Ok, so this isn’t what
you would expect from Sega. This game follows on in the footsteps of
‘Mario Party’ on the N64, which I will admit, I went out and bought;
But hey, it was great fun, brilliant gameplay and some very innovative
ideas. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Sonic Shuffle.
This is Sega’s first
party game, and you can tell, as this game really does need polishing, or
even a whole new makeover. Firstly the game is manufactured for children,
and if I had something like this when I was 8 years old, I would have been
the happiest person in the world. Unfortunately I am 18, and I see most
children that age as annoying insects, but I suppose if I were ever to
baby-sit, I’d shove this game in front of the kid, and let them play to
their hearts content. And they would, in a weird and scary way, sometimes
the game can be fun, even for me.
The game is very easy to understand, you can start the game choosing your character, any one of the 8 characters from sonic adventure. Some of which such as Big Cat will have to be unlocked in later stages.
The opening cut scene
tells us our friends have been transported to "Maginaryworld,"
where they are asked by some fairy princess or other to collect a series
of "precious stones," so on and so forth. Sonic and friends
agree to embark on a quest for the precious stones, and then, after having
been transported to the main game board, find themselves inexplicably
combating one another to see who can collect the most. What a wonderful
way to teach kids to betray and beat their friends.
Basic play throughout each of the five game boards is pretty straightforward. Sonic and pals draw cards from hands of seven, and then move a number of spaces corresponding to the value of each drawn card. Depending on where he lands, a player can collect rings, (which serve as currency for the purchase of force stones), have rings deducted from his cache, trigger a mini-game, or wind up in a card battle with some Pokemon-type character. Ultimately, the objective is to collect as many precious stones as possible.
graphics of the game are one its finer points. Very smooth, cartoon style
graphics, with thick shading on the characters, will immediately appeal to
children. The graphics aren’t exactly busting the Dreamcast’s video
card, but they certainly are very nice and high-res. They seem a lot like
the visuals of a certain Jet Grind Radio but somehow don’t work as well
as JGR, and anyways, you don’t want to give your kids that game, or
it’ll bring a new meaning to the words ‘Home Decorating’.
of the ideas in the party games are quite good and original, e.g. instead
of rolling dice to determine your next move, you draw a card from an
Incidentally, if you have a VMU installed, you can see your hand displayed on the VMU screen, keeping your cards secret from your human opponents. Also, through the use of a "special" card, you can swap cards with opponents, steal cards away from them, or move any number of spaces between 1 and 7, in which case the card behaves like a seven-sided die. Cards already played collect in a trash can, the contents of which are visible at all times, which helps players decide whether they want to risk stealing unseen cards from opponents.
So far, I have commented
on many of the negative points in the game, but now we get to the good
bits, the few there are anyways. The mini games in Sonic Shuffle kick ass.
No really, they do. My personal favourite being ‘Virtual Tag’. This
includes all 4 players being put into a virtual arena, and having to play
tag, it brought back many memories of games I used to play on the
playground at primary school.
Another of the fun mini
games is the 1 player game where your character gets to roll around a
virtual cartoony labrynth, avoidin as many of the other characters and
obstructions as possible.
Each of the player
characters has unique abilities consistent with those presented in prior
Sonic games. For example, Tails can traverse certain spaces designed for
him alone, allowing him to fly from one board area to another. Amy can use
a hammer at certain spaces, allowing her to catapult herself around. Not
that any one character has a significant advantage over any other, but the
inclusion of unique character attributes is still nice.
Oh, and I should mention Dr. Robotnik makes several appearances throughout the game, thwarting players, reducing their chances of acquiring rings, meddling with their card values, or dropping 16-ton weights on competitors, thus demolishing their ring counts. I always enjoy seeing Robotnik, regardless of what type of Sonic game I'm playing. He's just a classic character, and he's as big a pain in the ass as he's ever been.
Well, there’s not much
more for me to comment on, except the load times.
ARGH. Sega, listen carefully, there is no point bringing a game
out, where the loading times of the mini-games are actually longer than
the mini games themselves, OK? (Editor – LOL)
On the whole, this is
definitely one for the kids, with its childish humour, its cartoony
graphics, and its gameplay, so parents, if you want to shut your kids up
for a while just pop down to your local retailer and buy this, or if
you’re an adult and want some fun, buy it for your kids, and when they
are gone, play the mini games, especially the tag game.
"Its all been said in the review, strictly for kids, and definitely Sonic’s worst game!"
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