A scene from "Sonic Forces Speed Battle"(Photo: SEGA)
There are few periods in video gaming history that I love more than the early 1990s. Maybe it’s because that’s when I was reaching my zenith as a video gamer and everyone has a tendency to look back on their childhood with fondness, but I think there really was something special about that time. It was the decades when Sega and Nintendo were at each other’s throats, each one producing mountains of games and consoles in an effort to outdo the other that inspired the term “the 16 bit wars.” Of this dramatic and exciting time in video game history one figure, Mario, emerged as the lasting cultural icon but right on his heels, complete with spiky blue quills (hair?) and a 90s rad-itude, was Sonic the Hedgehog.
A scene from "Sonic Forces Speed Battle" (Photo: SEGA)The Game
Given Sonic’s place in video game history I had to give his new mobile game, “Sonic Forces,” a try. Although we were a Nintendo family there was always something I liked about that blue speedster. If Mario was the wholesome babysitter then Sonic was the rebellious uncle you had fun with, and he seems to have kept true to his frenetic, speed-demon roots in “Sonic Forces.” At it’s heart it’s a head-to-head racing game between four contestants. The mechanics work a lot like never-ending running games like “Temple Run” or “Looney Tunes Dash,” where you swipe to change lanes, and can duck or leap obstacles. “Sonic Forces” has the added benefit of “Mario Kart” style item boxes that you pick up as you are running and use to either make yourself faster or your opponents slower with missiles or traps. And, like most racing games, the replay value is only as good as the people you are racing against.
A scene from "Sonic Forces Speed Battle" (Photo: SEGA)The Experience
On the downside, “Sonic Forces” seems designed around the advertisements. They appear after every race, you can watch them any time in the menus to gain more in-game currency, and you can watch them to make your loot boxes (which you get after every race with new characters or gear) better. While the advertisements and loot boxes are slightly annoying they are worth it to see Sonic back in a racing game that does justice to his legacy. The game is full of those peerless moments where you hit your opponent with a fireball right as they are about to cross the finish line, slowing them down just enough for you to swoop in and claim the victory.
A scene from "Sonic Forces Speed Battle" (Photo: SEGA)The Content
There is no objectionable content, the game keeps everything light and fun.Rating
Frankly, it’s just fun to see one of video gaming’s most iconic characters doing what he does best: running really fast in some great shoes. Available for free on most devices, with plenty of opportunities to watch ads and buy loot boxes.
4 out of 5 stars
Nathan Snow is a freelance writer for Where It’s @. Follow him on twitter @nathanssnow