Sonic Dream Team review: the hedgehog’s latest adventure has momentum

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Sonic dashes abroad from a backtalk in Sonic Dream Team.

“The fun, abrupt Sonic Dream Team ability aloof authority the blueprints for the hedgehog's future.”


  • Great animation look
  • Snappy movement
  • Easy to apprentice controls
  • Very replayable levels


  • Finnicky camera
  • Over aloof as it starts accepting creative
  • Recycled challenges

Sonic the Hedgehog games alive and die on one word: momentum.

The series’ best amateur bead players in agenda action parks abounding of interweaving attractions and let them advisedly jump from ride to ride after demography their bottom off the gas. By contrast, its weakest entries clutter those worlds with stop signs. The added players are affected to apathetic down, whether by architecture or adventitious bugs, the beneath fun it is. “Gotta go fast” isn’t aloof a abrupt catchphrase; it’s an acute for the series.

Sonic Dream Team, a new Apple Arcade exclusive 3D platformer, understands the accent of momentum. That makes absolute faculty back attractive at its developer, Sega Hardlight. The flat is best accepted for Sonic Dash, a adaptable amaranthine agent that’s still affective 10 years afterwards its launch. Uninterrupted motion is a call in that appellation and I can feel Sega Hardlight’s adaptation aptitude at comedy in its latest game. It’s bent to accomplish abiding players never stop boosting, zipping amid rails, and smashing through enemies to accumulate the affray rolling. That’s absolutely the affectionate of cerebration the start-and-stop Sonic alternation needs appropriate now.

Though it ends aloof as it’s accepting into its top gear, Sonic Dream Team is a astute administration for the ever-changing series. It’s not addition abolitionist reinvention nor a annoyed homesickness act, but a acutely advised Sonic adventitious that puts abrupt 3D platforming at the forefront. If annihilation else, it’s a acknowledged audience for a developer who seems best able to booty the series’ reins affective forward.

A platforming dream

In Sonic Dream Team, the awful Doctor Eggman harnesses the ability of dreams to assemble his own angry empire. Sonic and Amy Rose aggregation up with a new appearance called Ariem (pronounced REM … get it?) to antithesis his plan and save Sonic’s kidnapped pals in the process. It’s a simple abundant adventure mostly told through motion banana cutscenes, but the small-scale presentation delivers added than some of its animate counterparts. It includes abounding articulation acting, some abundant tunes, and a affable animation art appearance – all of which accomplish it angle out abutting to the afresh released Sonic Superstars.

The absolute meat of the adventitious comes in Sega Hardlight’s access to fast-paced platforming, an across area the studio’s amaranthine agent roots go to acceptable use. Each of its 12 capital stages (on top of four easy, but fun bang-up stages) are glassy and accessible to cross but alarm aback to the akin architecture of 3D abstract like Sonic Heroes. They’re beeline stages, but with several aberration routes at anniversary about-face that adumbrate collectible bill and stars. Some levels accept me bent amid bullwork balustrade and homing into a band of enemies to ability an aeriform path. More artistic ones comedy with gravity; my admired date includes a area area I’m aback active up a annular bank while jumping to abstain obstacles.

It’s the best connected and reliable that movement has acquainted in a Sonic bold in absolutely some time.

While none of that is abnormal for the series, the key to Dream Team’s success is in its movement. Sonic and aggregation can birr bound amid obstacles acknowledgment to some simple and abrupt controls that accomplish abiding players consistently acreage area they intend. When I jump appear a rail, I can columnist the homing advance button to automatically lock on to it and zip over. That’s additionally advantageous for bashing into enemies, animation pads, and more. It’s the best connected and reliable that movement has acquainted in a Sonic bold in absolutely some time.

It’s bright that Sega Hardlight doesn’t appetite players to apathetic bottomward and it knows how to abutment that idea. Each appearance has a addition beat which gives them a acting access of acceleration back pressed. Boost ability can be regained by avaricious rows of activity (laid out in curve aloof like rings) and smashing enemies. When I’m absolutely bound in, I can accumulate chaining calm activity sources after anytime demography my bottom off the gas. Levels go by in aloof a few blood-tingling account as a result, authoritative them the absolute breadth for quick on-the-go sessions.

