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Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom review

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Reviewed:

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Sonic Boom 2
  • Sonic Boom 2
  • Sonic Boom 2
  • Sonic Boom 2

Summary

Our Score:

5

Pros

  • Plays like a perfectly competent 3D endless runner
  • Plenty of content

Cons

  • Brings nothing new to the genre
  • Doesn't feel like an ideal fit for the IP
  • Further evidence of SEGA having no idea what to do with Sonic

Available on iOS and Android

In an era when visibility is the key to everything in mobile, it's not hard to understand why former king of the castle SEGA is so keen to make something of one of the of most recognisable IP on the planet. The problem with Sonic the Hedgehog, however, is that beyond his supreme 2D, speed injected exploits, he's actually a rather limited beast. Other than dropping him into a pinball machine, it's actually rather hard to make all too much of him outside of his natural environment.

And, yet, still SEGA tries. Though fans differ just when the spiky blue one start to speed downhill, it's arguable to suggest that, beyond an attempt to take the series back to its routes with Sonic 4 in 2010, there hasn't been a decent game for more than twenty years. As the tone of the opening to this review might suggest, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is most certainly not the game to reverse this trend.

Indeed, even a thirty second dabble with this Temple Run wannabe is enough to suggest someone needs to take the Sonic license away from SEGA for its own good, because like an alcoholic looking wistfully stumbling around outside an off license, it just can't resist taking one more sip from the bottle, pumping out one more mediocre Sonic release in the hope that it changes the franchise's fortunes. This time it'll be okay. This time it'll work out.

Related: Best iPhone Games 2015

Sonic Boom 2

What makes Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom even more frustrating is that, as its name indicates, this isn't even the first crack SEGA has had at the whip. Sonic Dash made its debut two years ago and, funnily enough, failed to set the world alight despite many millions of downloads, namely because the on-rails 3D endless runner model it was modelled on had already been part and parcel of the mobile world for many years. It's hard to say why, beyond the bizarre penchant SEGA currently has for dressing the newly stretched Sonic and pals up in scarfs and other superfluous bargains from the Mobius branch of Accessorize, there's any real reason for Sonic Dash 2 to exist, given what's on offer here doesn't stray all too far from what was offered up a couple of years ago.

Viewed from behind, the goal in Sonic Dash 2 is to survive for as long as possible by darting left or right, jumping or spin dashing to either avoid or destroy the enemies in your path. In your way are an assortment of enemies from Sonic's past and standard hurdles such as rocks and tree trunks, and survival is a case of knowing which of your moves to deploy when. Swiping down to spin dash into enemy crabs, for instance, will work out well, but doing so when there's a tree in your way will end the game prematurely.

That's unless, of course, you use some of the in-game currency – either earned through play or paid for with cash – to carry on. Each time you do so, the amount required to carry on the next time you come a cropper, and so Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom has its monetisation in place. Why you'd want to carry on, however, is a matter of conjecture.

Related: Best Android Games 2015

Sonic Boom 2

Though there's nothing essentially wrong with Sonic Dash 2's set up (save points appearing as paths to the left or right mid play so you can give up while the going is still good), there's also nothing especially new to it, nor any feeling that the IP developer Hardlight Studios has wrapped around the game is in any way reflected in the action beyond superficial means. Are trees and rocks particularly grounded in the Sonic universe, for instance? And why did Hardlight decided to drop Sonic and his friends into a village – complete with what appear to be picnic tables running along the side – for the second stage?

It all means that Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom appears to have no direct audience, no groundswell of fans that'll prop it up after its promoted run on the App Store or Google Play comes to an end. For casual Sonic fans who have no real affection for the series, it's just an endless runner that borrows heavily from Temple Run and its clones without offering anything new of note. For dedicated Sonic aficionados, it's a game that pays no heed to the series' roots or offers any compelling vision of where the IP can go next.

In fact, it simply serves as further evidence that SEGA has no meaningful plan for Sonic other than milking him for all he's worth – which isn't all too much these days – before dropping his strained, drained and ultimately lifeless carcass in the rubbish bin.

Verdict

Inoffensive to casuals but disrespectful for committed fans, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom makes no attempt to bring anything new to the endless runner, nor does it add to the now battered and bruised Sonic IP, making you wonder why – beyond earning a bit of extra cash – SEGA decided to flog its blue, spiky and now largely dead horse one more time.

Overall Score

5

Bob Duncan

October 17, 2015, 4:52 pm

WHY SONIC WHY SONIC WHY SONIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ghost of Steve Jobs

October 18, 2015, 7:12 am

This is quite evidently Sonic bashing, a cheap shot used in mainstream journalism by inexperienced writers that has become far too commonplace. I would submit that the author has chosen to resort to using this article as an opportunity to unprofessionally ridicule a product without a basis in reality. For one, the author says the picnic tables make no sense in the context of the game, but had he watched the TV series which is popular and lined up for a second season, he would have quickly observed that those picnic tables belong to the restaurant Meh Burger, a place visited by Sonic and his gang almost every episode.

Similar statements he made lack a basis in reality. These include: (1) his commentary on there having not been any well-received Sonic games for over 20 years; and (2) his argument that losing the game when you mistakenly spin dash into a tree is the game's way of excessive monetization since you are required to pay to continue, when, in actuality, such a practice is commonplace in the freemium app industry; and (3) harshly and humorously comparing Sega's attempts to make Sonic games in recent years to an alcoholic. These and other clearly logically flawed arguments cumber his review, demonstrating a severe lack of professionalism, research and proficiency in addressing his subject material.

Sean Cameron

October 18, 2015, 5:02 pm

I've never seen anyone write an essay over Sonic the Hedgehog. A review is a review, a statement of opinion, regardless of the venue. Find a site that echoes your internal ramblings, that's your prerogative, but don't attack those that differ, ad hominem diatribes do little to help your position.

Ghost of Steve Jobs

October 18, 2015, 10:08 pm

Though my argument is markedly frank, it is factually based and not founded on ad hominem diatribes like the reviewer opted to do in his personal crusade here against Sega. For example, realize this quotation, "there hasn't been a decent game for more than twenty years," is not based on reality. As a quick refresher, these Sonic games were all well-received by professional reviewers in the industry in the last 20 years or less, have sold well over a million copies each, and even one of these titles is less than 5 years old:

Adventure
Adventure 2
Advance
Advance 2
Advance 3
Rush
Unleashed
Colors
Generations

Do pay mind that this writer is the one attacking here, not I, because there is excessive aggressive hyperbole and metaphor used throughout the main body of his article. Among his many attacks, comparing Sega to an alcoholic most certainly falls well within the category of ad hominem diatribe. Have a good day, sir.

Sean Cameron

October 23, 2015, 11:36 pm

And, it is still Sonic, with all that entails. The reviewer is paid for their opinion. Stop getting so worked up over nothing is my essential point, life is too short to argue over daft cartoon animals.

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