What do you do when you see a successful game? Clone it, of course. And if you can throw in a near-legendary gaming figure into the mix, you have the recipe for gaming box office success. Or at least that seems to have been the thought process behind Sega’s endless runner, Sonic Dash, which features – you guessed it – Sonic the Hedgehog running at manic speeds through green rolling hills, dodging obstacles, collecting rings and levelling up.
And let’s be honest, the game is good fun for a while. No it does not have tilt controls like Temple Run – Sonic’s path seems to be a three-laned affair and you can swipe to move him to the right or to the left to dodge obstacles or collect rings that come scattered all over the place. A swipe up makes him leap over what’s in his path and a swipe downwards makes him slide underneath it. As he is doing so, he is also filling up his Dash Meter – once full, it lets him pretty much run uninhibited, with no need to dodge anyone (he is just too fast to catch). Mind you, these dashes do not last for long, so need to be used prudently. There are also chances to strike back against whoever stands in your path but these pop up too rarely, alas.
And in best Sonic tradition, the world he sprints through is a brilliantly coloured one with dazzling green hills, emerald blue waters (he has to clear them) and grey-blue stone paved paths galore. Even the crabs who lie in his path and try to either grab rings off him or just stop him dead in his path, and the walls, spikes and stiles that lie in his path look amiable enough. Oh yes, this is pretty much classic Sonic territory, especially when you factor in the typically funky music that accompanies each sprint.
This being an endless runner, your task is to keep collecting rings while covering the maximum distance possible. You can bank the rings, use them to purchase power ups or even play the game as other characters from the Sonic universe (Tails and Knuckles). You can also compare scores with other friends playing the game if that gives you a high. The game persistently tries to nudge you towards grabbing a power up or shelling out cash for one every time you come to the end of a run, which can be a tad irritating, wrestling as you are with the depression of not having been able to take Sonic a yard further ahead. We have so far ignored them and carried on running, preferring collecting and banking rings to purchasing them.
Which of course gets us to the big question that everyone is going to be wondering about – is it as good as Temple Run? Well, we must confess that we find it almost as addictive and much much faster (hey, Sonic is the speed master, right?!), so you do have to be ready to swipe in a particular direction at an instant’s notice. Mind you, it is a very different, and more cartoonish world than that of Imangi’s endless runner. The Nintendo crowd will love it, but others might just prefer running away from the monkey crowd – perhaps because the graphics are just a whole lot less kiddish, and the attempts to make you shell out cash are less irritating. It costs lesser too ($0.99 as compared to $1.99).
Available from: iTunes App Store