Sonic Frontiers Review: Delightful When It Goes Fast, Disappointing When It Slows Down

Sonic the Hedgehog’s 2D online game adventures are broadly liked, however the Sega icon’s 3D entries have been so variable that they impressed the notorious Sonic Cycle meme: the reveal of every new recreation is met with hope that is swiftly crushed after we play the disappointing closing product. 

Sonic Frontiers regarded so spectacular that it impressed extra pleasure than ordinary as a result of it hinted that our hero could be rushing and leaping round huge open areas — the sort of gameplay a few of us have dreamed about because the ’90s.

And the sport, which hit PS5, PS4, Xbox Sequence X and S, Xbox One, Nintendo Swap, and PC on Tuesday, completely sings whenever you’re zipping by way of its huge open zones. Enjoying on PS5, operating, hopping and grinding between goals usually proved a joyous expertise. (I like to recommend switching from 4K visuals to 60 FPS within the menu if the choice is on the market in your model.)

Sonic Frontiers allows you to discover the huge Starfall Islands in a quest to gather sequence staple plot gadget the Chaos Emeralds and rescue his charming buddies after the group falls by way of a wormhole. 

The sport capitalizes on its hedgehog hero’s skills fantastically, providing you with simply sufficient management that you just really feel engaged however by no means overwhelmed as you pace round. It is a pure evolution of the gameplay first seen in 1998’s Sonic Journey and a reminder of how effortlessly cool Sonic is.

It is after I really reached Sonic Frontiers’ goals that the sport’s shortcomings turned obvious.

Do not decelerate

You will full numerous transient missions to fill out the map of every island; most of those take seconds and show fairly satisfying. Additionally dotted round every island zone towers and colossal enemies, and climbing these is crucial for progress. 

Sadly, Sonic’s motion turns into finicky in these moments — the poor fella simply is not at his finest when he loses momentum — which means you may fall proper again all the way down to the underside regularly.

It is positive the primary few instances, since you possibly can usually zip proper again up. However you may doubtless mess up a irritating quantity of instances, to the purpose the place making your approach up a tower or again to a boss’ weak level turns into irritatingly uninteresting. 

Reaching this man’s weak level will get repetitive.


To make issues worse, I climbed to the very best level of one of many first island’s towers to search out nothing however a beautiful view. It was a enjoyable little journey, however some small collectible would have been a pleasant method to cap it off.

Additionally baffling are the occasional pressured perspective sections, the place you may enter an impediment course and gameplay will shift from 3D to 2D. It is jarring, particularly when there is a collectible instantly beside Sonic that you just’re unable to achieve due to the pressured perspective. You will be pressured to awkwardly backtrack, which hurts the pacing (it is particularly irritating on the sport’s third island).

Do you want collectibles? I positive hope so, as a result of Sonic Frontiers makes you acquire an astounding quantity of them. This is not inherently problematic, since operating round to get most of them is enjoyable.

Little rock creatures gather in a field in Sonic Frontiers

You will be gathering plenty of these little guys to improve your pace and ring capability.


There are simply so many alternative varieties: you may collect character recollections to set off cutscenes with Sonic’s trapped buddies, gears to unlock the superb Cyber Area ranges, keys to entry the Chaos Emeralds and a number of gadgets used to improve your skills. It is really easy to overlook what each really does that gathering them can really feel senseless.

You can even collect collectibles rapidly by way of a enjoyable fishing minigame, however that gameplay feels somewhat too simplistic, and the odd graphical glitch impact on the water is off placing.

Sonic brawl

The fight can really feel equally routine, since tapping the assault button can carry you thru a lot of the Sonic Frontiers’ battles. You have acquired a wide selection of combos and strikes to make use of, however there’s little incentive to transcend the fundamental assaults that batter normal enemies and managers. 

Circling enemies to stun them with Sonic’s Cyloop transfer by no means will get outdated although, because it’s satisfying to make use of and essentially the most direct method to incorporate his speedy motion in fights. 

Super Sonic faces a Titan in Sonic Frontiers

These fights look superior, however are too simplistic.


