Monday, December 4, 2023

Sonic Dream Team - Review

Sonic Dream Team is nothing exciting or revolutionary, but it's a different way to play Sonic on an IOS or Apple Mac. The Apple Arcade exclusive "Sonic Dream Team" was released on December 5 2023. The game was developed by HARDLight who have worked on previous Sega Mobile games such as Sonic Jump, Sonic Dash, and Sonic Forces Speed Battle. Does Dream Team live up to the hype?

Sonic Dream Team is surprisingly different to Sonic Frontiers in many ways. It's brighter, more vibrant, more interesting to look at despite having a Sonic Lost World vibe to it. You can do a full 360 and run up the walls and on the side of the levels again. Pretty much, the game just reuses assets from older games and calls it a day,. 


In Sonic Dream Team, Dr Eggman has discovered the Reveire, an ancient device making dreams come true. Sonic & his friends must travel through the dreamscapes Dr. Eggman created and stop his evil plans. You guessed it. It's pretty much a Sonic version of NIGHTS Into Dreams. Most of it is completely copy-paste, even up to the Dream Token collecting which opens up further parts of the level. To nobody's surprise, boost gameplay is back again. But the controls feel more like Sonic Unleashed, with A+X to do the homing attack instead of A+A. (I played this on an Xbox controller)

While I was generally disappointed with Sonic Frontiers, I felt like Sonic Dream Team was a more simplistic and welcoming alternative. It has a few good things going for it, such as complete original stages. There are no Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant, or Sky Sanctuary levels, thank GOD. The level backgrounds themselves and detail are bright and colourful. 

One thing I took instant note of was the opening cutscene, which was animated again. I find these animated opening cutscenes to Sonic games these days highly generic. But the opening cutscene for Dream Team was probably the best thing about the game. Unlike Sonic Superstars' opening cutscene, Superstars' intro had massive frame rate issues, a bad soundtrack and a few animation mistakes. However,  Sonic Dream Team's intro feels like it remedies Superstars' intro - the frame rate is really smooth, the animation is certainly more busy with a lot going on, and the soundtrack is great this time, the intro music once again helmed by Sonic veteran and probably sick of by now but whatever Tee Lopes. However, here he shines much better than the previous entry in the series. It felt like they had more creative control in this game than in Superstars. The main music for Sonic Dream Team was composed by Michael Van Den Bos, I don't know anything about this guy, but the music was a hit or miss in general. I personally really enjoyed Scrambled Shores Act 2 which was an absolute banger. The soundtrack is mixed with dream scape sounds and effects, very similar to NIGHTS into Dreams, and with some annoying synths as well.

The levels to Dream Team are short and sweet, as usual. We're pretty much used to this by now for Sonic games. Which is a shame. There are 3 acts in each stage. 1 being the main level, 2 & 3 being time attack related missions and the 4th being the boss. In total it can take under an hour to completely finish Sonic Dream Team. I have played Sonic mobile games that fare longer than this. 

One thing i'd love to mention again is the voice acting. Sonic voice acting in the games over the years is incredibly bad. These guys that voice Sonic & friends' current roster are no where near as good as the cast from the early - mid 2000's. At least Roger kind of tries to have expression in his voice this time round, in Frontiers he made Sonic sound like a bored old man. I was truly bothered by Cream's voice actor, who sounds like an Anime try-hard girl stepping on a Tac. For whatever reason, Rouge the Bat sounds like a man, and once again, you guys had the chance but they completely omitted Shadow. 

The main character, Ariem, is pretty forgettable from the get-go and not very interesting. She has the same traits as SAGE, a mysterious protector for a desolate land, except without that AI bunk. 

This is the first Sonic game in a long time that has an actual character select screen. The game features 6 playable characters, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream and Rouge The Bat, who for some reason is playable in a Sonic game for the first time in ages. Each character has their own unique abillities, such as Sonic and Amy can run, power jump, Knuckles & Rouge can climb, Tails & Cream can fly. The levels feel more of the same after a while and just with different skins. Overall there are 4 worlds in Sonic Dream Team. They are: Scrambled Shores, Dream Factory, Nightmare Maze, and Ego City. I sure know a few people or two who live in Ego City. 

While Sonic Dream Team is nothing amazing, it's good to play a casual Sonic game once in a while without the absolutely nutters combat that Sonic Frontiers had. Sonic Dream Team kind of goes back to Sonic's roots, which is good, because of the multiple playable characters and vibrant worlds. It's just a shame that the game is a bit too easy, repetitive and short. It's narritive isn't very memorable and the voice acting is pretty terrible but i'm sure Ian Flynn will find a way on how to make Dream Team canon one day. The current Sonic timeline is messed up already as it is.

Sonic Dream Team is out now on Apple Arcade. 


- The first Sonic game in a long while to have multiple playable characters and a character selection screen

- New and original worlds. Not the same old boring Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone and Sky Sanctuary Zone over and over again.

- Dream Team features more general gameplay rather than confusing combat that Sonic Frontiers had that frustrated many players. Parrying is absent in Dream Team, thank goodness!

- A moderately good soundtrack by Michael Van Den Bos. Although some tracks can be a hit or miss.

- Bright, vibrant worlds



- Don't expect much from a mobile game

- Only exclusive to Apple Arcade, a subscription service.

- Levels feel repetitive after a while

- Terrible voice acting from the main cast once again

- The game is too short, it can be completed in under an hour

- The story is messy and straight up forgettable

- It's basically a cut & paste Sonic version of NIGHTS into Dreams. 

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