Remember the good old days when everyone was playing endless runners? Sonic Forces: Speed Battle brings a fresh twist to the runner genre by making it competitive. To put it simply, you pick a Sonic franchise character and compete against three other players on pre-built tracks. But there’s a lot more to the game than that.
If you’ve played any other Sonic franchise game, you’ll find familiar elements like the gold rings, and then you have the red star rings, which you need to make in-app purchases; something familiar to most mobile games today. You start off with a couple of characters – Sonic and classic Sonic unlocked. With each run, you earn multiple rewards which include specific character cards that let you unlock and upgrade characters. You’ve got to spend additional gold rings to do so, by the way.
Each character comes with its own stats as well as specific abilities. The stats are divided into Speed, Acceleration and Strength. While Acceleration determines how fast your character can reach their peak speed, Strength determines how much damage you do or take against enemies and obstacles. The game works on a tier based matchmaking system where each run matches you against three other players of the same tier. Tracks for the race, divided by zones, are also determined randomly based on the tier you’re in.
Each runs lets you collect upto 100 rings and orbs that let you use the power ups available for your character, either to your benefit or for the loss of your competitors. You can spin-jump or slide to avoid obstacles or tackle enemies. Across the run, you’ll find a host of environmental pieces that aid or hinder your run, like speed-up panels, whirlwinds and a good old set of enemies. At the end of the run, you get to keep the rings you’ve collected, in addition to which, if you’ve placed in the top two positions, you also get a victory chest that contains more rings and cards.
The gameplay itself is pretty snappy and requires you to be on your toes (or fingertips, to be precise) throughout the race, as the better you play, the faster your character goes, and the faster your character goes, the harder it is to dodge obstacles or get the right powerups. The environments are pretty well designed and creative, with each zone having its own signature elements. Despite all of that, the game itself might get quite repetitive after a few consecutive runs and give you a runner fatigue – especially because the tracks are not really generated randomly.
Overall, this game breathes some fresh air into runners if you’ve been dying to play one since ages. But if microtransactions, repetitive gameplay and endless competitive runners are not your thing, get away as fast as Sonic would.
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Crash..boom..crash!!! That's the sound of an extraterrestrial cyborg being knocked down mid flight. He is still not completely functional, and while he fixes himself, you might find him engulfed in humanity's most addictive invention - what you call "gaming". After all, its the only thing that simulates his dimension so well. Please note - Do not engage, not unless you come bearing food.