Sonic Dream Team review: the hedgehog’s latest adventure has…

Sonic runs away from a crab in Sonic Dream Team.

“Fun, fast Sonic Dream Team may hold the blueprint for the future of Sonic the Hedgehog.”


  • Awesome cartoon look

  • flamboyant action

  • easy to learn controls

  • very replayable levels


  • finiki camera

  • As soon as it starts getting creative

  • recycling challenges

Sonic the Hedgehog games live and die on one word: speed.

The best games in the series drop players into digital amusement parks filled with interactive attractions and let them jump freely from one ride to the next without taking their foot off the gas. Conversely, its weakest entries fill those worlds with stop signs. The more players are forced to slow down, whether by design or due to unexpected bugs, the less fun it becomes. “Gotta go fast” isn’t just a snappy catchphrase; This is essential to the series.

sonic dream team, a new Apple Arcade exclusive 3D platformer, understands the importance of speed. This makes perfect sense when looking at its developer, Sega Hardlight. The studio is best known for sonic dash, a mobile endless runner that’s still running 10 years after its launch. Smooth movement is a necessity in that title and I can feel Sega Hardlight’s survival instincts in its latest game. It’s determined to make sure players never stop bouncing the ball to keep it rolling, bouncing between tracks, and smashing into enemies. This is exactly the kind of thinking the start-and-stop Sonic series needs right now.

However it ends as soon as it reaches its top gear, sonic dream team There’s an intelligent direction for the ever-changing series. This isn’t yet another radical reinvention nor a tired rehash of nostalgia, but a sharply designed Sonic adventure that puts fast 3D platforming at the forefront. If nothing else, it’s a successful audition for a developer who appears best equipped to take the series forward.

a stage dream

In sonic dream team, the villain Doctor Eggman uses the power of dreams to build his own evil empire. Sonic and Amy Rose team up with a new character named Ariem (pronounced REM… get it?) to foil his plan and rescue Sonic’s kidnapped friends in the process. It’s a fairly simple story told mostly through motion comic cutscenes, but the smaller-scale presentation offers more than some of its console counterparts. It features full voice acting, some great tunes, and a pleasant cartoon art style – all of which make it stand out next to recently released sonic superstar,

The real part of the thrill comes in Sega Hardlight’s approach to fast-paced platforming, an area where the studio’s endless runner roots come to good use. Each of its 12 main stages (on top of four easy, but fun boss stages) are sleek and easy to navigate, but call back to the level design of 3D classics sonic heroes, They are linear stages, but at each turn there are several branching paths that hide collectible coins and stars. In some levels I have to jump between grind rails and run through rows of enemies to reach the runway. More creative people play with gravity; My favorite stage involves a section where I’m suddenly climbing a cylindrical wall while jumping to avoid obstacles.

This is some of the most consistent and reliable movement we’ve felt in a Sonic game in quite some time.

Although none of this is unusual for the series, the main point is dream TeamThe success lies in its movement. Sonic and company can run quickly through obstacles thanks to some simple and quick controls that ensure players always land where they are intended. When I jump towards the rail, I can automatically lock on to it and zip by pressing the homing attack button. It is also useful for attacking enemies, bounce pads etc. This is some of the most consistent and reliable movement we’ve felt in a Sonic game in quite some time.

It’s clear that Sega Hardlight doesn’t want players to slow down and it knows how to support that idea. Each character has a boost meter that grants them temporary speedup when pressed. Boost powers can be regained by capturing lines of energy (laid out in lines just like rings) and crushing enemies. When I’m really turned off, I can continue to string together energy sources without taking my foot off the gas. As a result levels pass in just a few exciting minutes, making them the perfect length for quick on-the-go sessions.

Sonic grinds on the rail in Sonic Dream Team.

As with most modern Sonic games, there’s an added gameplay gimmick, but it’s far more elegant than Sonic Superstars’ ability system. There are a total of six playable characters: Sonic, Amy, Knuckles, Rouge, Tails, and Cream. He has three unique abilities, which can be used to access alternate paths in each level. Sonic and Amy can light up rows of rings, while Tails and Cream can use their tails to fly upward for a short period of time. The coolest of the group are Knuckles and Rouge, who can climb walls and fly through the air. Each character gives players a good reason to replay levels to look for hidden coins or find an even faster route to the finish line.

It is not without some flaws. The 3D camera can be difficult to tame, especially when dealing with the vertical gameplay of Tails and Cream. Some levels involve short bits of careful platform hopping which slows down the pace a bit. And with a story that clocked in at four hours, it felt like I was only getting introduced to some of its more creative level design ideas. Even with those issues, Sega Hardlight proves that it’s not a side studio that should be left to spin-off duty. It doesn’t think too much about the simple joy of going fast, creating a series of mobile skateparks that are always satisfying to race through.

reason to come back

Although the main story is over in one fell swoop, sonic dream team Finds other ways to keep players logged in. Between collectible figurines unlocked through achievements and a whole bunch of coins hidden throughout every level, those who love a good platforming collect-a-thon will have a fair amount to dig back into after the credits. The additional character powers help keep those replays fresh a few more times as there are always some additional paths to discover.

With all the revisions the 12 levels start to feel stale after a while…

Sega Hardlight tries to squeeze a lot of extra juice out of a handful of levels, with mixed results. The most inspired option is a super mario 64like structure, which gives each level a set of additional objectives. Completing one unlocks an orb and each new stage can only be unlocked by gaining a certain amount. Those additional missions play into Dream Team’s strength, as many task players with speeding through a level in a certain amount of time or racing through checkpoints to keep the timer going. It’s in those moments where I’m racing against the clock where I can feel how difficult the movement is, allowing me to progress towards the end of the level without stopping.

Drawing on its mobile service roots, dream Team It also includes a mode called Tales Challenge, which gives players five bonus objectives every week. Each grant points unlocks new statues and players are scored in levels and placed on the leaderboard. It’s a nice addition for competitive players, although it feels like the challenges are mostly recycled from the base game. The 12 levels start to get stale after a while with all the re-watches, but it looks like Sega is ready to update the Hardlight games for a while. If it can slowly add new stages over time that widen the challenge pool, it could give the studio the long tail it wants.

Cream goes through a level in Sonic Dream Team.

Sonic fans may be tempted to skip this one dream Team This makes sense given its Apple Arcade exclusivity and how lightweight it currently is. However, those who have a subscription will get a mini blueprint of a successful 3D Sonic game. The fast pace, snappy controls, and emphasis on fluidity over challenge make it one of the few modern installments that doesn’t come with some sigh-inducing gameplay warnings. for the first time since then sound maniaFeels like Sega has some real momentum sonic dream team, I just open it, it keeps running down this road instead of hitting the brakes and accelerating to another offramp.

sonic dream team Testing was done on an iPhone with both touch controls and a Backbone controller.

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