Sonic Dash: Game review

The vast majority of videogames I play are on the PS1, but I was thrilled to find that old favorite, Sonic, was available for the iPhone (it can also be played on the iPad). This was important to me because I do not own any other game consoles, so I think it is smart for games manufacturers to make their products available for smartphone, which is something that many non-gamers have and that make their videogames more accessible for everyone. The smartphone is also an excellent way to promote videogames like Sonic because consumers are then already familiar with the controls (there is only so much you can do with a phone) and have the ease of downloading them from already familiar software.

The great thing about Sonic Dash for the iPhone is that it contains the same elements that kept me coming back when I used to play it on older consoles. The sole objective of the game is to race through the level at a super fast speed collecting rings and avoiding/defeating enemies as you go, made more difficult by twists, turns, and enemies that come out of nowhere and take all of your rings. There is great satisfaction in making it to the end of a level and moving on to the next, greater challenge.

When I first downloaded this app, I was worried that it would not add up to playing it on the videogame console I had always played it on. I was wrong and I was right.

I was wrong because the graphics on the iPhone version, to me, are just as good as the real videogames’. The colors were vibrant; Sonic stood as a royal blue (when he was standing), the rings appeared to be glistening, and the background felt like somewhere I wanted to be (either a sunny beach, a thriving city, etc). This was always one aspect that I loved about Sonic, and they did not fail at preserving it as they modified it to be able to be played on the iPhone. The music was another things that always kept me coming back, and while it wasn’t quite as I’d remembered it, it still had the fast-paced music I remembered and the sound of thousands of pennies falling to the ground as opponents cost me my rings, which made losing seem ok. Overall, I was really impressed witht the way the game designers made the iPhone version of Sonic such an excellent representation of the real thing.

Something also worth pointing out is that characters are incredibly important in developing our relationship with a game and, surprisingly, the game developers did an excellent job of preserving the Sonic characters. Before you begin to play, there is a selection screen where you can choose who you want to play as (just like in the older games) and everyone seems to be in character. Sonic has his arms folded and is tapping his foot, Amy has her hands behind her back and is rolling upward on her toes, Knuckles looks like he’s about to take someone out, and Tails winks and spins his tails amiably. This, for me, is the most important part, and went a long way in getting me to download and keep this app on my phone.

I was also right to worry about playing this game on the iPhone because, like I thought, playing Sonic Dash on the iPhone was just not the same as playing it on the Playstation. The problem is that with the phone turned sideways, all I can really do is steer to collect rings and to collect hitting things. While the graphics and music are incredible, moving the phone back and forth is simply not the same as having so much more power with a controller, where I can leap over enemies, hit a series of commands to go paraticularly fast, etc. This problem is not something that the game designers could control; there is no replacing a Playstation controller when you have no controls to work with. The game designers did everything they could to make Sonic Dash for the iPhone as similar to the Sonic for videogame consoles as they could, and they did an excellent job; it just turns out that it’s not as much fun without access to all of the controls.

With this in mind, one thing I would suggest game developers do to improve this game would be to maybe make more controls available, just on the touchscreen. This might, then, take away from the actual game itself because of how much room it might take, but if they could find a way to do it without compromising the quality, I think that it would make the game a lot more successful with people like me. If they really wanted to get people to keep this game on their phones, they might want to even consider adding something that the original Sonic never had; keeping all of the key elements, adding something new might even draw seasoned gamers to the app market to keep the new and improved Sonic with them at all times. It is a marketing strategy worth considering.

Overall, the game developers did a great job with making Sonic Dash a portable representation of the real game that so many people loved; the music and graphics are right on, I could not have imagined them being any better. The available characters all seem to be in character, and the major elements of the game are all in place. If you are a longtime fan of the Sonic games like I am, you might want to give this game a try; it is a satisfying throwback. Just don’t expect to relive your childhood to the fullest here, the playing of the game itself is just not nearly as fun, so I would suggest keeping an open mind and trying it out. I liked this game a lot and played it for awhile, but, like many other apps, I ended up deleting this one from my phone. In the future, I think that things like adding touchscreen controls could persuade me to keep Sonic Dash on my phone a little longer.

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