Sonic grinds on a abuse in Sonic Dream Team.Sega

As is the case with best avant-garde Sonic games, there’s one added gameplay gimmick, but it’s abundant added adroit than article like Sonic Superstars’ adeptness system. There are six playable characters in total: Sonic, Amy, Knuckles, Rouge, Tails, and Cream. They accept three different abilities amid them, which can be acclimated to ability alternating paths on anniversary level. Sonic and Amy can ablaze birr on rows of rings, while Tails and Cream can use their cape to fly upwards for a abbreviate time. The best of the agglomeration are Knuckles and Rouge, who can both ascend up walls and coast in the air. Each appearance gives players a acceptable acumen to epitomize levels in adjustment to coursing bottomward hidden bill or acquisition alike faster routes to the accomplishment line.

It isn’t after some imperfections. The 3D camera can be adamantine to tame, abnormally back ambidextrous with Tails and Cream’s vertical gameplay. Some levels accommodate abbreviate $.25 of accurate belvedere bent that apathetic bottomward the clip a bit. And with a adventure that’s over in a quick four hours, it feels like I’m alone accepting an addition to some of its added artistic akin architecture ideas. Even with those issues, Sega Hardlight proves that it isn’t a ancillary flat that should be larboard on aftereffect duty. It doesn’t overthink the simple amusement of active fast, creating a alternation of adaptable skateparks that are consistently acceptable to run through.

Reasons to appear back

Though the capital adventure is over in a flash, Sonic Dream Team finds added means to accumulate players logging in. Between collectible statues apart through achievements and a accomplished agglomeration of hidden bill in every level, those who adulation a acceptable platforming collect-a-thon will accept a fair aggregate to dig aback into afterwards credits. The added appearance admiral advice those replays break beginning a few added times too as there’s consistently an added drop of routes to discover.

The 12 levels alpha to feel dried afterwards a while with all the revisiting …

Sega Hardlight tries to clasp a lot of added abstract out of a baby drop of levels with alloyed results. The best aggressive best is a Super Mario 64-like structure, which gives anniversary akin a set of added objectives. Completing one unlocks an orb and anniversary new date can alone be apart by accepting a assertive amount. Those added missions comedy to Dream Team’s strengths, as abounding assignment players with speedrunning through a akin in a assertive aggregate of time or antagonism through checkpoints to accumulate a timer going. It’s in those moments area I’m antagonism adjoin the alarm area I can feel aloof how bound the movement is, acceptance me to base appear the end of a akin after stopping.

Drawing on its adaptable account roots, Dream Team additionally contains a approach alleged Tails’ Challenges, which gives players bristles benefit objectives every week. Each grants credibility that alleviate new statues and players are denticulate in levels and placed on a leaderboard. It’s a nice added for aggressive players, admitting it seems as admitting the challenges mostly recycle ones from the abject game. The 12 levels alpha to feel dried afterwards a while with all the revisiting, but it sounds as admitting Sega Hardlight is able to accumulate afterlight the bold for a bit. If it can gradually add new stages over time that widen the claiming pool, it could accord the flat the best appendage it seeks.

Cream flies through a akin in Sonic Dream Team.Sega

Sonic admirers may be tempted to skip Dream Team due to its Apple Arcade exclusivity and that’s barefaced because how ablaze it is at present. Those who do accept a subscription, though, will acquisition a baby adapt for a acknowledged 3D Sonic game. Fast movement, abrupt controls, and an accent on alteration over claiming accomplish it one of the few avant-garde installments that doesn’t appear with some sigh-inducing gameplay caveat. For the aboriginal time back Sonic Mania, it feels like Sega has some absolute drive with Sonic Dream Team. I alone accessible it keeps antagonism bottomward this alley instead of slamming the brakes and accelerating bottomward yet addition offramp.

Sonic Dream Team was activated on an iPhone with both blow controls and a Backbone controller.

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