Review of Sonic Speed ​​​​Simulator – a free and beautiful Roblox game, fast and fun in short rounds

A surprisingly enjoyable free-to-play Sonic game can’t go wrong with needy fans, but disappointing progression is holding it back.

I should say right away that I don’t know Roblox at all, even though it’s one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world. But I’m not really in his target population of kids under 16. From what I’ve gleaned, it has easy-to-learn tools that allow anyone to make a game, whether it’s something very basic, derivative, and kind of janky, or whatever something approaching professional quality. I am also aware of People Make Games’ investigations into questionable and abusive practices on the platformthat’s enough to convince me that I shouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

On the other hand, I quite like Sonic the Hedgehog. So when a new game launches on Roblox, not just starring Blue Blur and friends, but officially licensed by Sega, that’s more than enough to arouse cautious curiosity, especially when said platform is free and available to anyone. person with smartphone or web. Navigator. Roblox may already be home to various other Sonic fan games, but aside from being an official release, Sonic Speed ​​Simulator is also the work of Gamefam, the first professional company to treat Roblox as a gaming platform. proper game development. The developer is also no stranger to partnerships, having collaborated with Mattel to create an open-world racing game based on Hot Wheels in 2020.

Here’s a look at the gameplay of Sonic Speed ​​Simulator in motion.

It might be a stretch to call Sonic Speed ​​Simulator a game when it’s more of an homage – and an experience that teases the potential of the “open area” type of 3D gameplay that Sonic Team is working on. currently with the next Sonic Frontiers. It actually reminds me of “Sonic World”, which was part of the Sonic Jam compilation for the Sega Saturn. It wasn’t really a game either, but rather a small 3D environment with a low-poly Sonic and Tails that also served as an interactive museum, a sort of proof-of-concept for Sonic in 3D leading up to Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.

To its credit, Sonic Speed ​​Simulator is a bit more than that. It’s not just one world but many, featuring mechanics the Hedgehog has used in his 3D outings such as the homing spin attack or grinding on rails. You’re also not directed to linear routes like most mainstream 3D games; instead, these environments are spacious enough to handle your blistering speed in all directions.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator review - Sonic grinding on a rail through a giant pink hoop.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic falling through the air above a giant, green, grassy open world.

Reviews on Sonic Speed ​​Simulator - Sonic Running

It could have made a stronger first impression, however, as it starts off by failing to live up to either of the title’s two selling points. You don’t start out as Sonic but rather your Roblox avatar (I’m sure long term Roblox users can be strapped into their own avatars with all sorts of customizable cosmetics, but that’s not what I’m for signed up), and you’re at a creeping rate that steadily increases as you level up. Leveling is basically the main loop, with XP gained just by moving around (while the UI mentions “steps”, this counter keeps going up even if you take a long jump) but also by collecting crystals, which chime the same as the pearls in Sonic and the Secret Rings, rising high when you can collect a long trail of them. Bigger XP bonuses come from jumping through hoops placed around the world, many are set up so you need to be at a certain level and speed to reach them, likewise to be able to find and collect the unlocks for recently added Sonic, Tails, and the Knuckles as playable characters, but keep in mind these are just skins, so control exactly the same.

Suffice it to say, once you lose the avatar and are at a comfortable enough speed that you can easily run a loop, then Sonic Speed ​​Simulator starts to look like a Sonic game, and surprisingly good at it. Naturally, that bar is pretty low, given the many hiccups Sonic Team has had with its tent mascot over the past two decades – and having made the mistaken decision to dig these very recently, I should know. It’s not just the “here’s a 3D Sonic game that ain’t broke” surprise, though. It’s a game that nails the simple joy of being Sonic, racing super fast under Sega’s blue skies, or bouncing between sources through glowing green areas (there’s also currently a desert-themed world and snow-themed, but let’s be honest, Green Hill and Emerald Hill are the standouts to hit the nostalgia factor).

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator review - a contextual read:

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Tails run towards the camera at the sandy desert level.

Once you’re fast enough to figure out the terrain in an hour, be warned, it quickly runs out of steam, because there’s not much else to do – at least nothing that convincing. You can jump into obbys (Roblox parlance for obstacle courses), but they usually consist of very rudimentary platforming challenges that expose the speedster’s weakness with navigating platformers in tight spaces – and some are mandatory to unlock the next world, anyway.

…the logic of progression or goals is a moot point when actual traversal feels right, certainly a damn better sight than Sonic’s lowest points in history…

There’s also a constantly visible timer that notifies you of races you can enter with other players, but it’s an event that’s literally the same straight that’s done in about 20 seconds. It is useless to enter if you are low level but also much too slow to even know if you are ahead of your competitors, and above all an excuse to shoehorn in some commitment for this “metaverse”, including chatting with other players running around the world or spending your rings in gacha-style vending machines for cosmetics like mayhem. You’ll also find a booth selling Sonic-themed hats for your avatar using the platform’s premium currency, Robux.

Review of Sonic Speed ​​Simulator - Knuckles standing facing the camera in a freezing level.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic doing a spinning jump between two grassy platforms in a somewhat shaded canyon.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic collects rings while running upside down on a rocky surface with green platforms in the background.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator review - Sonic standing facing the camera in front of a purple machine at the start of a race high in the clouds.

Granted, it looks like Gamefam is steadily working on updating the game, with at least one more world to come. It’s just that the progression is incredibly disappointing, where going further requires starting over. Basically when you reach your max level (level 50 to start) you have the option to Rebirth, resetting you to level 1, which also means you’re back at a creeping speed, although you still keep all the goods unlocked cosmetics. A generation growing up on Fortnite where you always start with nothing is probably ok with that, and at least leveling up is faster with each subsequent revival, but I still can’t figure out how Sonic gets his allure neutralized main every time. Each rebirth at least increases your next level cap, making you go even faster, though a cynic might see this as just an extension of the grind, since later worlds only unlock after rebirth – so blatant, where the third world requires rebirth, the fourth requires you to have had three.

That said, the logic of the progression or goals is a moot point when the actual traversal feels good – certainly a damn better sight than Sonic’s lowest points in the story – and the grind all but disappears over the minutes. and I realize that I only enjoy running for the sake of running. It’s probably the finest experience to grace Roblox so far, an easy-entry drug to tempt newcomers to the platform. For Sonic fans, it’s a preview of what might be possible with the future of the Hedgehog, if that’s what Sonic Team’s “open area” design is all about, but with more structure and character. real challenges. Plus, it’s free – can’t it hurt to try it out?


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