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Sonic Jump Fever review: blue hedgehogs should stick to running

Free; SEGA; iOS

Sonic’s had his name associated with a deluge of sub-par games over the years and SEGA’s issues with identity still remain. He’s no longer simply a blur of a blue hedgehog racing to the finishing line. He’s now everything: a fighter, a racing car driver and now a…jumper?

The objective is simple: jump as far as possible until the time limit runs out, attempt to get the highest score and compete with friends. The player tilts their phone to move the character left and right, and can tap the screen to double jump. Hitting enemies (Badniks) from below destroys them. The key new feature is the addition of a move called ‘Fever’ which activates on filling a gauge along the bottom of the screen. The move catapults players along a trail of rings, which are then used to purchase power ups.

The game isn’t necessarily awful but it doesn’t do anything surprising and a lot of the mechanics seem flawed. In a game about Sonic you really want to be running not leaping up platforms towards a hot air balloon. And, in a game about jumping, you want to at least feel in control of the character (who, incidentally, is not the titular Sonic but rather Tails). The controls aren’t as precise as they should be and the collectibles are sparse throughout. This wouldn’t really be an issue except they’re used to unlock characters (Sonic, Knuckles, Amy and Blaze) and can, of course, be bought with real money as an IAP. Even the social elements of competing with friends aren’t enough to help.

There’s the rub, really. From the moment you spring open the app it immediately introduces the player to the core mechanics of not the game but well, capitalism. I spent around five to eight minutes getting through the opening instructions alone before actually playing the game properly. It’s fine as a time sink, but don’t expect mastery here unless you want to shell out all your gold coins.