Monday, May 12, 2014

Sonic Dash: offputting microtransactions

Sonic Dash may be the best Sonic game for years - in that it's not trying to be anything other than a fast run through scenery.  It's an endless runner, with controls which match Sonic's standard abilities - jumping in a ball, rolling in a ball, and running fast.  You have to jump over, roll under or dodge obstacles, and roll into enemies to kill them.  From time to time there's an easy boss battle.

There's a bit of added complexity which sits behind the main game.  By completing missions, which vary from simple things like "collect 200 rings in a game" to difficult things like "avoid rings for 1000m", you can build up the multiplier applied to your score.  You can also double the multiplier by filling up the dash meter (the bar in the bottom-right, filled by collecting rings) and not activating it.  By doing this I now have an X38 multiplier, and my high score is 997,000 (compared to the next highest on my friends list of 67,000).

One thing to note that I couldn't find elsewhere on the Internet - one of the missions is to "use 5 revives in one run" which I assumed meant that you had to revive Sonic five times; since the number of tokens required doubles each time I assumed this meant I'd need 31 tokens.  Instead, the mission completed when I revived for the third time, which was annoying after I'd been saving up revive tokens for two weeks.

There are other bits to the game as well.  Over Easter there was a special event whereby collecting eggs randomly placed throughout the levels let you earn additional unlockables.  I managed to collect about 220 eggs over the period, which meant that I unlocked Cream the Rabbit.  Yes, real name.

So, all rosy.  The downside to the game is that it's full of microtransaction rubbish, where you spend rings to get new characters or upgrades, and collecting the rings in-game takes ages so you feel like spending real money to get more rings.  And it's not as if it's really hidden.

It's odd, I would happily have paid a few pounds for this game given how well it works and its production values, but I won't spend 69p on virtual currency in the game even though I got the whole game for free.  They're making significantly less money from me.

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