This extends to the Titan bosses you may battle on the finish of every island. These are superior to behold and the music has critical noughties vibes (which ought to delight Sonic Journey 2 followers), however lean too closely on fast time occasion button presses. I used to be on autopilot by the point I fought the final one; such an epically offered battle ought to demand your full consideration.

Traditional zones

You will immediately overlook any annoyances whenever you drop into Cyber Area, which lets you zip by way of recreations of basic Sonic phases. Dropping the exploration parts nearly fully, they’re the purest expressions of Sonic Frontier’s speedy gameplay and an absolute pleasure.

Racing by way of these linear ranges, you acquire rings and hop on enemies as you attempt to attain the purpose as rapidly as doable. They’re all visually pleasant and beg to be performed again and again. 

Every one poses the identical set of challenges — gathering a sure variety of rings, discovering 5 crimson cash and beating the par time — however boast such various designs that they by no means get outdated. 

Sonic dashes through Green Hill Zone as an enemy looms in Sonic Frontiers

Each Sonic recreation wants an space like this, it needs to be a legislation.


Appropriately, the timed problem is usually the hardest, so you may have to determine the optimum route by way of the extent and shave seconds off your run. It is normally a heap of enjoyable to take action although, to the purpose the place I used to be somewhat disenchanted if I accomplished these challenges too simply — I needed an excuse to hurry by way of these ranges as many instances as doable.

The music is the icing on the Cyber Area cake: each monitor is an absolute banger, including an intense sense of momentum and rushes of adrenaline to every run. Composer Tomoya Ohtani and his crew knocked this recreation’s soundtrack out of the park; everybody who performs will quickly be listening to it on repeat.

Sonic and pals

The narrative is normal Sonic fare, with the thriller of the Starfall Islands and an extinct alien species unfolding as you rescue Amy, Knuckles and Tails from captivity between dimensions. It is delivered sparsely within the early hours, however the cutscenes develop into extra frequent within the recreation’s later sections (repetitive animations additionally play whenever you full goals, however these are mercifully skippable).

You most likely will not discover the story notably participating although, notably because of the flat voice performing. This side appears particularly unusual after the latest films infused this solid of anthropomorphic animals with such a powerful sense of enjoyable — solely Tails voice actor Colleen O’Shaughnessey reprises her film function in Frontiers. 

A digital Knuckles walks past Sonic in Sonic Frontiers

You will chat to Knuckles and different buddies all through the sport, although they’re trapped between realities.


Along with the Cyber World basic phases, there are intelligent nods to basic video games from Sonic’s 31-year historical past. One nod to Sonic & Knuckles introduced a very broad grin to my face — I believe there’s one thing in right here for followers of each period of the franchise. 

The environments additionally owe a fantastic deal to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s wide-open fields and historic sci-fi tech aesthetic, however Sonic’s skills make the Frontiers’ gameplay expertise really feel completely different sufficient that comparisons cease on the visible stage.

Sonic reborn

Regardless of just a few annoyances and weaker gameplay moments, I had enjoyable for almost all of the 21 hours I spent sprinting by way of Sonic Frontiers’ predominant story (I reckon I will spend one other seven hours exploring past this). With tighter climbing mechanics, larger fight selection and extra compelling story, it would be a very joyous expertise. 

A part of me was disenchanted that Tails, Knuckles and Amy weren’t playable, however crafting particular person types for every of them would’ve been a stretch — the builders had been sensible to give attention to Sonic as they expanded into open-world gameplay. Hopefully we’ll be capable to play as them in a sequel although.

On the visible entrance, Sonic Frontiers is colourful and nice however nothing mind-blowing. The open zones are somewhat bland and character fashions are primary (although it is cool that Sonic’s quills are seen). It is doubtless these had been technical concessions to get the sport operating on the ageing PS4, Xbox One and Swap {hardware}.

Sonic Frontiers is not the frustration the Sonic Cycle has conditioned us to count on, neither is it the masterpiece Sega followers have been hoping for. It is a super-speedy step in the suitable course for the sequence although, and hopefully lays the inspiration for a very unimaginable followup.

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings