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  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Nice control mechanics
  • Intriguing storyline
  • Some great nods to previous Sonic lore

Might Not Like

  • Can be quite repetitive
  • Not much to do once the story ends
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Sonic Frontiers Review

sonic frontiers (1)

Growing up with a fascination of all things video games, there came a point in my young life when I had to make the ultimate decision; Nintendo or Sega?

Perhaps in the long run I chose poorly, but filled with childlike exuberance, I decided that a blue lightning-fast hedgehog was way more exciting than a fat plumber... and the die was cast.

Since that day I've been a Sonic mega-fan. Over the years I've accrued quite the collection of merch, including clothing, figures, signed illustrations, books, pins, VHS tapes, comics, an actual gold Sonic ring, and even bottles of bubble bath.

I've also played every Sonic game I could get my hands on (even terrible lesser-known entries like Chaotix, Labryinth and Shuffle) and completed the majority of them.

I have to admit Sonic 06 and Sonic Heroes defeated me, but I'm willing to bet I gave them more of a shot than most due to my love of the blue blur and his selection of pals.

So, when I heard Sonic Frontiers was on the way, and it was going to be like nothing we had seen before, I got excited. I felt the same eager anticipation that bubbled up inside me for titles like Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure.

As soon as it arrived (and finished installing the obligatory 'Day 1' update) I fired it up. Having now got to the end of the game and gathered most of the collectables, I feel like I'm qualified and ready to cast judgement on Sonic's latest outing.

Best Of The Blue

Right out of the gate I'll say this; there's a lot to like about Sonic Frontiers... but only if you're willing to put the time in to find it.

I'll come to the criticism later, and believe me there is a fair bit, but first I want to get across all the good that Frontiers includes.

Moves Like Sonic

One of the things I've found myself most enamoured with in Sonic Frontiers is the range of moves you need to master in order to progress in the game.

I'll cover the enemies in more detail later, but the number of different moves Sonic can learn to deal with the various threats is quite vast.

Some of the metallic monstrosities can only be defeated by using specific moves too, which throws up new challenges when first encountering them.

For players who don't want to learn all the combinations, there is an 'auto' mode. This allows you to mash the attack button to randomly pull off a selection of moves, but it significantly reduces the damage they do.

A Link To The Wild

During the build up to Frontiers release many were comparing it to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild due to the expansive open world it seemed to be set in.

Playing the game, it's easy to see how BotW played its part in inspiring Sonic's latest outing, but not just due to the huge environments he traverses.

A lot of the gameplay revolves around performing little challenges or tasks across the landscape. For example, you might have to turn off all the lights on a board by walking over them in a certain order, or get from point A to point B before a timer runs out. One task is even as mundane as cutting down a little bit of grass.

While this is similar in itself to the trial temples, one task in particular will look very familiar to Breath of the Wild fans. Activating a pressure pad will cause a glowing blue orb to appear, and task Sonic with knocking it through a hoop (or multiple hoops) within a set time. Something Link had to do in almost identical fashion.

Another similarity is the Koco. An indigenous race of creatures who inhabit the various islands Sonic visits in Frontiers. Sonic can collect them and trade them in to one of the tribes’ leaders for permanent stat increases.

It doesn't take a genius to liken them to the Korok in Breath of the Wild, even the names are similar.

Unlike the Korok though, the Koko play a far bigger role...

Storytime Sonic

Where Sonic Frontiers really shines is the storyline. Whereas some of the previous games plotlines have been all over the place, Frontiers is focused and after a bit of a slow burn, is quite enthralling.

I won't give away too much, but Sonic and his friends crash-land on a mysterious island, where Amy-Rose, Tails and as transpires Knuckles are also stuck in cyberspace, so it's up to the Blue Blur to figure out what's going on and get them out.

Elsewhere Robotnik (I refuse to call him Eggman) also finds himself trapped and tasks his latest creation with working out how to set him free.

