned above to defeat Dr Robotnik. So you need to do this same pattern seven times.

Then Dr Robotnik will challenge you, you have 5 minutes to score 30,000,000 points, so three more goes through the same thing. Throughout the story, you’ll have repeated the same exact actions around 13 times. It’s incredibly tedious and boring.

Completing this will get you a Samba De Amigo machine. The three tables have hidden minigames and features like multiball to discover, but ultimately following the instructions will net you by far the most points. It’s just a pretty bad game.

By far the best mode of Sonic Pinball Party is the options. Here is a sound test with the music, which features renditions of Songs based on the classic games, Sonic Advance and some extra tracks like midi versions of Super Sonic Racing and Live & Learn, all using the GBA’s capabilities quite well. On reflection, it makes the music in the GBA Sonic port even worse as Sonic Pinball Party had some pretty good versions of some of the music.

55. Sonic Colours

  • Original platform: Wii
  • Version Played: Xbox Series S
  • Where to get: Xbox Store, PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, Epic Games Store

This is what I want from Sonic games in terms of structure. I personally don’t like to be forced to go through “padding” just to reach the end of a game, so Colours’ method of just letting you go through the main levels and defeat the final boss is perfect for me. Even so, Colours is so enjoyable that I choose to complete all I can because it’s simply fun to do.

Sonic Colours is based on the “boost formula” of Sonic Unleashed, but slightly more refined, especially on big turns. I did have a slight issue of sometimes doing a homing attack when I wanted to do a double jump, but you can set homing attack to a different button if you want to.

The big addition to this Sonic game are the Wisps, which are power-ups that temporarily give Soinc different abilities, such as shooting forward as a Laser, rolling up walls as Spike or turning blocks on or off as Cube. They integrate into the Sonic gameplay very well, although as a lot of them are designed to work in a 2D environment, it does impact the level design, as Sonic Colours has a lot more 2D segments compared to Unleashed (which isn’t a problem for me, just some people prefer the other way).

You have six zones, each with six acts. Act 1 is typically the “main event”, while Act 2 sometimes feels like a “cut” section from Act 1, as the level starts exactly where Act 1 ends. The other four acts are typically shorter, usually focusing on a particular wisp or gimmick, although sometimes these are sort of “repeated” content, as they will take part in sections of Act 1, but with different obstacles (some are completely new segments).

Where I think the levels truly shine are with the Red Rings. Hidden throughout every stage are five Red Rings. These are optional to complete the same story, but will unlock new things. These utilise the Wisps heavily, and encourage you to find different routes. Taking a slower pace to find them doesn’t feel like you’re not playing the game “properly”. You can reach sections where you can’t go back, so you will have to replay levels, so I found myself attempting to find a quicker route in sections where I had the red rings. I especially liked the more Wisp focused levels for finding the Red Rings.

The reward for these is unlocking levels in the “Game Land”, which has a “Sonic Simulator”. This included seven more zones, each with three stages. There is no “theme” to these zones, all taking place in a cubic void, but it’s sort of a whole game’s worth of Sonic levels as a bonus extra.

To me, Sonic Colours is one of the stronger Sonic games. The core gameplay is fun to play and the Wisps add to the gameplay instead of trying to provide a completely different gameplay style. I much prefer being able to complete a game and having lots of optional content on top.

This is what I want from Sonic games in terms of structure. I personally don’t like to be forced to go through “padding” just to reach the end of a game, so Colours’ method of just letting you go through the main levels and defeat the final boss is perfect for me. Even so, Colours is so enjoyable that I choose to complete all I can because it’s simply fun to do.

Sonic Colours is based on the “boost formula” of Sonic Unleashed, but slightly more refined, especially on big turns. I did have a slight issue of sometimes doing a homing attack when I wanted to do a double jump, but you can set homing attack to a different button if you want to.

The big addition to this Sonic game are the Wisps, which are power-ups that temporarily give Soinc different abilities, such as shooting forward as a Laser, rolling up walls as Spike or turning blocks on or off as Cube. They integrate into the Sonic gameplay very well, although as a lot of them are designed to work in a 2D environment, it does impact the level design, as Sonic Colours has a lot more 2D segments compared to Unleashed (which isn’t a problem for me, just some people prefer the other way).

You have six zones, each with six acts. Act 1 is typically the “main event”, while Act 2 sometimes feels like a “cut” section from Act 1, as the level starts exactly where Act 1 ends. The other four acts are typically shorter, usually focusing on a particular wisp or gimmick, although sometimes these are sort of “repeated” content, as they will take part in sections of Act 1, but with different obstacles (some are completely new segments).

