Sonic Dash, the free-to-play endless runner spin-off of the famed hedgehog, has been downloaded over 100m times, Sega has announced.
I can remember when a new Sonic the Hedgehog game was the biggest story around. I remember live-action adverts, Sonic 2s-day, the disbelief at those first magazine photos of the Sonic & Knuckles cart. "Among Mario's clones," Shigeru Miyamoto told Edge magazine in the late 1990s, "Sonic is a good one." Originality was never the hedgehog's strong point. Even so, copying Temple Run seems a long way to fall from Super Mario.
Viewed from a more optimistic angle, at least the endless running genre's a good match - indeed, Sega's investors may well wonder why it's taken so long. And I mention the moneymen because, while there's good stuff to talk about with Sonic Dash, the entire game is framed and ultimately spoiled by in-app purchases. Sonic Dash costs £1.49 upfront and uses rings and red stars as currencies - the former picked up and banked in-game, the latter awarded rarely and used to unlock new characters and buy continues. The standard ring-doubling booster will set you back £2.49 - pretty cheeky, I thought - but even with this you'll acquire upgrades at a snail's pace, and without additional purchases or some pretty dedicated play it won't unlock more than one character, if that. So: £4 for an endless runner, and a few more quid each if you fancy playing as Knuckles or Tails.
This probably wouldn't annoy me so much if Sonic Dash didn't have a habit of telling you to buy £19.99 packs of rings and stars after a game over. It asks directly for more money multiple times during every session in a manner so brazen and intrusive, it feels shoddy. Sonic is first and foremost a children's character, one that specifically appeals to young boys; I know this, so Sega knows it a hundred times over, and yet it has decided to release a product that demands cash from players again and again for things like power-ups. Honestly, when did three lives get replaced with purchasable revive tokens? Just because you can do something, as the saying goes, doesn't mean you should.
Sonic Dash, the Sonic the Hedgehog endless runner, has launched on the App Store.
Sega has announced Sonic Dash, an endless runner starring Sonic the Hedgehog.
A short Sega blog post confirmed the game will be released soon on the App Store for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. No mention was made of an Android version.
"Our hero will be doing what he does best - making a fast and frenzied 3D dash through stunning stages, as he navigates over, around, and through interminable dangers," reads the official blurb.