Sonic Dash: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Oh, how I used to while away my days playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my SEGA Genesis back in the day. Between that and Street Fighter II, I don’t know how I got any homework done (actually, that explains a lot). Seriously, the Sonic series of games have a solid root on my heart, but recent versions have desecrated the name and turned it into a near worthless bit of IP.

But now there’s Sonic Dash, a reinvention of the concept for the mobile platform. It’s a runner, sure, but it’s also a different format for my favorite blue hedgehog entirely. Does it hold up to all of those childhood memories, or is it just another Sonic and the Black Knight? Let’s find out.

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Keep On Running

This isn’t a shocking concept, but Sonic likes to run. So what’s the best way to capitalize on that on an iPhone? With a runner game, and it’s surprising that SEGA took so long to take this leap. Basically, Sonic Dash is similar to the redone Pitfall, in that you have no control over Sonic’s speed; all you do is run and a few other basic moves. You can switch lanes by swiping side to side, jump or roll by swiping up or down, or do any of the numerous requests dictated on the screen. It’s pretty simple.

Seeing that just takes me back.

Seeing that just takes me back.

Because of this, Sonic Dash is a one-handed game where you hold your iPhone vertically. Why is that important? I often find myself playing iPhone games in situations where I don’t have the ability to use both hands without looking weird. Sitting in a doctor’s office, for example, playing the game with my right hand looks more like I’m flipping through emails instead of collecting rings (which is the best option when you’re trying to look like an adult). I prefer one-handed gaming sometimes and that is one of the reasons that Sonic Dash appeals to me.

Run, Sonic. RUN!

Again, the point of this game is to run, but what do you do next? As with any Sonic game, there are rings (which I’m just going to call coins) to collect and bad guys to attack. If you run into a baddie, just roll into a ball to tumble them all over. Coins rack up as you run them over, so that’s easy too. Otherwise, it’s all about avoiding the obstacles in your way.

Roll or run, all you need to do is collect rings.

Roll or run, all you need to do is collect rings.

In addition to the rolling, jumping and coin collecting, you can also dash. To do that, you tap the Dash icon in the lower right corner of the screen and away you go, hauling butt and blowing up anything in your way. There are also jumping points positioned at random places around the course. It looks like a cliff, and depending on which lane you choose, you have various end results. You can either win extra coins, go through a loop later on down the course or bank your coins. But why would you want to bank your coins?

The Predictable Entry of IAP

Like many games today, Sonic Dash is trying to capitalize on in-app purchasing to monetize the game. The coins that you bank throughout are used to purchase items that may help you do better in the game. You can buy characters, bonuses, restarts and so on. And, of course, you can also buy coins if you feel that’s necessary.

Oh, there you are, IAP. Goodie.

Oh, there you are, IAP. Goodie.

But the sneaky one is the red ring. When you first start playing, you get red rings like crazy. But soon, you don’t. And you want those red rings, because that’s what lets you buy the really cool stuff, like being able to continue if you should die. So what do you do? Buy them. Well, you could, if you cared. There was never the impetus for me to put down my hard-earned cash for those red rings, but I can see how some people might want to.

Bottom Line

We’re all wondering the same thing: is this game fun? In a word, yes. It’s repetitive, and can get frustrating at times but it is quite enjoyable. Because it’s a one-handed game, I can play while holding a drink or whatever, which I find convenient. Because it’s a quick play, I don’t feel concerned about whether or not I have to leave the game quickly, which happens to me often when I’m at an appointment or something similar. It’s just that kind of fun game.

But again, it is frustrating, so I’m not putting this in my upper echelon of games. I’ll likely play it for a month or so, then forget it’s on my iPhone and move on to something else. At $1.99, it’s worth the buy to me, even if it’s just for the nostalgia of the whole experience. For me, reminiscing about those days sitting cross legged in front of the TV and playing Sonic the Hedgehog for hours is worth that $1.99.


Play as Sonic the Hedgehog in this runner game that's different from anything else in the series.