Sonic Jump Review: Genre-Mixing Jumper Offers Some Fun
Sonic the Hedgehog has made quite a presence for himself on iOS, between ports of his classic console titles, the iOS original Sonic 4, and his starring role in Sega All-Stars Racing. Now Sega has added another title, the genre-jumping Sonic Jump. It’s an odd hybrid of Doodle Jump and the classic Sonic titles, but the oddest part about it is how well it mostly works.
Sonic Jump is just that: a jumping game. Sonic starts jumping and doesn’t stop, and it’s your job to navigate him by tilting the screen and making use of a secondary jump power. In Story Mode, you must get to the top of a pre-designed level, learning the best route to earn the most points and achieve an S score. In Arcade mode you get as high as you can on a randomly generating level, more in the Doodle Jump vein.
Personally, I enjoyed Story Mode a little more. Sonic Jump is incorporating a lot of classic elements into the Doodle Jump genre — coins, prize boxes, Badniks, bounce pads, even Dr. Eggman boss levels — and even though you’re trading jumping for Sonic’s trademark running, it mostly works somehow. It shouldn’t, but this feels an awful lot like I’m playing a Sonic the Hedgehog game. The jumping momentum is carrying me ever-upward in much the same way you’re often making speed runs in classic Sonic levels; I have to be mindful of gathering coins (and making sure I’m never without in case I’m hit); I have to dodge Badniks and spikes and other hazards; and in the end I get to fight one of Eggman’s technological machines to release my animal friends.
Arcade Mode is still fun, but without the goal of Story Mode, I don’t think the elements work together quite as well. In fact, when my only goal is to get as high as I can, some of the more console-themed elements, like coin collecting, seem a little pointless, while some of the hazards (and the random boss appearances) get downright annoying. I almost wish they’d stripped Arcade Mode down a little bit and made is purer endless jump game.
Sonic Jump also has a goal and leveling system, which always adds replayability, and for the most part the goals they set are pretty achievable with some effort. As you level, you also unlock bonus items that you can purchase with coins and use to help you in-game.
One of the bonuses for leveling up in Sonic Jump is the unlocking of new characters, specifically Knuckles and Tails. But the level goal for unlocking them is extremely high and will demand a lot of your playing time to achieve. Shockingly, there’s no way to purchase these characters via IAP, which seems to me a poor choice; I would have loved to have gotten both characters to play with. You can purchase coins to skip missions, which will help you level, but I don’t like purchasing in-app currency; I want to buy Knuckles!
Sonic Jump actually reminded me of another recent genre-mixing release: Rayman Jungle Run. Both show that these aging console characters can not only find new life on iOS, but find unexpected life in new genres. Sonic Jump is a pretty good game, and if you’ve got some love of either the Sonic franchise or the endless jump genre, you might find yourself really enjoying it.
Our score: 4 out of 5