|Posted by Kelsy on April 17, 2020 at 8:50 PM|
Running for Miles
A Sonic Dash Review by Kelsy "SuperGirlKels" Medeiros
Play time: April 2019 - January 2020
Do you remember when cell phones were long, fat, heavy… and had an intena? Okay, maybe most people here are too young for that time… Maybe you remember the phones that flipped open, and games played on it were sprites in black and white that moved pixel by pixel by maybe 100 frames per second if you could even get the game to open… I remember those times. When Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone in 2004, the world as we know cell phones would change forever. Not only just in the cellular industry, but within every industry that can somehow get their “app” on that phone. Companies, industries, all around the world began to develop music apps, stores to shop online from, social media became a real big thing… and … video games. The iPhone quickly became the number 1 place for the public to play a video game on because it was so clear, quick, and easy to play on the go. As the years went on and other competition joined Apple on their smart device rivalry, more games and companies within the gaming industry jumped onto the mobile gaming market seeing, that it has continuously and consistently rises in downloads and sales. Some of the biggest icons were born through mobile such as Angry Birds. Gaming giants were even jumping onto the systems with their own mobile versions of their console icons such as Call of Duty Mobile from Activision, and Super Mario Run from Nintendo. SEGA has already ported the well received Sonic 1, and 2 from Christian Whitehead to the mobile market and other Sonic games came and gone through the years. But when Sonic Dash was announced, and released worldwide to be free in 2013… the unexpected success the game had was enormous bringing millions of players who continue to play to this day, while SEGA actively adds new content, levels, characters and more to the game even now, 7 years later. What made Sonic Dash so popular? Is it even good? Or is it just because it’s a mobile game with a familiar Hedgehog face? It’s gotta be more than that…. SO I downloaded this before my trip to Italy last year in 2019, and played it until I completely 100% recently this year. I now have my full thoughts, and I’m ready to hit the boost on the dash!
Sonic Dash is the kind of game you would find on the Nintendo 64 with a Gamecube port. The colours are vibrant, clear and really nice to look at as you run 500 miles per hour through each challenge… but man are the characters ugly. The obvious polygons shown, face expressions and lack of personality on all character models are pretty odd. This is a 2013 game on a mobile, but you would think a game that has consistent update and amazing revenue would at least give a sharp update on the way each character looks. Every character acts the same in terms of animations meaning they’re all based on the same model: Sonic… but edited. There’s no shadows when characters run on the field and there are only 2 bosses in the game that have the same animations each time when seen as well. The graphics could be better, but they’re there. It’s clear as to what’s happening and what’s important is that you can see what’s coming at you, and can react as to where to go and when. The background’s colours are so detailed that it’s very clear as to what is coming at you from all angles instead of wondering what’s going on all the time. I wish there could have been consistent update to add shadows, new animations, texture updates, and more… but at least we know we have the original 2013 version taste that can provide us with nostalgia down the road… hopefully.
MUSIC / SOUND EFFECTS
The Music in Sonic Dash is a mix between some original pieces of recording which creates a new and fresh feel to the Sonic series, while it at the same time incorporates sound effects and some music tracks of the past in a new remix. I think everything done regarding sound effects and music is done perfectly. The opening theme of the game is welcoming, very Sonic-like and really reminds me of Green Hill Zone… but’s not even close to it. The main menu is a track that you can just bop your head to while going through your settings, updates to your characters and upgrading your zones. The sounds of moving, selecting options are based on the Sonic Heroes menu back in 2003 which is a great selection to choose from the Sonic series. I always found Sonic Heroes’ menu sound effects to give off a WOW and active feeling making it fun to explore the menu. As a game on a mobile that involves a lot of menu tasking, challenges, and selecting… you need a sound that for sure isn’t annoying. As for the music itself during the stages, unfortunately half the zones are the same song (which is a good one though! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fze-Ms5VvBM for reference) It’s adrenaline pumping, yet isn’t too much to get someone over excited adding a calm twist to a hyper-active moment. This allows the player to play for a long run without getting too nervous over quick decisions while maintaining composure. It was a smart idea by the team to go with this style, while relating very much to the Sonic rock effect from the traditional canon series based on Seaside Hill from Sonic Heroes, but slowed down and changed in various areas. But as said, not all zones play this track as others such as Green Hill, Mushroom Hill, Ice Mountain and more contain the main themes of those zones while giving a nice new remix which allows the zones to feel fresh and exciting whenever you land on them to play in which I will explain in just a few moments! Swiping your finger left and right on the screen to get your character to move is the same sound effect as Sonic Unleash’s Quick Step in Nintendo Wii’s version to replicate the “effect” of the quickstep in this endless runner genre of gameplay. Sonic’s spin dash sound effect is from and of the retro classic 2D Sonic games from the main series as well as his jump which makes the game iconic to those who are young and old. Anyone who has ever heard of Sonic has heard these sounds of Sonic jumping, spinning and the sound of badniks exploding as you hit them. Hitting badniks are just as addicting as collecting rings which are necessary for unlocking skills, and level ups for your character. So having both rings and enemies collected and captured are fun from beginning to end!
