Developer: Sega
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sonic Jump is an endless ascension game from Sega featuring everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. First up, yes, it doesn’t make much sense why this is a vertical game and not a horizontal endless runner a la Jetpack Joyride or the promising Sonic the Sketchhog minigame in the Sonic 20th Anniversary app last year. Even a 3D endless runner like Temple Run would be a good idea, though those auto-running Wii Sonic games were rather regrettable. So maybe let’s not do that. But it seems like an auto-jumping game would be the last idea anyone would have for a Sonic game, right? Well, apparently this title has its origins in a pre-iOS mobile game also called Sonic Jump that has a similar concept, though the levels here are brand new.

And that’s where the problem with this game lies: as an endless jumper, this game would have felt really cool back in 2008 or 2009. But it’s 2012 now, almost 2013, and the Doodle Jump style is played out as a lot of the good ideas have been used up, and we’ve moved on to other ways to get our never-ending game fix. It feels old, and like a by-the-numbers proposition, not a fun and creative endeavor.

It’s also pretty mediocre as a Sonic game. Sure, there are rings, familiar powerups, and classic enemies to bop, but it just doesn’t feel like Sonic. This is particularly true when realizing that since Sonic loses his spinning jump after a second or two in the air, the player has to generally kill enemies from below, not from above. Sonic games are all about bopping enemies on the head! It’s just wrong! It does a lousy job at fan service, too: the three worlds, available in both level-based story mode and an endless arcade mode, are cheap facsimilies of previous games, not the actual thing. It would have gone a long way if I was jumping through Green Hill Zone with the original music, and if the jungle level was actually Acquatic Ruins from Sonic 2, for example. There’s so much potential even in the ill-fitting endless jumper concept that goes unrealized.

And that’s the game’s biggest sin, is that it feels like a lost opportunity. Of all the ways to do an endless Sonic game, this is it? Really? Pretty much the only lesson that should be taken from it is that it at least has consumable powerups that are cheap enough to buy with collected rings that they actually can become an integral part of gameplay, not just a plaything for the rich. Beyond that, this is a disappointingly pedestrian game.

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