Author Topic: Hell is Playing a Sonic game in 2024  (Read 874 times)

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Offline Evan_B

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Hell is Playing a Sonic game in 2024
« on: April 02, 2024, 12:54:42 AM »
Why.

Why.

Why do I do this to myself? It's past the point of morbid curiosity by now- it has to be putrefied curiosity, or perhaps, post-mortem curiosity. Or maybe I'm just a cheap sick loser who saw Sonic Superstars on sale for 25 bucks and, after hearing the mild response it received in the form of "uh, yeah, don't get it full price but it's okay I suppose," I decided to test fate once again and throw myself into the realm of kusoge masking as some legacy franchise.

But you see, in subjecting myself to yet another form of torture, I have come out stronger. I know that Sonic can no longer hurt me. Every attempt at a new innovative 3D platforming style has failed, spectacularly, but I still held out hope for 2D Sonic. Even though Sonic Mania was frankly just kind of okay, I believed in my heart of hearts that Sonic Team could take a good hard look at what people liked from that game and maybe implement it in a new Sonic title.

So what did people like in Sonic Mania?

  • Good Art Style?
  • Good Music?
  • Clearly Defined Level Gimmicks?
  • A Lack of Pinball Mechanics every two goddamn seconds?

Sonic Superstars has none of these things. And now I know that I will never play a Sonic the Hedgehog game again.

I'm so tired of bad Mega Drive synths being used for nostalgia bait. I'm so tired of 90s zigzags and primary color menu screens. I have never cared about Fang the Sniper, and after playing this game, I never will care about Fang the Sniper. But I just can't stand the idea of spectacle over control any more.

Sonic Superstars allows you to play as "the gang," which should baffle those of us old enough to remember when Sega made a big deal about Sonic being the only playable character in Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Hey, that was garbage too, but how is Sonic Superstars in comparison? Well, it's better. Sonic actually moves like he did in the old game, which isn't like, a huge feat considering some guy managed to do it several years ago. But There's tiny little changes to other members of the cast that make this game harder to control and enjoy, though. It's weird stuff that maybe only someone who is a psychopath that played Sonic 3 and Knuckles a lot. As a big Knuckles fan, I was disappointed.

There are a few things that piss me off about Sonic Superstars. First of all, the art style is plasticky in a similar vein to New Super Mario Bros., but those games had good level design. The revolutionary new zones are all pretty awful thematically, and arguably remixes of classic level themes. Like, Mania had a train. It had a newsprint garden. It had a funky 90's themed music city. This game has... an island. A jungle. An ice. A FUCKING PINBALL "Carnival" but it's just Casino Night- apparently this gets spooky in act 2 but since the graphics have no sense of personality, it was barely noticeable. The utter lack of effort in making inventive level themes is insane.

I mean, I'm just going to go off on the art style for a second, because I cannot believe Sonic Mania beats this game from a visual standpoint. How are we living in a world where Sonic's brand has multiple excellent cases of animation formats and this is the art style they choose for the latest 2D platformer? It's definitely indicative of the developer's previous works, but I had a section planned for a dramatic reveal later in this rant, so I'm not going to mention them here. Oh, and speaking of aesthetic inconsistency, how do you make a Sonic game WHERE NONE OF THE MUSIC IS GOOD?! Sound design as a whole is migraine-inducing.

The level gimmicks in this game are always annoying because they slow things down or are just poorly designed. Some are literally worse versions of gimmicks that have existed in older games- there's rocket sections that you can't control, there's drilling sections with rocks in the sand meant to... slow you down? There's slippy slides that make you... slippy slide. There's one gimmick in zone called Press Factory that felt unique- where the floor continuously bounces you in timed intervals- but these are the rare exception in a sea of just... bland ****. But for each new gimmick and idea, there's something that has already been done, and likely even better. Too many of these gimmicks result in auto-running sequences, which is the antithesis of fun- I like when I build up speed in classic Sonic games because launching myself off of a ramp whenever I wanted was a thrilling unknown- would I even end up in a part of the level that was functional? Old Sonic games actually accounted for this. Superstars does not.

Oh, the stages are also like, seven minutes long. I hate it.

Special/bonus stages! Hey, you want to stop playing a mediocre platformer and instead play some of the most aggravating special stages ever? Okay, let's reach into the old nostalgia bag and see which one we're- what's that? Everyone loves blue spheres? Everyone would gladly do more blue spheres? There's rarely a new special mode that's better than blue spheres? Oh, let's bring back the rotating mazes from Sonic 1 that sucked and give them more cheap gimmicks and then create a web-slinging emerald chase game that is never explained thoroughly in any way and is extremely frustrating! Whoo!

What's worse is that, if you fail the rotating mazes, you just keep doing the same one over and over. And you might say "well, that way you can practice them and get better!" They are not fun. They give you a bad in-game currency that you can use to by costumes, because apparently that's why people play Sonic games.

