Visually, Sonic Runners Adventure looks amazing. The game is rendered in 3D that has a retro look and feel to it, similar to Horizon Chase. The different environments that are featured in Sonic Runners Adventure are bright, lush, and they bring back a sense of nostalgia for old-school fans. The character models are classic and also done in 3D, though some feel slightly off (like Sonic) for some reason. Animations in the game are smooth and fluid, with no issues of lag and choppiness on my iPhone 8 Plus. Sonic Runners Adventure features an upbeat and iconic soundtrack that is reminiscent of the original games, which just brings a smile to my face. Overall, the visual and audio design of Sonic Runners Adventure is a huge dose of fan service, and brings back a lot of memories for fans.
Like previous games, Sonic Runners Adventure is level-based, with different areas serving as chapters with a handful of levels each. To complete each world, there’s a boss battle at the end before you can proceed to the next area. Each stage has a set of three objectives that can earn you stars, and at least one must be met in order to “complete” it. However, as some objectives can only be done with certain characters, there’s a lot of replay value here. The objectives can include things like collecting a certain number of rings or defeating enemies, but they become more difficult (and the levels are lengthier) as you get further along.
The controls in Sonic Runners Adventure are simple and intuitive. Since the characters automatically run forward, you’re just in charge of timing the jumps. To do this, just tap anywhere on the screen. If you tap twice, they’ll do a double jump. The third tap lets your character do their unique ability, depending on their type. For example, Speed characters (Sonic, Shadow, etc.) get a third jump, while Fly characters (Tails, Rogue, etc.) will glide. There’s also the Power characters like Knuckles, though I have not unlocked that yet.
If you’ve played Sonic games before, then you should know how it goes. Run, collect the rings, and defeat enemies by jumping on top or into them. When you get hit, you lose all of the rings you’ve collected so far, and if you have no rings the next time you get hit, then it’s game over. So if you take damage, hurry and gather at least one ring to recover.
As I played Sonic Runners Adventure, I noticed that the game can be a bit grind-heavy. This is because you can collect a large amount of rings through each stage, and you’re also awarded more rings upon completion. Plus, if you can get the rainbow ring on a stage, you get a bonus level where there’s many rings to collect.
Your ring stash is important, as you can use it to continue on stages (good when you die a lot on a troublesome stage), buy other characters from Team Chaotix and Team Dark, buddies that enhance your character abilities, and boost items. Each character can also be leveled up by spending rings, and their abilities get stronger as they are higher in level.
While there’s a lot to like about Sonic Runners Adventure, it’s not without some flaws. Fans of the previous game may be sad to see that there’s no more randomized, infinite levels, and some levels can be incredibly difficult, resulting in a tough wall to climb. I’ve been stuck in the second world (the desert) area for a good while now, and it’s rather aggravating.
Another thing I noticed is the fact that you can move so fast in this game that it’s hard to see upcoming obstacles that you need to avoid. Because of this, you may have to play a stage numerous times, and hope you remember the layout and get your jump timing right at those tough parts. And while the controls work for the most part, sometimes it can feel unresponsive, or there’s a delay, resulting in many frustrating deaths.