Why did it take Sega this long to release an endless runner starring everyone's favorite hedgehog? Sonic Dash puts users in control of the blue blur as he races through the tropical-themed Seaside Hill. Although it lacks a story and villain Dr. Eggman, you can expect numerous Sonic staples, from loops and jump pads to gold rings and those familiar robotic crabs. The result is one of the best action titles for iPhone and iPad.
Similar to most running games on the App Store, the primary goal is to see how far you can travel before wiping out. Holding the device vertically, you view the action from behind Sonic and perform left and right swipes to guide Sega's mascot safely across the terrain. The developers also present the opportunity to unleash Sonic's homing attack while in mid-air by tapping the pesky mechanical fish blocking the way. A somewhat overused control scheme, but the spot-on execution helps to make the game accessible to all ages while at the same time giving players a chance to focus on the constantly-changing scenery.
While on the subject of the environment, Sonic Dash is full of glorious eye candy with long stretches of grass and a gorgeous blue ocean. It's without question one of the coolest looking games on mobile, but you shouldn't admire the visuals too long, lest you fall victim to the many hazards lining the track. Not only must you contend with enemies, but also bridges and rocks to slide under, bombs to vault over and pits that introduce Sonic to a watery grave. Considering Sonic Dash moves at such a quick pace, it's a great idea to plan your next move and the one after that long before reaching whatever obstacles appear in the distance.
Naturally, this thrilling sensation of speed (particularly when using Sonic's destructible dash maneuver) adds to the game's appeal, but so does the presentation. Familiar music plays in the background, and the option to unlock Tails, Knuckles and Amy adds a bit of variety. You may even receive the chance to explore Sky Sanctuary, should you choose that option.
To be fair, the power-ups (magnet to attract rings, head starts) are quite lazy, considering most running games use similar items. That said, Sonic Dash is a quality experience that no hardcore Sega fan should miss. We can only hope the company adds more locations and perhaps characters throughout the year.
Review code provided by Sega.
What's Hot:Quality graphics, addictive endless running action, superb controls, catchy music, that burst of Sonic speed.
What's Not:Difficult to unlock characters without making an in-app purchase.