"But what about the Emerald Powers, Evan? I was promised Emerald Powers! I deserve Emerald Powers!" They too are also bad, and because the stage design is so bad, developer Arzest (of Yoshi's New Island fame!) decided to telegraph when exactly you should use them, because they also only recharge every time you hit a goalpost checkpoint so god forbid you want to experiment with them all over. Oh, also many of them are stupid and highly situational and once activated will help you complete a very simple challenge and then they will last entirely too long. Like, sometimes the telegraphed "use (x) Emerald Power here!" indicator pops up, you use the power, and you just... get a medal. The only challenge was actively selecting one of these tools. God, it sucks so bad.

I should mention that you get about 3-5 second of inactivity when you transition from a special/bonus stage, which is a minor inconvenience that really adds up.

The bosses. Dear god, where to begin? Some are painfully long, some have weaknesses that utilize mechanics that are never telegraphed throughout the entire fight, and some will just... kill you randomly for no reason. I'll be honest, the malice that fuels this rant was started by a mini-boss in Golden Capital, which is a giant rampaging piggy bank that... steals all of your rings at the start of the battle. I'm sorry, what? Why would you do that? How is that fun? Every obstacle it throws at you can just instantly kill you. Since so many bosses have brief periods of vulnerability, also, and the game is really bad at letting you know which bosses this applies to and which do not. See, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze got away with having long, insane boss battles because it was a good game. Sonic Superstars is not.

I did not finish Sonic Frontiers because, at a certain point, I knew what the rest of the game would be, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies would not allow me to do anything less than clear each of the game's bad open-zones of all their collectibles. I frankly thought that would be a waste of my time. But I just stopped playing Sonic Superstars because I wasn't having fun. Like, I don't need to be good at a game in order to have fun- I beat the entirety of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and got my ass handed to me the entire time. I played Sonic Colors and was happy to return to stages because they were small and short and offered easily telegraphed goals.

I just gave up. I have no will to continue. If Sega refuses to put any effort into Sonic games, why should I?

It's funny that Sonic Superstars came out the same year as Super Mario Bros. Wonder, because I have done everything in my power to avoid playing both of them because I wasn't sure I could justify a 60 dollar platformer. But I know deep in my soul that I would probably feel better after playing Wonder at full price much more than Superstars at 25 bucks. But that's just a theory- a game etc. etc.

I gotta end this review on a banger zinger like last year's review. Dear god, I can't believe I did this same thing last year. Uh, okay, here it goes:

Play Toree 3D, Toree 2, Toree Genesis, or the upcoming Toree Saturn. They understand Sonic the Hedgehog better than anything Sega has put out in the last decade.

**** this.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2024, 10:50:49 AM by Evan_B »
I am a toxic person engaging in toxic behavior.

Offline Dinar87

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Re: Hell is Playing a Sonic game in 2024
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2024, 05:19:08 AM »
Why.

Why.

Why do I do this to myself? It's past the point of morbid curiosity at this point- it has to be putrefied curiosity, or perhaps, post-mortem curiosity. Or maybe I'm just a cheap sick loser who saw Sonic Superstars on sale for 25 bucks and, after hearing the mild response it received in the form of "uh, yeah, don't get it full price but it's okay I suppose," I decided to test fate once again and throw myself into the realm of kusoge masking as some legacy franchise.

But you see, in subjecting myself to yet another form of torture, I have come out stronger. I know that Sonic can no longer hurt me. Every attempt at a new innovative 3D platforming style has failed, spectacularly, but I still held out hope for 2D Sonic. Even though Sonic Mania was frankly just kind of okay, I believed in my heart of hearts that Sonic Team could take a good hard look at what people liked from that game and maybe implement it in a new Sonic title.

So what did people like in Sonic Mania?

  • Good Art Style?
  • Good Music?
  • Clearly Defined Level Gimmicks?
  • A Lack of Pinball Mechanics every two goddamn seconds?

Sonic Superstars has none of these things. And now I know that I will never play a Sonic the Hedgehog game again.

I'm so tired of bad Mega Drive synths being used for nostalgia bait. I'm so tired of 90s zigzags and primary color menu screens. I have never cared about Fang the Sniper, and after playing this game, I never will care about Fang the Sniper. But I just can't stand the idea of spectacle over control any more.

Sonic Superstars allows you to play as "the gang," which should baffle those of us old enough to remember when Sega made a big deal about Sonic being the only playable character in Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Hey, that was garbage too, but how is Sonic Superstars in comparison? Well, it's better. Sonic actually moves like he did in the old game, which isn't like, a huge feat considering some guy managed to do it several years ago. But There's tiny little changes to other members of the cast that make this game harder to control and enjoy, though. It's weird stuff that maybe only someone who is a psychopath that played Sonic 3 and Knuckles a lot. As a big Knuckles fan, I was disappointed.

There are a few things that piss me off about Sonic Superstars. First of all, the art style is plasticky in a similar vein to New Super Mario Bros., but those games had good level design. The revolutionary new zones are all pretty awful thematically, and arguably remixes of classic level themes. Like, Mania had a train. It had a newsprint garden. It had a funky 90's themed music city. This game has... an island. A jungle. An ice. A FUCKING PINBALL "Carnival" but it's just Casino Night- apparently this gets spooky in act 2 but since the graphics have no sense of personality, it was barely noticeable. The utter lack of effort in making inventive level themes is insane.

