Sonic Free Riders is a board game… in that you’re travelling on a hoverboard, but this isn’t exactly as exciting as Back to the Future II. Well, technically, it’s an Extreme Gear, aka an air-board.
Now at this point, I’d go into detail as to what the game’s about, but I really can’t get that excited about it for reasons that will become very much apparent, so I’m just going to sum up the press blurb which was essentially: “For the first time use full-motion body control to twist and turn your way through a range of visually stunning courses. Hi-octane fun for ‘riders’ of all ages, Sonic Free Riders brings extreme fast-paced boarding action in a main event you won’t want to miss!”
The point of the game is to stand sideways to the screen, leaning forward and back to move Sonic (or your chosen character) the same way in the game. Stick your hands out to the sides to get rings, if you can’t get them normally and then up to catch those above you. Every so often, particularly while going over a ramp, perform air tricks by catching air… i.e. jump.
Well, that’s the idea, anyway. At first, I thought Sonic Free Riders was difficult to get used to, but it’s not that. It’s just not precise enough and delays or ignores any reaction you make from your ‘gear’. Kinect Adventures worked through this a lot better. It’s just not very good at recognising where you are. Perhaps this project was just a bit too ambitious, or maybe it’s just badly-programmed. Sometimes it forgets you’re in the middle of a game and brings up the option to cancel the game. Huh?
Add to this, you’ll generally get rings through luck rather than judgement and another level I played just ended mid-way through just before I even got to a jump. Huh?!
Also, the between-level scenes are tedious and go on for ages, and why do I have to keep getting ‘on my gear’ with Ochimao before EVERY SINGLE RACE?! It’s just so annoying.
With poor control response, it’s as bad as Lee Carvello’s Putting Challenge, on The Simpsons. After a few games, “Do you want to play again?”… “You have selected – no.”
Is there anything good about this? Well, it looks and sounds okay, but when the gameplay is all-to-cock, you won’t be going back for regular trips on a board…
In this review, I’ve uploaded a number of videos which are as follows:
- Sonic Free Riders – Video 1: Speed Showdown (720p HD)
Sonic Free Riders – Video 2: Ring Grab Challenge (720p HD)
Sonic Free Riders – Video 3: Grind Challenge (720p HD)
Sonic Free Riders – Video 4: Trick Attack (720p HD)
Visit my DVDfeverGames Youtube channel
- Publisher: Sega
- Price: £15.99 (Xbox 360)
- Players: 1-2 offline, co-op: 2, online multiplayer: 2
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.