Platform(s): Wii (PS2)
Developer: Sonic Team
Website: Zero Gravity
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity causes a bit of a quandary as you consider whether it’s more ridiculous for a blue hedgehog to be wearing shoes or for him to be using a hoverboard. Aside from that bit of mind melting puzzle, there is little else to enjoy in the game. And even if there were you’d only have a couple hours of playtime before it was through. A ridiculous plot and boring racing combine to present the ultimate mediocre moment of the year so far.
You should never pay attention to story in a Sonic game. They’re mindless and intended only to drive you to play more. Unfortunately Zero Gravity is so remarkable that you can’t help but be enthralled by the train wreck. Taking a cue from the old cartoon show, Zero Gravity has a Cyber Punk vibe that is most unwelcome. Everything is post-apocalyptic and there are things going on that make little sense. The game opens with an I, Robot attack that even Will Smith couldn’t laugh off. A magical ring is found by Sonic, and then the race ensues. Or something. I honestly stopped paying attention to the cut scenes after the third or fourth race.
Since this is a racing game on the Wii you just know there are tilt controls. You’d be right, and they are imprecise at best. Actually, that’s being kind. The controls do not work right. You’ll be all over the road trying to navigate straightaways, and if you want to go faster you’ll have to tilt the Remote forward. This makes it awkward to press the buttons you’ll need to dash or perform the slingshot turn. You can – and should – use the D-pad to control your rider. But be forewarned that the tilt controls can’t be turned off, so you’ll still find yourself sliding all over the road.
To make sharp turns Zero Gravity offers an interesting mechanic, and is the main reason gravity is mentioned at all. Pressing a button has your character slow down Matrix style, but you can still freely rotate. Set your character along the new path and let go of the button to get a burst of speed. It was thrilling to do this the first time. But most corners, even the tight ones, don’t require you to use the mechanic. Not to mention it is just as imprecise as the other tilt controls. If you shoot yourself towards a wall, and you will, there’s no way to correct it on the fly. For a single level the zero gravity turn is indispensable, other than that it’s a novelty.
There just isn’t enough content or polish in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity to warrant your hard earned cash. At times the game feels speedy, like a Sonic game should. But the ludicrous power ups and alternate hover boards do little to extend the life of the game. You’ll be frustrated and bored before you ever catch up to one of the birds on the opposing team. Yes, I just said you are racing against birds. And no, I have no idea why birds have formed a hoverboard gang.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.
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