The Koko feed into this too, going from an annoying side-collectible to something far more important.

There are some nice call-backs to previous games in the series sprinkled in, and the plot leads to some genuinely touching scenes with characters I never expected to feel empathy for.

When I started playing, I didn't expect to get into the 'just one more hour' mindset so I could see where the story went, but that's exactly how things panned out.

Bad Egg(Man)

I know, I said I wouldn't call him that but I couldn't resist the pun.

I've put it off long enough. I've covered the positives, but now I need to talk about the bad.

Much like the Sonic franchise in general, for every good aspect of the game there's a negative to balance it out.

For every great thing about Frontiers, there’s something that could have been done a tiny bit better to keep the scales level.

Empty Expanses

While the huge islands Sonic can traverse are impressive, it doesn't take long to realise that vast expanses of them are barren, with the odd challenge scattered around.

They become a chore to navigate around, even when unlocking grinding rails that are supposed to create a quick way to move from place to place. The problem is they often bend back on themselves, or launch Sonic in a direction you didn't want to go, meaning they can be more of a hinderance than a help.

If the game had been called Sonic Wastelands it would have been hard to argue with the logic.

Bring Back The Badniks

Although I do like how almost all of the enemies in the game have to be beaten in a different way, the majority of them feel REALLY out of place in a Sonic game.

Gone are the semi-cute badniks that imprisoned small woodland creatures, replaced with hulking great lumps of soulless metal. It's also one of the few things that the storyline never explains fully; where these things have come from and what they are doing.

More traditional enemies DO feature in another part of the game, which brings me on nicely to...

Find The MacGuffin

Sonic Frontiers is, at its core, a collect-a-thon with one long series of fetch quests pushing things forward.

'Traditional' Sonic levels have been relegated to mere speed runs in order to acquire one of the items in the chain.

Collect gears to open levels. Complete levels to collect keys. Use keys to collect Chaos Emeralds. Collect Chaos Emeralds to fight the next titan. Rinse and repeat.

In addition, there are also character tokens to find. Collect a certain amount and you can see the next part of the story, some required for game progression and some just for exposition.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it does feel like busywork when all you want to do is move on to the next area or big set piece.

Frontiers Findings

It took me about 15 hours to complete the storyline, and while you can go back and max out on collectables there isn't much point.

Aside from this there is no post-game, which is a shame as unlocking Tails, Knuckles and Amy as playable characters would have been great. Being able to fly or glide around the islands would have been a fresh experience, and Amy's hammer could have changed up how enemies are tackled.

There's a chance SEGA may add something like this as an update later (after all, extra characters were added to Sonic Mania after release) but it's likely they would come at a price.

I'm confident it will make a great platform to build future games on, but ultimately there needed to be more focus. It almost feels like 15 different developers built segments of a game, and then someone stitched it all together.

However, for all the negatives I've mentioned, I actually really liked Sonic Frontiers. I had a lot of fun with it, and it kept me engaged almost all the way through with a good story and addictive (if not sometimes frustrating) gameplay.

It’s unfair to compare Frontiers to Sonic Mania as ‘original’ Sonic and 3D Sonic are two very different beasts, but I’d definitely rate it higher than the likes of Sonic Boom and Sonic Forces. I’d probably even go as far as to say I preferred it to Sonic Generations, as it feels more coherent in plot rather than just a stream of nostalgia loosely hung together.

Whether you're a huge Sonic fan, or just looking for a fun, fast-paced platformer, there's still plenty to enjoy here… it’s just Frontiers is less a premium Filet Mignon steak, and more a Chilli Dog with fries. Apt, really.

That concludes our thoughts on Sonic Frontiers. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Sonic Frontiers today click here!

Zatu Score


  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Nice control mechanics
  • Intriguing storyline
  • Some great nods to previous Sonic lore

Might not like

  • Can be quite repetitive
  • Not much to do once the story ends

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