Sonic Runners Adventure is quite an odd release. The first thing people will probably notice is that this title looks pretty familiar, and that is because Sonic Runners Adventure used to exist as a free-to-play auto-runner called Sonic Runners, but SEGA eventually pulled it from the Play Store back in July of 2016. What is interesting is that Gameloft has taken that now-defunct FTP Sonic title and has turned it into a premium release that lacks any advertisements or in-app purchases, and you can pick it up today for $2.99.
Now, obviously Sonic Runners Adventure still has the underpinnings of a free-to-play auto-runner, but it has been tweaked just enough that you will be hard-pressed to point out the majority of those mechanics. Unlike Square Enix’s recently released Final Fantasy Dimensions II (another Android game that has changed from FTP to an upfront-priced title), enough of SEGA’s FTP design has been changed by Gameloft so that Sonic Runners Adventure will play great as a premium Sonic release.
Of course, a lot of the gameplay has also stayed the same. This means you can expect to be auto running throughout the game’s 4 separate Sonic-themed locations. There are also quite a few Sonic characters to unlock. The three main protagonists that you will be utilizing are Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. For the most part, they control the same, though Tails can fly for short bursts, Knuckles can leap forward in order to smash objects, while Sonic can triple jump to reach higher areas. These are all powers you should keep in mind, as each level is designed around one of their particular skills. What is nice is that all of the levels in Sonic Runners Adventure have at least two separate paths that can be explored. This makes for a good bit of replayability, as some areas are only reachable when using a specific character, who may not yet be unlocked.
I would say the content provided in this auto-runner is worth the $2.99 asking price, though it would have been nice to see an endless mode to extend the game’s longevity. As is you can easily blow through the game’s 4 worlds in just a couple of play sessions. It is also disheartening to see that Google Play Games Services are nowhere to be seen. There is no achievement system, no leaderboard, and most glaringly no way to save your game to the cloud. There is also no controller support, but considering that this is a game originally designed for use on a touchscreen, that isn’t much of a surprise.
Despite the lack of a few crucial features and a short play time, Sonic Runners Adventure is still a surprisingly enjoyable release, especially when you consider that it came from the well-known FTP game developer Gameloft. Other than the Christian Whitehead ports of the original Sonic titles, there really aren’t that many quality Sonic releases on the Google Play Store. So it is definitely nice to see a new premium Sonic game come to fruition, no matter its FTP beginnings.