Sonic's first foray onto the PSP isn't what you might expect. Rivals hearkens back to the classic 2D sidescrolling Sonic games of yore with its basic run-and-jump gameplay: yet its striking 3D visuals and Wi-Fi multiplayer footrace gameplay couldn't be more modern. Here, you take control of Sonic, Knuckles, Shadow, or newcomer Silver (who's also in the PS3/XB360 Sonic game) in a series of grueling one-on-one races across traditional platforming stages. You can tackle the game solo (racing against A.I.-controlled critters), but Rivals is clearly intended for two-player action.
Sprinting, running, and looping suddenly become far more dramatic when you're constantly trying to stay ahead of a rival. Success doesn't rely solely on platforming prowess, though--you'll pick up various power-ups along the way that dynamically morph into offensive or defensive tools depending on whether you're in first or second place. End-of-level boss encounters get particularly tense, as you're tasked with defeating a giant metallic monstrosity while simultaneously keeping your enemy from doing so.
In its current state, Rivals certainly feels quirky and looks great, but the gameplay lacks the precision of the old side-scrolling Sonic classics. Something just feels a bit off about the control--the way the characters collide with the levels seems touchy and haphazard, and in a contest where millimeters matter, that's not a good thing. Rivals developer Backboj (the guys behind Death Jr.) needs to address this problem before the race kicks off....
Download Sonic Rivals
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP