Arguably the best part of the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 of yesteryear was the Chaos Emerald bonus stages. You remember those, don’t you? The camera jumped behind Sonic’s shoulder and he hustled forward all on his own while you wove him from side to side to collect rings and dodge obstacles.
Those stages unwittingly created the template for the droves of endless runners available on the App Store today, so the logical next step for the spiky blue hedgehog was an endless runner built around ye olde bonus stages, don’t you think? Enter Sonic Dash (Free), a fun runner plagued by the same problems that plague most endless runners.
Sonic Dash is all about swerving around enemies, rocks, pits, and other hazards to collect rings. Swipe the screen left and right to switch lanes, swipe up to jump, and swipe down to perform Sonic’s trademark roll, which you can use to clobber the enemies puttering around the environments. You can change direction in midair, drop straight down into a roll to treat enemies in your path like bowling pins, and weave around pillars and rocks on a dime.
The only catch is you’ll have to swipe twice to reach the far lane when you’re on the far side of the screen: once to reach the center, and once more to get to the opposite lane. This makes it tricky to dodge hazards in rapid succession, but Sonic never once failed to snap to when I told him to move, leaving only my reflexes to blame. In fact, I looked forward to moving through long strings of hurdles simply because moving Sonic is so effortless and fun.
Deciding when to dart in after a ring tucked just behind a rock and right in front of an enemy requires split-second decision-making and self-control. If you cross the finish line without getting hit, you bank your rings, which you can use to buy items such as a head start, which lets you start races as an invincible blur. But get hit by an enemy and you lose your rings, as Sonic tradition dictates. Resisting the urge to lunge after a cluster of rings can mean the difference between banking 100-plus rings, or crossing the finish line with zip, zero, zilch.
Sonic Dash wouldn’t be an endless runner if it didn’t try to nickel-and-dime you with IAP. Miss a jump and want to pick up where you left off? You can buy revival tokens using red rings, which you earn by completing optional missions. Or, naturally, you can pay real money for packs of red and gold rings.
Saving up gold rings isn’t so difficult, but earning red rings requires a hefty time investment, so prepare to grind or get used to starting over every few minutes. You don’t have to buy the IAP, of course, but given the leaderboards connectivity, you might find yourself wondering if your friend at the top of the food chain paid his way there or earned his spot.
Sonic Dash is free right now, so give it a try. Whether or not you’ll want to pay more into the game for a coin doubler or currency packs requires almost as little consideration: if you like endless runners, you’ll like this one, too.