Sonic Rivals review

Pick a hedgehog and race him 'til he's dead

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    fast racing

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    Energetic tunes

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    Versus mode


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    Slower bits

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    Insipid story

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    Unlocking everything

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It's been a pretty sad anniversary for Sonic the Hedgehog. Nearly every game carrying the "15 years of proud service" badge has been a steaming pile (by our count, only Sonic Rush is worth the cash), and the latest title, the 3D adventure game on PS3 and 360, is the worst yet. Thus, it's a little hard to expect much out of a simple, side-scrolling racer featuring Sonic and his fleet footed pals.

But ironically, it's Sonic Rivals' simplicity that makes the best Sonic game in a year. With nothing to do but run through loops, corkscrews, catapults and icicle-spewing caverns, the focus is totally on sweat-dripping gameplay. No crazy side missions, no hard-to-navigate worlds, none of that junk. Just you, your spiky-haired rival and the rollercoaster course laid before you.

Rivals plays just like the classic Genesis titles (or the Game Boy Advance ones, if you're a little younger). Just run, run, run to the end of each act as fast as possible, grabbing power-ups, rings and soaking in the sights of Sonic's colorful world. The twist here is that now you've gotta do it before someone else makes it there first. It's such a stupidly minute addition, really, but knowing Knuckles, Shadow or Silver is coming up on your tail really makes you want to step on it. And with multiple paths to the finish line, there are plenty of opportunities to cut ahead of your rival racer or dish out some fist-in-face punishment from behind. A wide range of offensive and defensive power-ups make the back-and-forth racing even more intense - too bad they couldn't be a bit more diverse.

More info

DescriptionThe best Sonic game of 2006 is ironically the one that plays like one from 10 years ago. If you know how to hold right, you'll have fun with this competitive racer.
US censor rating"Everyone"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.