App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Sonny is a bit of a cult classic series of games. Initially released through Armor Games as flash titles that can still currently be played in your browser, they are role-playing games that focus heavily on a deceptively deep turn-based combat system. The mobile release of Sonny on iOS isn't a remake of these flash games, nor is it a sequel. Sonny is more of a reimagining of the original games, complete with new sets of abilities, a nice art style, and laser focus on the combat that made the first games beloved.
In Sonny, players take control of a hero of the same name in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. In sort of a bizarre twist on traditional zombie fiction, the game begins with Sonny turning into a zombie. Instead of becoming a mindless monster, Sonny actually retains some sense of sentience thanks to a mysterious injection. From here, it's up to players to fight their way through all sorts of zombies and military forces to discover the truth behind his mysterious past.
If you've played the previous flash games, you'll notice some familiar plot points and characters, but not much of that really matters. Most of Sonny really focuses on preparing for and fighting battle after battle to make it through the game's eight zones.
Sonny is structured into levels, which consist solely of waves of turn-based combat encounters. You'll start just with taking turns between Sonny and his foes, but you'll also end up gathering a few party members along the way.
Combat operates a lot like classic Japanese role-playing games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII. Each character has a timer that fills up before allowing them to take actions, which can vary anywhere from basic attacks to defensive and support abilities.
Though it is a pretty straightforward system, the combat in Sonny gets deeply strategic very quickly thanks to the sheer breadth of abilities that players can unlock and use as they level up. It also helps that Sonny's difficulty is such that careful training and re-allocation of ability points is necessary to get through a lot of the game.
As deep as Sonny's combat is, its sole focus on it wore a little thin on me over time. Between combat, there are opportunities to equip your party with new loot or re-spec your abilities, but beyond that, there is little to discover beyond your next fight.
Part of the reason I tired of it probably had to do with how flatly animated Sonny is. Despite having some nice art, nothing in the game really animates to bring the characters to life. Some fights also felt like they took a little too long to win, which can be frustrating, particularly if you have to try them a few times before you pass. This will likely happen to you often since you don't always know what to expect going into a fight unless you've already attempted it before.
The bottom line
Sonny does a good job of delivering on the combat from its flash-based predecessors, but doesn't do much more than that. This could make it a quality purchase for fans of tough, turn-based combat. For me though, Sonny's combat seems a little too punishing and the rest of it feels a bit lacking to really feel satisfying.