A couple of weeks ago, a trailer for Sonic Team’s first original smartphone game, Sonic Runners, was released by SEGA. While it was accompanied by a fairly informative interview with Takashi Iizuka, the trailer itself was more of a teaser than anything, using footage from the beloved Genesis games and throwing out catchphrases and slogans without much actual information at all. Sonic Runners is getting pretty close to its launch in Japan, so we’ve finally got a gameplay video that gives out more details and, most importantly, shows us what the actual game looks like.
Sonic Runners is a stage-based auto-runner that touts one-finger controls. The game will initially release with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles playable. They’re listed as speed, flying, and power types, which in addition to recalling horrifying memories of Sonic Heroes also seems to point to an expanding roster of characters fitting into those types. Sure enough, we get a flash partway through the video of a group of characters including Amy, Shadow, Rogue, Espio, Vector, and Charmy. Did anyone want to see those last three characters ever again? Well, I guess Iizuka did.
Individual characters can level up various parameters, not unlike other mobile Sonic titles such as Sonic Jump Fever (Free). Also similar to that game, you can equip support characters like Chaos and Wisps to activate certain perks and achieve a higher score. These support characters can be earned through regular play, but the best ones will only be available through a premium currency random pull mechanism similar to Puzzle & Dragons (Free).
The gameplay itself looks almost exactly as you would imagine a side-scrolling Sonic auto-runner to. It uses the cel-shaded look seen in many of the Blue Blur’s handheld adventures and features a variety of colorful backdrops. Stages appear to have multiple paths, but they’re certainly more horizontally-focused than the levels in the classic games. Certain stages offer boss fights against Dr. “Eggman" Robotnik where you have to avoid obstacles he throws in your way while hitting boosts to try to smash his machines. The most remarkable thing about Sonic Runners at this point is that it’s made by Sonic Team themselves instead of being out-sourced like other mobile Sonic games. We’ll see if that works out in favor of the game’s quality when it launches in Japan sometime this spring.