Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review – a free and good Roblox game that’s fast and fun in short loops

The free and incredibly good feeling Sonic game can’t go wrong with fans in need of a fix, but some disappointing developments are holding it back.

I have to go right out and say that I don’t know much about Roblox at all, even if it’s one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world. But then I’m not really in the target demographic of kids under 16. From what I’ve gleaned, it has easy-to-learn tools that allow anyone to create a game, whether it’s something very basic, derivative, and janky type, or something close to professional quality. I’m also aware of People Make Games’ investigations into the platform’s questionable and exploitative practices, it was enough to convince me I shouldn’t touch it with a barge.

On the other hand, I love Sonic the Hedgehog. So when a new game launches on Roblox that not only stars Blue Blur and friends but is also officially licensed by Sega, then it’s more than enough to cause careful curiosity, especially when the platform is free and accessible. by anyone with a smartphone or the web. browser. Roblox may already be home to various other Sonic fan games, but in addition to the official release, Sonic Speed ​​Simulator is also the work of Gamefam, the first professional company to treat Roblox as a viable game development platform. The developer is no stranger to partnerships either, having collaborated with Mattel to create an open world racing game based on Hot Wheels in 2020.

Here’s a look at some of the running Sonic Speed ​​Simulator gameplay.

It’s probably too much of an exaggeration to call Sonic Speed ​​Simulator a game when it’s more of a tribute – and an experiment that teases the potential for the kind of ‘open zone’ 3D game Sonic Team is working on with the upcoming Sonic Frontiers. It really reminds me of ‘Sonic World’, which was featured as part of the Sonic Jam compilation for the Sega Saturn. It’s also not really a game but rather a small 3D environment featuring low poly Sonic and Tails that doubles as an interactive museum, sort of a proof of concept for Sonic in 3D that led up to Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.

To its credit, Sonic Speed ​​Simulator is a little more than that. It’s not just one world but many, featuring mechanics that the hedgehog has used in its 3D events such as spin homing attacks or grinding on rails. You’re also not channeled through a linear route like many mainstream 3D games; otherwise the environment is spacious enough to handle your blistering speed from any direction.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic grinds on the rails through giant pink circles.
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic is tumbling through the air over a giant, green, grassy open world.
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic running while

However, it can make a stronger first impression, as it begins by meeting neither of the two selling points in the title. You don’t start off as Sonic but rather your Roblox avatar (I’m sure long-term Roblox users might be attached to their own avatar with all sorts of customizable cosmetics, but these aren’t the ones I listed), and you’re on a crawl that keeps increasing as you go up. levels. Leveling up is basically a core loop, with XP earned just by moving (while the UI mentions ‘steps’, this counter keeps going up even if you do a long jump) but also by collecting crystals, which make the same bells as pearls in Sonic and the Secret Rings, raise the pitch when you can collect their long trail. The bigger XP bonuses come with jumping hoops placed all over the world, many of which are set up so you have to be at a certain level and speed to reach them, similarly to being able to find and retrieve keys for the recently added Sonic, Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, though keep in mind that they’re just skins, so the controls are exactly the same.

Suffice it to say that once you lose your avatar and are at a comfortable enough speed that you can easily loop-de-loop, then Sonic Speed ​​Simulator starts to feel like a Sonic game, and it turns out to be very good. Of course, the bar is a bit low, given the many glitches Team Sonic has had with its marquee mascot over the past few decades – and having made the wrong decision to dig this out recently, I should know. Not just the surprise of ‘this is an undamaged 3D Sonic game’. It’s a game that nails the simple excitement of being Sonic, running super fast under Sega’s blue skies or bouncing between springs across bright green zones (there are now desert themed and snow-themed worlds, but let’s be honest, Green Hill and Emerald Hill is the most prominent to achieve the nostalgia factor).

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - pop-up reading:
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Tails running towards the camera in the desert level.

Once you’re fast enough to get lay of the land within an hour, mind you, it quickly runs out of steam, as there’s not much else to do – at least nothing exciting. You can jump into obbys (Roblox’s language for obstacles), but they generally consist of very simple platforming challenges that expose the speedster’s weaknesses by navigating platforms in tight spaces – and some of which are mandatory to unlock the next world.

…the logic of progress or purpose is a moot point when traversal actually feels good, certainly a better sight than Sonic’s historical low point…

There’s also an always-on timer that warns you of races you can enter with other players, but it’s literally the same straight-line event that takes place in about 20 seconds. There’s no point in logging in if you’re low level but also too slow to tell if you’re ahead of your competition, and a big part of the reason to take a shoe in several engagements for this ‘metaverse’, including chatting with other players racing around the world or spending your ring on a gacha-style vending machine for cosmetics is like a mess. You’ll also find stalls selling Sonic-themed hats for your avatar using the premium currency of the Robux platform.

Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Knuckles stand facing the camera on a cool level.
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic makes a circular jump between two grassy platforms in a slightly dark canyon.
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic collects rings while running upside down on a rocky surface with green platforms in the background.
Sonic Speed ​​Simulator Review - Sonic stands facing the camera in front of a purple engine at the start of a race high in the clouds.

Indeed, it seems Gamefam is working on updating the game regularly, with at least one more world to come. It’s just that the development is very disappointing, where to go further it is necessary to start from scratch. Basically, when you reach the max level (Level 50 to begin with), you’re given the option of Rebirth, resetting you back to level 1, which also means you’re back at crawling speed, although you still retain all the unlocked cosmetics. The generation that grew up in Fortnite where you always started off with nothing was probably fine with this, and at least leveling up faster with each subsequent rebirth, but I still can’t get over how Sonic has his core appeal castrated each time. Each rebirth at least raises your next maximum level, making you go faster, though a cynic might see that as just dragging out, because the next world only opens up after rebirth – terrible, where the third world requires one rebirth, the fourth one. requires you to have three.

That said, progression or goal logic was a moot point as the traversal actually felt good – certainly a better sight than Sonic’s historical lows – and the grinding almost disappeared as time went on and I realized I was just enjoying running just for the run. This is perhaps the most subtle experience to grace Roblox so far, an easy gateway remedy to tempt newcomers to the platform. For Sonic fans, it’s a glimpse of what might happen with the hedgehog’s future, if this was the goal of Sonic Team’s ‘open zone’ design, albeit with more structure and real challenges. And besides, it’s free – surely it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try?

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