Where I think the levels truly shine are with the Red Rings. Hidden throughout every stage are five Red Rings. These are optional to complete the same story, but will unlock new things. These utilise the Wisps heavily, and encourage you to find different routes. Taking a slower pace to find them doesn’t feel like you’re not playing the game “properly”. You can reach sections where you can’t go back, so you will have to replay levels, so I found myself attempting to find a quicker route  in sections where I had the red rings. I especially liked the more Wisp focused levels for finding the Red Rings.

The reward for these is unlocking levels in the “Game Land”, which has a “Sonic Simulator”. This included seven more zones, each with three stages. There is no “theme” to these zones, all taking place in a cubic void, but it’s sort of a whole game’s worth of Sonic levels as a bonus extra.

To me, Sonic Colours is one of the stronger Sonic games. The core gameplay is fun to play and the Wisps add to the gameplay instead of trying to provide a completely different gameplay style. I much prefer being able to complete a game and having lots of optional content on top.

56. SegaSonic Popcorn Shop

  • Original Platform: Popcorn Machine
  • Where to get: Unavailable

A Sonic game that was installed in a popcorn machine. I had to provide my own popcorn as my PC lacks the “popcorn maker” component.

After you insert your money, you get to pick your flavour of popcorn: butter, salted or curry (curry sounds very intriguing), then you play a quick minigame to run away from Dr Robotnik as he attempts to stop Sonic from making some popcorn. If Dr Robotnik does catch up to Sonic, then Sonic will dodge on his own, as the game won’t stop you getting popcorn if you fail.

Next up, you have to rotate a crank to stir the popcorn as Dr Robotnik tries to punch some, once this is ready, Tails will fill a cup and go off-screen to give it to you (if you had the actual popcorn machine, that is).

It’s an interesting novelty. There’s not much actual “game” to it, but it’s still technically a game, and would have been a fun amusement in an arcade.

57. Team Sonic Racing

  • Original Platform: Xbox One, PS4,Switch, PC
  • Version Played: PC
  • Where to get: Nintendo eShop, Xbox Store, Steam, PlayStation Store

Taking things in a different direction from Sonic All Stars Racing and Transformed, this kart racing game is entirely focused on the Sonic franchise, but with a twist of its own: you play in teams of three. While it does present some problems, it has some really interesting ideas.

Characters are split into three types: Speed, Technique and Power (similar to Sonic Heroes and Sonic Riders). Speed characters have the highest top speed, technique characters can go over rough terrain with no penalty and power characters can smash through obstacles without taking damage. They all ultimately feel quite balanced, and you can make further customisation to your cart to change stats or colour styles.

The racer on your team in the highest position will leave a “trail” behind them, any teammates following the line will build up a boost, which activates when they move out of it. If you coordinate well enough, you can technically keep leapfrogging each other. You can also pass item boxes between you (which can also increase the power of some items). Doing these team actions will build up your ultimate gauge, which you can trigger an Ultimate power, which makes you invincible and faster for a short period, and works even better if all three people on a team activate it at once.

All the items are based on Wisps, which is a neat idea for items, but unfortunately their icons aren’t very clear, so it’s not as easy as some games to remember what each one does. Different skill types also have their own unique wisps. These are more impactful than in the previous games (especially in speed types), but if an ally swerved in front of you, you get a little boost to recover much faster, so it’s a nice little touch.

Team Sonic Racing has a story mode called Team Adventure. Bizarrely, this is single-player only (I was expecting up to three players locally, especially as it’s literally got the word “Team” in the mode name). This is where one big problem with the team gameplay impacts you the most: you’re reliant on your AI teammates to be good. You can sometimes perform really well and get first place, pass back every single wisp to them and still not win the race.

Having to rely on AI racers also means that local multiplayer feels a bit off, due to having your performance affected by how well your teammates do. The ideal way to play Team Sonic Racing is to organise groups of 6, 9 or 12 people to play online, with voice chat set up between each team, which is a lot of faff to do. You can play without the team mechanics, but if you’re turning off the main feature, you may as well play Sonic Racing Transformed instead.

The 21 tracks are split into 7 locations. The new locations all look stunning: Planet Wisp, Glacierland, Sandopolis and Rooftop Run, and the individual levels feel distinct (although all Plant Wisp levels look quite similar).I really love the three Rooftop Run levels, all with a completely different atmosphere. Glacierland is a brand new icy location, with lots of floating ice crystals that look like more detailed versions of the Laser Wisp crystals from Sonic Colours.

