Sonic Frontiers Review thumbnail

Sonic Frontiers Review

The blue cartographer

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on 🗺️

Sonic Frontiers is also available for PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Sonic Frontiers is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

Sonic Frontiers has been out a short while and it's a rather divisive game so here are my thoughts on Sonic's open-world adventure.

│ Our reviewers are discouraged from reading other reviews before writing theirs in order to avoid contributing to an echo chamber. 🦚

Sonic Frontiers screenshot 1
Hey, fellows; how are you today?

What is Sonic Frontiers about?

The story of Sonic Frontiers has our favourite hedgehog and his friends travel to Starfall Islands after the Chaos Emeralds headed there. However, his friends become trapped in Cyber Space so he ventures forth in the hopes of saving them. This premise ties in to the gameplay perfectly as you explore each of the 5 islands while slowly revealing their maps and gathering memories of your friends. Meanwhile, robotic defences are deployed everywhere and they range from small pesky enemies to enormous titans that may just be the key to Sonic returning everything back to normal. Well, we're off to a good start so let's see how it actually plays. v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

Explore the frontier

Before discussing the gameplay, I'd like to share a tidbit about myself. I'm the kind of person who loves doing multiple things at once and I get anxious when I'm not juggling a bunch of tasks; it's hard to shut my brain off! What does this have to do with Sonic Frontiers? Well, it caters to the way my brain works beautifully as there is always a lot to do. No matter where you explore, you're bound to find enemies, puzzles, hidden goodies, and the most impressive part is just how much verticality there is. With springs, grind rails, grappling lines, and such all over, you never know where these gadgets will take you and I absolutely loved seeing how high I could ascend only to gaze at the lovely scenery in the distance while simultaneously wondering if I missed any worthwhile treasures below. 💎

Sonic Frontiers screenshot 2
Time for some high-speed action!

Lots to see and do

Although I loved simply exploring the massive islands in Sonic Frontiers, the gameplay really comes to life when you consider just how much variety there is. One of the coolest features are the portal levels which play like classic or Dreamcast-era Sonic stages and each one has a handful of objectives to master; it's always rewarding to accomplish everything. When exploring an island, you'll complete challenges which fill out the map bit by bit and these usually involve solving simple puzzles or mini-games and I enjoyed fulfilling each one. Once you activate all of them on an island, you'll gain access to fast-travel which makes completing the other objectives such as experiencing side-stories and unlocking chaos emeralds a much more efficient undertaking. Oh, and I enjoyed fishing with Big, of course! 🎣

Combat and RPG elements

If there's one aspect of Sonic Frontiers that I would say needs the most improvement, it's combat. Now, I am impressed that you can parry attacks and you have to utilise specific strategies to defeat some enemies such as by drawing a circle around them or deflecting their projectiles. However, the combat itself mostly involves tapping 1 button and I wish that it was more involving. I enjoy the unlockable skills, though, like the stomp attack, sonic boom, and cyclone kick but it could still use more elements such as a long-range attack or some sort of secondary weapon. One nifty inclusion is the RPG elements which will have you redeem items to increase your max rings, speed, attack, and defense. Using everything you have to topple the next titan which each play very differently is super-rewarding stuff. 😎

Some annoyances

I'd be quite the goof if I thought Sonic Frontiers doesn't have its problems as it definitely does. First, I found the constant pop-in as you approach platforms to be exceptionally jarring, especially considering I'm playing it on PlayStation 5. It doesn't cause any issues with gameplay as things pop in well in advance but it definitely doesn't look good. Finally, this could be said about every 3D Sonic game but the controls can be annoying at times. The more you play it, the more you'll learn to not accidentally mess up but in the early goings, it can be incredibly frustrating to leap past a platform only to land out of bounds or slip off a titan that you're trying to scale. 😤

Sonic Frontiers screenshot 3
I wonder if AiAi and gang can make use of these balls...

Sonic Frontiers is obviously a love-it-or-hate-it sort of game so thankfully, I love it. The fact that there are just so many fun things that you can do at any given time makes my brain happy and I'm looking forward to a sequel. Please make it happen, Sega!

  • + Rewarding overworld that's filled with fun challenges and puzzles
  • + Mastering portal levels is satisfying
  • + Clever boss fights and RPG elements
  • - Visual pop-in can be downright jarring
  • - Combat could use more elements
  • - Controls can cause occasional annoyance
8.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Sonic Frontiers thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Sonic Frontiers
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