Sonic the Hedgehog has a new game coming subsequent month that pairs his trademark high-speed 3D platforming gameplay with the replayability and discovery of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Sonic Dream Group, developed by Sega’s Hardlight studio, additionally contains a distinctive setting — the tangible desires of Dr. Eggman — and a personality completely new to the Sonic-verse.
Sonic Dream Group, which Polygon performed at a hands-on preview occasion earlier this week, borrows from quite a lot of influences. Its ranges are impressed by skate parks, with grind rails, halfpipes, and pathways that loop round, and the inconceivable dream structure of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Ranges are brightly coloured distillations of Dr. Eggman’s desires, filtered by Sonic’s good friend Cream the Rabbit.
The skate-park-inspired ranges of Sonic Dream Group are constructed in order that gamers will run them a number of instances, and with a number of targets in thoughts. In a few of the ranges I performed, set in the dream worlds generally known as Scrambled Shores and Dream Manufacturing facility, I used to be tasked with discovering keys to unlock new pathways, reaching the aim beneath a time restrict, or monitoring down a hidden object. A degree’s structure will change relying on the aim, and gamers are inspired to revisit ranges once more and once more. Ranges are filled with hidden collectibles, together with blue cash and crimson stars scattered all through.
Some collectibles and areas can solely be reached by sure characters. Sonic the Hedgehog is playable, and his good friend Amy Rose performs identically to the blue blur. Tails, Knuckles, Rouge the Bat, and Cream the Rabbit are additionally unlockable and playable. Knuckles and Rouge can each glide and climb up partitions, giving them entry to areas that different characters can’t attain. The identical is true for Tails and Cream, who can fly round ranges for a quick interval.
The excellent news is that for gamers who wish to gather every part in a degree, they’ll swap between any unlocked character mid-run. The one caveat is that they need to be immobile whereas doing so; you received’t have the ability to fly excessive as Tails and then swap to Rouge mid-flight, for instance.
Sonic Dream Group is just not combat-focused, builders say. As an alternative, the enemies scattered all through ranges are designed to assist gamers preserve their momentum, as they sprint and smash into them utilizing characters’ enhance assaults. The builders wish to put gamers in a stream state, the place they’ll chain collectively jumps, slides, and boosts of velocity to get by ranges easily. The hope is for “loads of replayability” with Dream Group’s short-session ranges, with gamers capturing for 100% completion runs and sooner and sooner instances.
There’s additionally an overarching story in Dream Group, informed by voiced in-game cutscenes. Venerable Sonic unhealthy man Dr. Eggman discovers a dream-catcher-like machine referred to as the Reverie, which Sega describes as “an ancient device with the power to manifest dreams in the real world.” Aiding Sonic and associates in understanding the Reverie’s powers is Ariem — a play on REM sleep — who’s launched in Dream Group as its guardian. Ariem, an anthropomorphic sheep, is an authentic creation of Sonic Dream Group and was created by Hardlight and Sonic Group artist Yuji Uekawa.
Sonic Dream Group is coming to Apple Arcade and shall be playable on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. I performed the game on a Mac Mini at a latest hands-on occasion utilizing a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and discovered the game’s controls snappy and intuitive. Hardlight has performed a great job of creating its very quick Sonic game readable, because of a largely cooperative digicam. I had rather less enjoyable enjoying it on an iPhone utilizing a touchscreen, however I’ve by no means been a fan of digital gamepads on screens.
Sonic’s new self-contained journey arrives on Apple Arcade on Dec. 5. Whether or not it should come to different platforms is unclear, however for the foreseeable future, Sonic Dream Group is unique to Apple’s gaming subscription service.