My love for the gaming heroes from the golden age of Sega will never fade. The mischievous blue hedgehog that goes by the name of Sonic is a favorite of mine. However, even I have to admit that it’s been a while since I was excited about the game from this franchise. Sonic Mania did hit the right spot by coming back to the roots of the series, but what could we expect from Sonic Forces: Speed Battle?
To be honest, I wasn’t getting my hopes up because I didn’t want my bubble to burst once I give the game a shot. After all, it didn’t seem like such a creative idea to release another endless runner for mobile phones after Sonic Dash. And while that release had considerable success, I was afraid that the new instalment would be too similar. Oh, boy, am I glad that I was wrong!
An Endless Runner with a Multiplayer Twist
Sonic Forces Speed Battle is one of the freshest releases available for smartphones. It falls into the category of freemium games. That means you can download it for free from the Google Play Store (Android users) or Apple App Store (iOS owners) and the only thing payable are the optional in-app purchases. As usual, they are there to make your in-game life more comfortable, but we will discuss them later.
For now, let’s focus on the core of the game. The endless runner genre is getting more crowded each day, and it’s hard to find your spot under the Sun. That is why the developers from Sega gathered to try to find an innovative approach. Believe it or not, they managed to come up with a solution that will make the game popular not only with fans of the series but all the lovers of easy-to-learn and addictive casual releases on smartphones.
Sonic Forces is an exclusively multiplayer endless runner, which is enough to offer a twist on the usual releases in the genre. Once you download and install the game, you just need to go through a quick tutorial that will explain the basics, and you are immediately taken to a course where you will race other real-life gamers.
The Usual Set of Controls
Nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes to the fundamental gameplay mechanics. Your character runs automatically, and your task is to switch between four available lanes, jump, or slide to avoid obstacles along the way. The game pits you against three other players, and your goal is to be the first one that will get through the finish line.
They must love number four in Sega, considering that not only that’s how many players participate in each race, it is also how many types of power-ups you have at your disposal. As you would assume, you pick up the boosts during the run, and you can use them anytime you see fit. The first power up we encountered was the typical speed boost that can come in handy close to the finish line if you need that extra couple of meters to finish first.
Launch a Projectile and Inflict Damage
There is a strategic element to the equation thanks to the couple of power-ups you can use to inflict damage to your opponents. If you come across a projectile, you can use it to slow down the enemy in front of you. Whenever you fire the missile, it will move through the lane you selected until it hits a competitor or a wall. Another weapon you can use is setting up a trap that will block all the other paths except your current one.
Of course, there is a way to counter these attacks by wearing a shield power-up that you can also find while running. Needless to say that all these boosts can change the entire course of the race in just a couple of seconds and that is the main reason that playing Sonic Forces: Speed Battle is so exciting. You should also be aware that each type of power-ups also has statistics and variations, which adds another tactical layer to the game.
High-Tension Races Included
You can forget about gaining an advantage that will last from the first moment of the race until the finish line. The runs are not long, but they are packed with excitement. One minute, you will find yourself leading the pack, only to make a small mistake of running into a wall and losing the first place. There is no obvious outcome until the finish line, which is why SF is incredibly fun to play.
There is more than one route that you can take during a stage. Although the game offers a default path, there are shortcuts you can find and use to get in front of the rivals. However, it’s not always easy to see these alternative routes, but that makes sense considering that they can give a significant boost.
Rewards for Everyone
The good news is that Sonic Forces: Speed Battle doesn’t require you to win to get rewards. In fact, all participants are awarded something, but the attractiveness of the prize depends on your final position. You will collect various resources (rings included) and use them for upgrades. The roster consists of Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy, Shadow, and many other familiar characters from the blue hedgehog world.
Unfortunately, the in-game progression could be a lot faster. You start with only a couple of levels, and it takes a lot of time to unlock new tracks and upgrade your heroes. You can opt for in-app purchase or cheat the game, but if you don’t want to do that, the only alternative is to do a lot of grinding. And although there are many different routes that you can take to a single level, it gets bored after a while. That might be the only complaint that we have about an otherwise excellent game, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying and enjoying the new Sonic Forces!