Looking back over the many iOS games I’ve played this year, Sega’s Sonic Dash is easily the one I’ve spent the most time with. But for all the wrong reasons. Well, kinda.
See, after the initial seven hours or so I invested in order to pen my award-winning review (Best review of Sonic Dash by a Mobot staff member), I invested a further seven hours or so in order to prove a point - and subsequently write this here rant. Time well spent, me. Time well spent.
In my review, I moaned: “Worth mentioning that Sonic Dash has Tails, Knuckles and Amy available as unlockable characters. And, needless to say, it’ll take forever to save up and buy them.”
Well, as my incredibly thorough investigative journalism (ahem) has revealed, no amount of saving will buy you Tails or Knuckles. Baby, I feel a Pulitzer prize coming on.
See, Amy, Tails and Knuckles weigh in at 30, 45 and 60 red star rings respectively, red star rings being Sonic Dash’s secondary currency – in addition to plain (g)old rings.
Plain rings can be used to upgrade various elements, and are scattered throughout the game, so it’s really just a case of putting in the time. That’s par for the course with smartphone games, and while it does take ages to max out your stats, you can pay real money to hurry things along. Nothing new there.
Nah, red star rings are the real crime. The only way to earn them is to level up, which entails completing three Sonic Dash missions. That mightn’t sound particularly terrible, but some of the missions are unbelievably difficult, one of the worst culprits being ‘Lose your rings 20 times in one run’. Gah!
Again, one might argue that it’s simply a case of putting in the time, which is fair enough, but Sonic Dash cheekily offers the option to skip missions by handing over – you guessed it – red star rings.
Doing so makes little to no sense, as you’d effectively be paying – say – eight red star rings in order to skip one mission and ultimately earn three. Did I mention you earn three each time you level up? No I did not.
Anyway! Even if you’re wise enough to hold onto your red star rings (which I admittedly wasn’t the first time I played through, hence playthrough numero deux), there are only 10 sets of missions.
Yep, 10 sets of missions multiplied by three star rings = 30 red star rings in total. THIRTY. Shock to tha mother fugging horror, boyee.
That means you can afford Amy if you complete all the missions and you don’t spend the red star rings on anything else (which Sonic Dash constantly coaxes you into doing).
Tails and Knuckles, on the other hand, are beyond Sonic Dash’s 10-mission budget, meaning you have to buy red star rings. Price? How does £4.99 for a pack of 65 rings grab you? That’s effectively £9.98 to unlock Tails and Knuckles. A tenner!
At this point, it’s worth noting that people will inevitably pay for Tails and Knuckles (pretty sure I saw a guy on the train playing as Tails), and as such Sega is able to sell the app for the slightly reasonable price of £1.49. Without in-game purchasing, it’d inevitably be more expensive.
It’s also worth mentioning that – as far as I’m aware – Tails and Knuckles are merely skins. They don’t change Sonic Dash’s gameplay at all, and as such you’re a massive idiot if you can’t live without them. Like me.
Conclusion: I am an idiot, but £10 to unlock a couple of skins? You’re having a laugh. As a diehard Sega fan (bring on the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter), I’d expect to be able to unlock my old friends with some good old-fashioned gaming.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play as Amy. She’s like Sonic, ‘cept pink. Awesome!