Sonic Dash provides a familiar taste in 3D Sonic elements and does an incredible job at implementing them into the Endless Running and Platforming genre. Obstacles are constantly in your path from beginning to end so it’s never a straight line of running while you take a sip of water and watching TV. You need to keep your eye on the ball quite literally! Dodging walls, spinning under fences or high platforms to avoid being hit…… streaming through enemies, collecting items and collectables to 100%… are all part of mastering Sonic Dash. When you start your run it typically starts a little easier compared to when you reach the 1M mile.. that’s when things start to get rough. You have to think outside of the box QUICK and efficiently. It isn’t only about reacting to what you see in front of you when you get to the hard levels… but it’s about what will happen after that next part that you don’t even know will spawn yet. The game is incredible at challenge by forcing you to sometimes jump off of the stage entirely to avoid an entire obstacle, and then land while spin dashing to avoid the oncoming enemies when you land. It gets super complex and tests your mind at how fast you can think! It never feels like a pattern either, it seems the levels are all at random including layouts of where platforms and enemies spawn so it always feels fresh and challenging. During your run, you have checkpoints which once you get to one side of a zone you reach 3 springs in which you can choose where to go next. 1) being random that will spawn a random spot for you in game that can be a new zone, boss, or a continuation of what zone you’re currently in….. 2) being a Boss of that current zone 3) a loopteyloop area (iconic in sonic games) where you have a continuation of your zone that involves loops and loads of rings and powerups to collect. Finally 4) Choosing a new zone style to run on that will change the theme and music. Every zone has their own textures for every road and obstacle you run into. I wish the same could be said about the enemies, which are constantly recycled between crabmeats and robobile the entire time. The only exception is in the newest DLC pack released for the Sonic Movie that comes with a City theme to represent Chicago (The main scene in the Sonic Movie) having City Escape in the background, and having real-like robots replicated from the movie. Besides that, every other enemy is the same. The same goes for the bosses too, there are only 2 of them. You either run into Eggman in his Eggmobile shooting lasers at you or Zazz from Sonic Lost World (which also released in 2013 to celebrate). Both are also the exact same boss… they both shoot … you escape… you chase them… and then you hit them at the end of the ramp at the right timing or you fail. It’s a shame because I feel the design of the game is so well done, but that little extra on bosses could have made such a huge different when playing this game. Having a unique boss on how to beat each one in each zone celebrating Sonic’s history of iconic bosses would make me want to play bosses more. I spent almost the last 6 months of this game avoiding all boss routes unless I had a challenge to do for the day. There was no purpose at all to doing them, and only wasted a lot of time… at least you gain more miles that you’d run on!… but man was it boring. Overall, the level designs are great and I think a few spots were quite lazy and could have been updated with new adventures through the years…. I feel it would have made a consistent hyped replay value that players around the world would be excited to play over and over again.
