I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing Sonic Jump Fever. Enthusiastically, I bounded at the opportunity and said I’d love to. Always happy to give Sonic a shot, even with past discrepancies. Personally, I found Generations and Lost World pretty entertaining, for what they were. SEGA were finally turning things around for Sonic, and perhaps wanted to do the same for mobile devices.
Oh, but no. It didn’t take long to dawn on me this could not be a mere written review. This experience was going to need full documentation. So, without further ado, I give you the live and uncut first hour I spent with Sonic Jump Fever; SEGA’s latest free-to-play Sonic game on iOS:
Here we see the jumping off point of booting up the game – and yes, despite looking like a Las Vegas slot machine has thrown up on your iPhone, the first screenshot really is the “main menu”.
You can upgrade your character’s power up abilities, or add boosters to gain more rings, more points, or better bonus opportunities. Everything is looking peachy so far, if a little standard.
This is the “standard” timeline of a level in Sonic Jump Fever: Your character jumps automatically, and the goal of the entire game is to jump as high as you can before the time runs out. There’s also an option to double jump if you tap the screen while in the air.
Once in a while you’ll get a mega leap where you’re flung upwards Dragonball Z style to try and tilt your way to grab more coins. When you finally reach the end of the level/time limit you’ll hop into a hot air balloon and throw little animals up into the basket. Every time you miss an anonymous crowd will boo at your failure to rescue the cute little buggers.
You’re given a score for your ability to hold your phone in an upright position for 60 seconds, and now the real fun begins…
WELCOME TO THE ADVERTS! Now, before I get assaulted by all the Sonic fans, I’m aware that a free-to-play game is likely to have some adverts to subsidise the lack of upfront cost. These adverts at the end of completing a level, and a quick pop-up to let you know you can pay for boosters if you want, is reasonable. However, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Don’t worry if you felt £1.49 wasn’t a good enough bargain, because there are Red Star packs of all kinds available. Going all the way to a £69.99 value! That’s not just value, that’s “BEST VALUE!”.
Sonic Jump Fever understands, should you decide to pay £69.99 for Red Stars, that videogames can still be rather addictive at times. This is why there is an Energy Bar that only allows you to play your game so many times before having to pay more money, or leave your phone alone to go outside and do something equally trivial until it recharges.
After waiting, or paying for some of those Red Stars, you can leap right back into the action of… bouncing up to the top of the screen.
Seems I have discovered a Chao. This randomly popped up out of nowhere after I completed a level run.
Only get one free though, I tried to look for another one but it was asking me to pay Rings – because of course.
Oh! It did turn out to be useful. Seems this particular Chao makes more platforms appear from another dimension for me to spring from. I’ll admit it’s a partially useful… power up, I guess? Doesn’t really change the gameplay at all though.
Plus some more adverts. Lots of more adverts, even got an unskippable video this time! The roller-coaster fun ride of Sonic Jump Fever is really heating up now.
Thank you, SEGA! Refilling my Energy Bar for free meant I got (/had) to keep playing this session.
There’s also a daily spin function (because of course there is) which largely gives you utterly pointless items, at least in my experience. The screenshot above was my first win, and the subsequent three wins following it. Maybe I’m merely extremely lucky, but it felt like being trapped in a perpetual loop of winning £1 on a £1 scratchcard.
Figured out the tiny little video-clip symbol means you can watch an advert to earn stuff. Like more spins. So I got to watch another advert. To earn another spin. To potentially win more spins.
Yes, I’m aware by this point you’re probably bored out of your skull – image how I feel.
WHOA! WAIT! HOLD THE PHONE!… Am… Am I playing the same level over and over again?!
I’m no idiot, I noticed the jungle style was on every level play through, but the layouts are near identical! It’s the same god damn pattern. Play the one level, win around 100 coins, see another god damn bloody advert, and do it all again until your energy runs out. The pattern never changes.
Got a new highscore. Nothing is achieved from this, aside from a leaderboard with nobody. Felt it was worth mentioning because it’s honestly the most exciting thing that’s happened in the last 10 minutes.
Had a thought. The Energy Bar has a video-clip symbol. Does this mean I can sit here watching adverts to earn more energy to play the game for longer? Then watch more adverts?
YES! YES IT DOES! Oh joy of joys.
More adverts. More highscores as I’ve damn near memorised this level now. Even more adverts…
Oh my glob… Did… Did I unlock Sonic?! FINALLY! Everybody take note, rejoice in the streets, because after nearly 40 minutes of playing SONIC JUMP FEVER I have been able to find SONIC in this SONIC game.
It was all totally worth the effort. The repetitive levels, the boosters, the adverts, now I get to… play the same level again but with a Sonic-skinned character? REALLY?! Oh for the love of all that is unholy.
And no, Sonic Jump Fever, I will not rate your greedy, advert-ridden game right now because you’re hoping that I’m still riding that Sonic high. Nor will I pay £2.49 to play the same pissing boring level 6 more times. Seriously, £2.49 to refill an energy meter? Who buys these things? Who gives money to acts this shameless?
Up to Level 6 now, profile-wise. Keep running low on Rings though, because they keep limiting my Energy Bar and I can only gain around 8-100 RIngs per run. Guess I’m watching some more adverts to get the 100 Ring bonus on the “main menu”. Wonder if I can do this indefinitely…
… So far so good…
… It concerns me this appears to still be working…
… I’m earning more Rings sitting here watching this craptastic adverts than I was playing the game. Faster too, because this process doesn’t involve depleting a sodding Energy Bar – and then watching adverts to refill thee Energy Bar.
… Okay, I’m stopping here. Been sat watching these tedious videos for nearly 5 minutes now. On the plus side, now have a very upgraded Tails. Time for some more gameplay!
Holy shit, everybody. Free baby dragons. Want one. I would name them ChiliBreath.
It’s getting to the point where the adverts in between levels are making other games seem more appealing than the one I’m currently playing.
I need to state, by the way: These screenshots are all taken separately. When you see a screenshot of my chosen character standing waiting for the level to begin, or an advert, they’re all taken at different times. It just happens to be the same damn thing every time.
CoinDozer?! You’re losing me here, Sonic Jump Fever. These adverts are starting to get far less appealing.
At this point I’m reviewing the adverts as much as I am the game itself, because they get as much screen time.
DinoHunter sounds pretty fun. I was actually Tweeting about wanting a dinosaur hunting game quite recently.
This was the highest highscore I’ve been able to grab too. No idea how. Helped to level me up to Level 7 though. Sure do hope Level 7 gameplay improves the title. We can ride this wave all night then. We’ll be able to keep this live coverage all the way until we complete the entire game – together!
… I quit.
Sonic Jump Fever is standard mobile game "Jumper" title, with very few notable positives. The boosters and power-ups do add to the game, but the in-app purchases and Energy Bar meter drag it right back down to the world of the mundane. Of course, if you've made it this far down, I think it's fair to say you know why this game deserved a 2. It's an in-app advertisement dispenser with a tiny piece of gameplay forced upon it.