Sonic and the Secret Rings

Format: Wii

5 060138 430860
Age Restrictions: 17+
02 March 2007

An evil genie has brought mayhem to the magical storybook world of the Arabian Nights. He's hunting the all-powerful Secret Rings, and there's only one hero standing in his way. Now able to slow time and boost himself to incredible speeds, Sonic will need to be faster than ever in his most dazzling adventure yet...

In Sonic Secret Rings the land of mystery meets the legend of speed, as the world's most famous (and only) blue hedgehog travels to the world of the Arabian Nights, where he encounters a mystical genie, Shahra. Shahra pleads with Sonic to save her world from the powerful evil genie, Erazor Djinn. As the story unfolds, Erazor confronts Sonic and pulls him into his evil plans. Sonic has a limited time to deliver Erazor the seven World Rings and save the storybook world.

For those of you out there who, after witnessing a number of very poor Sonic titles in recent years, thought the blue spiky critter should be taken out and shot by Sega, Sonic Secret Rings may turn around your views on the franchise. While this is far from being a faultless offering, it is more playable than some of the rubbish that has been sold recently on the back of the Sonic name.

Navigating a world full of obstacles and enemies, from Erazor's genie minions to dinosaurs, you must use the Wii controller to perform a number of core moves as you move through the levels (surfing through rapids on tree trunks and piloting flying carpets in the race to restore this storybook world before all is lost). Holding the remote horizontally, you can tilt the controller left and right to control Sonic's speed. You can jump, perform sliding stops and pull off homing attacks with a snap of the controller. You can even walk backwards with a tilt of the Wii remote, or hop aboard winged pots and fly with a vigorous shake of the controller. Or how about launching yourself from catapults? Easy, with a whip of the remote.

There are over 100 missions within eight wildly varied worlds. As you progress through each level you gain new moves and abilities. As you progress through the game, Sonic's abilities can be strategically equipped based on the demands of the mission ahead. From the special "Speed Break" boost to an ability called "Time Break" that slows the world around you to a near stop, Sonic needs every trick in the book to make sure Erazor Djinn stays in the storybook world.

In addition to the single player adventure, Sonic and the Secret Rings offers 40 mini-games that support up to four players.

The biggest problem I had with this game (and I'm afraid this is something that I think is more a complaint of the Wii system in general) is that the control system doesn't really work all that well. It's a gimmick that will get very old very quickly. While it's great for things like golf games and those annoying party games where you have to burst balloons etc., in a game like this the standard control system is much more appropriate. However, it was interesting to use the controller as a violin bow, an axe, a canoe paddle and dozens of other tasks.

So, not a bad game as Sonic adventures go. But then we've had nothing but bad experiences of late from this corner of the market. I'd strongly advise renting this before parting with your cash - it won't be to everyone's taste.

Nick Smithson

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