Sonic has had quite the year, including a brand new 2D platformer in Sonic Superstars and substantial updates throughout 2023 for Sonic Frontiers. But the blue blur isn’t done yet, dropping the surprise release of a full-on 3D platformer for Apple devices called Sonic Dream Team.
Sonic Dream Team Gameplay Impressions/Overview
Sonic Dream Team, developed by seasoned Sonic mobile developer SEGA Hardlight, has Sonic and friends venturing through four zones and trying to stop Eggman from realizing his dream of world conquest. One has to ask; how do you adapt a 3D Sonic game, a style of game that even on traditional platforms doesn’t always land without a few bruises, to a touch screen device? With many years working with touchscreen devices, SEGA Hardlight is more than up for the task.
Hardlight impressively answers this by having one of the most polished 3D Sonic releases in quite some time. Sonic and friends all have the same core moveset; running, jumping and boosting (with said boosting letting you run up walls and perform Tony Hawk-esc tricks on half-pipes). The main difference is that the six playable characters all have a unique type; speed, power, and flight.
The controls themselves are solid. Players have various options for touchscreen controls and full controller support for Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, and PS5 controllers. When using the touch screen, movement feels responsive and the virtual buttons work with no issue.
From my time with the game, I was able to use all three of the different types. Speed types have a jump dash ability that lets you get more distance when in the air and the Light Speed Dash to travel across trails of rings. Flying types allow you to fly for a short time, with that time extending if you fly through rings in the air. Power types let you glide and climb up special walls.
It reminds me of Sonic Heroes and how each team member offered something different to level exploration. Due to the game’s nature as a mobile game, it doesn’t have nearly the same level of depth as Sonic Heroes in this regard. But being so streamlined offers a fun, arcade-like feel to the experience.
Regarding who is playable, it’s not just the crew from Frontiers and Superstars. Rouge the Bat and Cream the Rabbit are playable as well. While they don’t play differently from Knuckles or Tails respectively, as a fan of the series it is wonderful to see dormant characters come back again.
Presentation and Performance
The presentation is by far the most impressive element of the package. Sonic Dream Team having a simple art style with the animation work on display being very expressive is pheno. Sonic is a cartoon character, so he and his friends being expressive is always a treat to see when the games allow it. Music isn’t particularly amazing but it fits the zones by having a nice mixture of upbeat melodies and softer, dream-like pieces.
Regarding how it runs, it will vary depending on your i-Device. I’m playing it on my iPhone 12 and on Medium settings. From my playthrough, it mostly hit a stable frame rate that hovered around 50-60 FPS. When a lot of effects come on screen, the game starts to drop frames. But on more modern iPhones/iPads, the game should be able to hit a locked 60FPS at the highest settings with no issues.
While I’m not finished with the game yet, I’m personally enjoying it quite a bit. If you have an Apple device (Mac included, this isn’t limited to just iPhones and iPads), I recommend giving this game a shot. It’s only playable with Apple Arcade, with the potential of it coming to Android platforms and consoles in the future.