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The Hawk Eye

Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

Hebron High School News Online

The Hawk Eye

“Sonic Dream Team” is a short and sweet game, unfortunately trapped on Apple Arcade

Photo via “Sonic Dream Team – Animated Intro”

Surprising fans as an Apple Arcade exclusive, “Sonic Dream Team” released on Dec. 8 for iOS, Mac and Apple TV. Developed by Sega Hardlight, a company known for Sonic’s other mobile endeavors, such as “Sonic Dash” and “Sonic Forces: Speed Battle.” It is a solid entry in the “Sonic The Hedgehog” franchise, and is certainly one of the best games in the realm of mobile gaming.

First off, you must play this game using a controller of some kind. I used an Xbox Series X controller connected to an iPhone 15 Pro and a 3rd generation iPad Air. Different Apple devices have different specs, and, thankfully, the in-game settings allow the player to lower or raise the graphics according to their device’s strength. The iPhone 15 Pro was able to run the game at maximum graphics with minimal hiccups, while the iPad Air ran at high graphics with the occasional lag spikes.

With a physical controller in hand, I can confidently say that “Sonic Dream Team” controls well. While not as tight and snappy as “Sonic Frontiers,” there is a better sense of momentum in the player physics. “Sonic Dream Team” is a combination of the adventure and boost styles of Sonic gameplay, retaining the boost mechanic, but having physics akin to the adventure titles.

The level design is surprisingly strong for Sega Hardlight’s first full platforming debut. The main stages of the game usually have wide, open-ended level design and a linear end goal, allowing for a good amount of player freedom in the stages. While the controls have been simplified down to only needing two buttons to add touch controls, the momentum emphasis allows for a lot of player expression in the movement, making the moment-to-moment gameplay engaging.

Though there are six playable characters, there are really only three gameplay styles. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles retain their iconic focuses on respective speed, flight and gliding abilities from “Sonic Adventure.” However, Amy, Cream and Rouge act more like female costumes for the three boys than independent characters. While a little disappointing, the three play styles offered are all fun, bringing their own approaches to the level design. That, as well as the optional objectives and collectibles, provide “Sonic Dream Team” a healthy amount of replay value to keep the player coming back for more.

The backlash to this game being an Apple Arcade exclusive is rather silly to me. While I do hope that it receives a port to consoles and PC one day, it’s likely to be trapped on Apple devices, as the game was produced and funded by the tech company. I don’t entirely mind this though, as exclusives have always been a part of the gaming landscape, especially with the likes of Nintendo and PlayStation. 

That said, what bugs me is that Apple Arcade is a $7 per month subscription service, meaning that if you don’t constantly pay up, the games you’ve downloaded will be taken away. I would’ve preferred a flat out purchase for “Sonic Dream Team” between $10 to $20, but, unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done.

“Sonic Dream Team,” while trapped on Apple Arcade, is a short and sweet title that’ll give any fans of Sonic and 3D platformers a good mobile experience. The controls feel great, the level design is strong and I hope Sega Hardlight is able to create more entertaining side experiences between major Sonic titles. If you have an Apple device and a Bluetooth controller, I highly suggest getting the Apple Arcade free trial to give “Sonic Dream Team” a shot.

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About the Contributor
Alexander Cha, Reporter
Senior Alexander Cha is a reporter and this is his third year on staff. His favorite subject is English and his hobbies include writing stories and playing video games.

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