The world’s most famous hedgehog is back for another adventure in Sonic Frontiers. Developed by Sonic Team and published by SEGA, this brand-new game is a massive leap for the franchise. Sonic Frontiers takes Sonic into the future of 3D action games with an all-new playable world map, while paying homage to previous, beloved Sonic titles.
Sonic Frontiers Details
Platform(s): PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Reviewed On: Xbox Series X
Developer(s): Sonic Team
Mode(s): Single player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
A new adventure that is set in the mysterious Starfall Islands
In Sonic Frontiers, Sonic and his friends embark on a journey to the Starfall Islands in search of the Chaos Emeralds. However, they crash and become separated. Along the way, they encounter the familiar villain Dr. Robotnik, as well as a mysterious new character who helps him.
The game’s story is a blend of melancholic and humorous moments, with a strong emphasis on the series’ trademark humour in scenes between Sonic and Knuckles. The open world of Starfall Islands is different from any previous Sonic games, and as you explore, you’ll discover the past of these lands and the inhabitants who once lived there. The game’s story progresses through flashbacks as you try to uncover the mystery of what happened to the Starfall inhabitants and makes it easy to follow.
Sonic’s first open-zone, action-adventure game
Frontier’s gameplay is a lot of fun, with endless grind rails, loops, and edges leading to big jumps. Sonic Team did a great job with how Sonic controls and the game’s menu offers several settings for speed, start-up, sensitivity, and more. This means you can tailor Sonic’s running to your liking.
Sonic Frontiers features a new dimension called Cyber Space with 2D and 3D levels. This is an alternate dimension, which you access through special gates using portal gears collected in the game. Sonic fans will reconize some of the environments in Cyber Space with the return of classic Sonic levels such as Green Hill Zone, recreated with updated graphics and mechanics.
As mentioned above, not all levels in Cyber Space are 2D. Some follow the 3D formula of previous Sonic games like Sonic Forces. The handling and controls in these levels are similar to other 3D Sonic games, with the ability to change lanes and perform jumps and attacks.
You must strategically combine Sonic’s abilities to defeat enemies
As you progress through Starfall Islands, you’ll gain points which can be used to unlock new abilities from a skill tree. These abilities include the power to throw sonic waves, a spin cycle kick that gradually rises upwards and the ability to parry enemy attacks.
Along with basic run and dodge skills, you must strategically combine Sonic’s abilities to expand combos and defeat enemies. The skill tree is not overly large, so any abilities unlocked make a significant impact in gameplay and are not just stat boosts.
Additionally, you can increase Sonic’s attack, defense, speed and ring limit by collecting Koco scattered throughout the world. You also have the option to swap speed and ring stats at any time for big boss battles.
Another new gameplay feature is the Cyloop ability, which is a glowing blue streak left behind by Sonic. By completing a circle, you’ll damage any enemy enclosed within it or pull rings and items from the ground. The Cyloop can also be used to solve puzzles, and it’s a versatile mechanic that can be easily combined with other abilities.
As you explore the various islands of Starfall, you must face off against simple enemies, mini-bosses, and a large Titan to collect keys and Chaos Emeralds in order to empower Sonic to take on the Titans as Super Sonic.
As Super Sonic, you’ll unleash powerful attacks and fly to take on Titans. However, you must be careful why fighting Titans as your ring collection depletes during battle. Upgrading to a higher ring limit and entering the battle with the maximum number of rings can help. Each Titan has its own unique theme and the battles are intense. The mini-bosses, however, require more strategy as players must figure out how to reach their weak points and avoid losing rings. One hit with zero rings means death and starting over.
Sonic Frontiers is a bold departure from the norm
Sonic Frontiers is a bold departure from the norm for the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Sega took a risk by trying something new, but it seems to have paid off. The game is a fresh take on a series that has explored many avenues, and it presents a 3D Sonic experience with smooth mechanics and handling.
While the story may not appeal to everyone, I found it enjoyable. Despite some issues, particularly with the camera, the game does so many things well that it is still an enjoyable experience overall.