Unfortunately, the other three locations are Seaside Hill, Casino Park and Final Fortress. These nine tracks are returning from the Sonic All Stars Racing games. The visuals have been completely updated and they look nice, but the layouts are the same and they’re all locations we’ve seen before in Racing games. I also find it odd that there’s a complete lack of classic themed tracks. While some main Sonic games have leaned on nostalgia too much, a kart racer is one time where it should lean on nostalgia.

Team Sonic Racing is a very solid kart racer. It has some extremely interesting mechanics which are implemented really well, and the new tracks in it are incredibly good fun. It’s main issue is that the main mechanic only works if you have the right amount of people to play with, and even then the story mode can’t be played as a team.

58. Sega Superstars Tennis

  • Orignal platform: 360, PS3, Wii, DS
  • Version Played: 360
  • Where to get: Second hand

The basic tennis matches in this are fairly solid, if fairly standard. You have a few different types of shots, and run back and forth hitting the ball. As you hit the ball, you will build up “superstar” mode to build up, where you can activate a special power – although oddly I found that Sonic’s ability (Super Sonic) made it easier on the opponent, by swinging the ball to the centre of the court instead of the sides. If you don’t like it, you can make it longer to charge or just turn it off.

While the normal matches are nothing special, in the singleplayer mode, you will encounter lots of different ways to play. You will have to play a lot of matches and tournaments to unlock it all, but it’s well worth it. Some minigames are a bit dull (the Sonic ones especially, as they’re just walking around and don’t involve hitting the ball), but others can be a lot of fun.

In the Super Monkey Ball missions, you’ll progress through different kinds of hitting monkey balls into holes by hitting them with a tennis ball, before ultimately playing snooker trick shots by hitting a cue ball in a way so it hits another ball into a hole (and you can’t pocket the cue ball). Each mode builds up on its concepts like this until you get to the “main mode”. The Puyo Puyo mini game is incredibly good fun, and you have to hit Poyo pieces to get rid of them (hitting blocks of the same colour will get rid of all of them). House of the Dead and Virtua Cop require you to hit enemies with tennis balls, while Chu Chu Rocket works well as tennis.

I think it’s a shame that you have to play though some of the duller parts of Sega Superstars Tennis in order to get to the minigames, because the events you do unlock are a ton of fun.

59. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

  • Original Platform: DS
  • Where to get: Second hand

A turn based RPG, which is a kind of game that I don’t really like. I’ve attempted a couple, but Sonic Chronicles is the only one I’ve actually completed. As far as the combat is concerned, I found it a bit more engaging due to the POW attacks, as you have to play a sort of rhythm game for full damage (and do the same to protect yourself when the enemy does one), but as I don’t really know the ins and outs of the genre, I can’t comment on the quality of it.

One thing that Sonic Chronicles does pretty well is story, it has an engaging mystery of what this mysterious group is up to, and when you enter a portal you meet some interesting entities. It feels a bit like Doctor Who in a way, as Sonic can negotiate with the people of these various worlds as they’re not the mindless brutes as they originally seem to be. The new characters introduced are rather interesting, and I would like to see some of them return. The biggest flaw with the story is that it does end with a cliffhanger ending (the main plot is, thankfully, tied up), and a sequel was never made, presumably because the developer – BioWare – became part of EA.

I also really enjoyed the dialogue. Like a lot of BioWare games, you can make dialogue choices. This doesn’t have any impact on the overall story, although if you are nice to Amy, it can lead to an additional conversation where you can set up a potential future romance between her and Sonic. The conversation options allow you to ask some questions, or if you really want to, you can just make Sonic rude and obnoxious with some funny dialogue choices.

Getting around the world I found to be a bit annoying. To access different areas, you need to have certain movement abilities in your party, so sometimes you’ll need a specific character with you, or you’ll encounter some chao eggs or rings you can’t access until you return at a later point (but not too late, there are multiple points of the game that lock you out of previous areas). To trigger this ability, you just tap an icon on the screen. I have particular trouble in the Metropolis area as I didn’t notice I could jump down a platform and searched for ages to try and find the route to get to where I was needed.

I did enjoy Sonic Chronicles overall, due to the charming writing, although some aspects were a let down (the music is just…there, and is the most forgettable music in a Sonic game), the only thing I really disliked was that it was a turn based RPG.

Continued on Page 7

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