When Sega's Hardlight Studio released Sonic Jump last year, I shook my head. Jumping is not the ability Sonic the Hedgehog is known for. This week Hardlight has released endless runner Sonic Dash on iOS. That's more like it.
How do you make a good 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game? You take a bad one and cut away all the unappealing bits. That's exactly what Sonic Dash is — the best bits of the 3D console games, without all the filler.
See Sonic the Hedgehog. See Sonic run. See Sonic run fast. See Sonic spin dash to avoid obstacles and kill enemies. See Sonic collect coins to activate his Dash power, rendering him blindingly fast and invulnerable for a short time. See Sonic clear large jumps using his Homing Attack.
It's a simple formula that works incredibly well for the character. There may be dozens of endless runners out there (five came out this week alone), but there's always room for Sonic. The genre fits him like a glove.
Sonic Dash is also an incredibly pretty game, using assets that look as if they were lifted directly from its console cousins. They're so stunning that you can almost forgive the fact that every time you die you have to wait for what are essentially ads for the game's own in-app purchases before continuing. I came really close to accidentally purchasing $34.99 worth of rings last night while stabbing at the screen to continue.
See? Pretty. I've completely forgotten the complaint from the previous paragraph.
As lovely as it is, Sonic Dash could use a little more personality, perhaps the story mode that made Sonic Jump playable despite the speedy hedgehog misuse. Hardlight promises updates in the app's iTunes description, so maybe there's hope yet.
When I load up a Sonic the Hedgehog game, there are two things I want to do: run fast and kill some animal robots. This'll do nicely.