I’m sure you’re not new to a Endless Running and Platform game on a mobile phone. This has become one of the most popular genres in mobile gaming because of how easy and compact it is to play while you’re on the go… yet it’s so fun and addicting. It was only a matter of time before Sonic and SEGA got on board with this genre, and showed the rest of the world what true speed really is! As you begin to run, I mentioned that your main objective is to run for as long as possible beating your high score, uploading it to the world and trying to beat your next one! But of course, if that isn’t your main concern, there is LOADS to do in Sonic Dash to make you busy for weeks. Swiping left, and right will have Sonic dash from 1 lane to another. There are 3 lanes in which Sonic and characters can run on. By swiping down: Sonic will perform a spin-dash that will last a second. If you swipe down up to 3 times during his animation he will spin longer and can spin for up to about 5 seconds helping him get through some huge paths of enemies! By swiping up, Sonic will jump to collect rings, hit enemies, and avoid obstacles on the ground like bottomless pits. Finally, the iconic Boost from the modern 3D Sonic games return! After collecting a certain amount of rings your Boost Gauge will fill up on the bottom left or right screen. Once it’s completely filled, tapping on it will unleash boost mode which will put Sonic at supersonic speed as he can go through any obstacle, any pit, any enemy on screen. This moment will last until the gauge is empty… it’s a really nice touch giving the player a break starring at the screen so sharply for so long to make have a drink or to look where they’re going if walking around LOL! IT also gives of course, more and quicker miles to gain as you travel so fast! During your run you can collect powerups to increase your chances of running further without any casualties! The shield will protect you from a hit from an enemy or running into a wall. Sometimes though, I’ve found that the shield is a bitch glitchy and doesn’t always work…. Finding myself dying when I thought I could sacrifice a shield or not over panic over hitting an enemy. IT seemed to have been a problem for quite a while after researching online, and seems to have never been patched out. Unfortunate. The lightning shield (the best shield) attracts rings from all 3 lanes to you giving you a major bank deposit at every end of the lane. Speaking of bank deposit let’s talk about that cuz it’s one of the coolest features in Sonic Dash! When you’re running from the beginning to the end of a level, you’re collecting rings. At the end when you get to each spring to get to a new area your rings will go back to 0 and the ones collected will be deposited into your bank (the menu) that you can use to spend on power ups, zone unlocking, flicky islands, Characters, and more. As you go from zone to zone…. Your bank will increase depending on how many times you’ve made it to the end of an area. For example, if I’ve come across the end of an area (the 3 springs) once, my rings will just be deposited. But let’s say I’ve done this for 5 times non stop…. Well my rings that I have on hand will multiply by 5 (‘ve done 5 levels) and then deposit into my bank. It’s really satisfying when you reach 200 rings in a single area and having it multiple by 15…. Some nice rings added to your wallet there! Too bad they’re not real… Red Rings make a huge return in this game by supplying the player chances to collect them during their run at random times. These are used as real life currency in which the user can use to spend on characters and more rare content for Sonic Dash. You can purchase red rings of course with a credit card, debit or PayPal, but they give you the chance to collect these red rings on your Sonic Dash run which is nice that they don’t force you to pay to play. In your menu, you can customize your character’s skills by the collectables you have found during your run. Current skills can be equipped such as doubling your miles every certain miles…. Or gather 2X extra rings…. Moving faster… having a constant full boost gauge, etc. All of these skills are very useful for completing certain tasks and challenges. In RPG style, you can level up your character to max level in your speed, boos, defence, and more that will greatly effect your experience when playing. Maxing all characters are a huge task that takes months to do even with daily challenges rewarding you. Speaking of those, every day you get challenges to overcome by SEGA that refresh every 4 hours after completion. They aren’t many, so you’ll notice a lot of the same recycled daily challenges that can get quite repetitive if you didn’t enjoy certain ones for rewards. Luckily you can skip a challenge and choose another one time a day. So at least there’s that and you know damn well that I used them on bosses! Finally, the ficky islands and zones! When you destroy enemies, flickies pop out as little animals that you save from around the world of Sonic. These flickies get collected, and returned back to their home. When you meet the amount required and certain flickies needed (There are many types), you will unlock new zones to run on, new characters to play as, and items such as furniture for islands in which the flickies stay at. You may also just simply pay for these instead of playing….. with Diamonds (real life money) but who actually did that? Not me! This was way more rewarding to do. What I loved about the flicky islands were each time I unlocked a new one, I would unlock new characters that I couldn’t unlock on my own time. It was a huge surprise seeing Jet the Hawk from the Sonic Riders series join the run. So many characters that are loved by the fans are in this game and it’s great that they continue to provide continuous and consistent content even 7 years later that keeps us playing.
ROAD TO 100%
- Unlocked all Characters
- -Maxed Out all Character Levels
- Unlocked all Zones
- Unlocked all Flicky Gardens
- Unlocked all Furniture for each Garden
- Beat CPU High Scores
Sonic Dash is the perfect game on the go if you’re someone who is looking for few minutes to spare. Even when you’re at home, the constant need for checking your updated challenge to get you one step closer to unlocking your favourite character is the most satisfying feeling. Maxing out your characters are exhilarating and provide new experiences each time, while every zone is filled with music that you can’t help but play along with just to hear one more time. Though the textures could have been done better, and the ideas for bosses or added ideas to update the game to a more modern 2020 era could have been implemented…. The game is fun, it works and even while glitching or randomly having some lag or shut downs, I never wanted to stop playing until the very end. It’s the content that matters, that is constantly provided by SEGA consistently making this game worth the play.
+ Replay Value
+ Character Selection
+ No Pay to Play
+ Constant DLC
- Graphics need an update
- Recycled Bosses and Daily Challenges
- Buggy Items