I mean, I'm just going to go off on the art style for a second, because I cannot believe Sonic Mania beats this game from a visual standpoint. How are we living in a world where Sonic's brand has multiple excellent cases of animation formats and this is the art style they choose for the latest 2D platformer? It's definitely indicative of the developer's previous works, but I had a section planned for a dramatic reveal later in this rant, so I'm not going to mention them here. Oh, and speaking of aesthetic inconsistency, how do you make a Sonic game WHERE NONE OF THE MUSIC IS GOOD?! Sound design as a whole is migraine-inducing.

The level gimmicks in this game are always annoying because they slow things down or are just poorly designed. Some are literally worse versions of gimmicks that have existed in older games- there's rocket sections that you can't control, there's drilling sections with rocks in the sand meant to... slow you down? There's slippy slides that make you... slippy slide. There's one gimmick in zone called Press Factory that felt unique- where the floor continuously bounces you in timed intervals- but these are the rare exception in a sea of just... bland ****. But for each new gimmick and idea, there's something that has already been done, and likely even better. Too many of these gimmicks result in auto-running sequences, which is the antithesis of fun- I like when I build up speed in classic Sonic games because launching myself off of a ramp whenever I wanted was a thrilling unknown- would I even end up in a part of the level that was functional? Old Sonic games actually accounted for this. Superstars does not.

Oh, the stages are also like, seven minutes long. I hate it.

Special/bonus stages! Hey, you want to stop playing a mediocre platformer and instead play some of the most aggravating special stages ever? Okay, let's reach into the old nostalgia bag and see which one we're- what's that? Everyone loves blue spheres? Everyone would gladly do more blue spheres? There's rarely a new special mode that's better than blue spheres? Oh, let's bring back the rotating mazes from Sonic 1 that sucked and give them more cheap gimmicks and then create a web-slinging emerald chase game that is never explained thoroughly in any way and is extremely frustrating! Whoo!

What's worse is that, if you fail the rotating mazes, you just keep doing the same one over and over. And you might say "well, that way you can practice them and get better!" They are not fun. They give you a bad in-game currency that you can use to by costumes, because apparently that's why people play Sonic games.

"But what about the Emerald Powers, Evan? I was promised Emerald Powers! I deserve Emerald Powers!" They too are also bad, and because the stage design is so bad, developer Arzest (of Yoshi's New Island fame!) decided to telegraph when exactly you should use them, because they also only recharge every time you hit a goalpost checkpoint so god forbid you want to experiment with them all over. Oh, also many of them are stupid and highly situational and once activated will help you complete a very simple challenge and then they will last entirely too long. Like, sometimes the telegraphed "use (x) Emerald Power here!" indicator pops up, you use the power, and you just... get a medal. The only challenge was actively selecting one of these tools. God, it sucks so bad.

I should mention that you get about 3-5 second of inactivity when you transition from a special/bonus stage, which is a minor inconvenience that really adds up.

The bosses. Dear god, where to begin? Some are painfully long, some have weaknesses that utilize mechanics that are never telegraphed throughout the entire fight, and some will just... kill you randomly for no reason. I'll be honest, the malice that fuels this rant was started by a mini-boss in Golden Capital, which is a giant rampaging piggy bank that... steals all of your rings at the start of the battle. I'm sorry, what? Why would you do that? How is that fun? Every obstacle it throws at you can just instantly kill you. Since so many bosses have brief periods of vulnerability, also, and the game is really bad at letting you know which bosses this applies to and which do not. See, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze got away with having long, insane boss battles because it was a good game. Sonic Superstars is not.

I did not finish Sonic Frontiers because, at a certain point, I knew what the rest of the game would be, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies would not allow me to do anything less than clear each of the game's bad open-zones of all their collectibles. I frankly thought that would be a waste of my time. But I just stopped playing Sonic Superstars because I wasn't having fun. Like, I don't need to be good at a game in order to have fun- I beat the entirety of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and got my ass handed to me the entire time. I played Sonic Colors and was happy to return to stages because they were small and short and offered easily telegraphed goals.

I just gave up. I have no will to continue. If Sega refuses to put any effort into Sonic games, why should I?

It's funny that Sonic Superstars came out the same year as Super Mario Bros. Wonder, because I have done everything in my power to avoid playing both of them because I wasn't sure I could justify a 60 dollar platformer. But I know deep in my soul that I would probably feel better after playing Wonder at full price much more than Superstars at 25 bucks. But that's just a theory- a game etc. etc.

I gotta end this review on a banger zinger like last year's review. Dear god, I can't believe I did this same thing last year. Uh, okay, here it goes:

Play Toree 3D, Toree 2, Toree Genesis, or the upcoming Toree Saturn. They understand Sonic the Hedgehog better than anything Sega has put out in the last decade.

**** this.

As a huge sonic mania fan, I did not buy sonic superstars. Bad music, bad art style and graphics (somehow looking worse than gens classic sonic back from 2011??), bad pacing with some zones only having one act, the boss battles.

Not to mention Izuka calling pixel art "outdated"

I'm happy it sold badly.