Sonic Dash is an endless runner platform video game developed by Hardlight and published by Sega. The game is freeware. It was released exclusively on mobile phones, and is the second game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Hardlight for the platform, the first being Sonic Jump. The game was released on March 7, 2013 for iOS, November 26, 2013 for Android, and December 3, 2014 for Windows.
Similar to how Sonic Jump played as a vertical platformer video game like Doodle Jump, Sonic Dash is played as an endless runner, similar to the Temple Run or Rayman Jungle Run video games. In the game, the player directs Sonic through levels, collecting rings and avoiding obstacles and enemies. Unlike other games in the series, Sonic automatically moves forward at all times, similar to Sonic and the Secret Rings. Players are able to share and compete for accomplishments such as “fastest time” or “longest distance”.
The game features 3D graphics, set in an environment based on the “Seaside Hill” level of Sonic Heroes. Like its predecessors, rings can be collected throughout the levels or purchased via microtransactions, and accumulated rings can be used to purchase further content in the game, such as items, upgrades, or additional playable characters. The game also retains the objective system from Sonic Jump; players are granted a permanent score multiplier increase for every set of three objectives completed.
Throughout the levels red rings can be found, however players can purchase them as well. They are used to buy new characters to play as, all from the Sonic universe, which currently includes Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Amy, Blaze, Silver, Rouge and Cream.
Reviews for the game have been mixed. Aggregator MetaCritic calculated a score of 69 out of 100, based on 26 reviews, labeling it as having “mixed or average reviews”. Destructoid gave the game a 7 out of 10, praising the game’s control, finding that the “swipe”-based motions worked better than the tilt-based ones typical of the genre, but criticized the game for its repetitious nature, and in-app purchases that ranged from “not needed” to “pretty damn annoying.” IGN gave the game a 6 out of 10 score, similarly praising the game’s control, while criticizing the cheap level design and “pay-to-win” aspect of the game’s leaderboard ranking system. Eurogamer gave it the same score, noting that the game felt rushed, and that the in-app purchases felt like they were motivated by greed. Touch Arcade gave the game a 3.5 out of 5 score, comparing it favorably to the special stages in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Digital Spy referred to it as “the best Sonic has played on a smartphone yet”.
Critics were ultimately divided on the game’s merits; Gamezebo lauded the game for being “the first time in 20 years that Sega has put out a Sonic game that you absolutely have to play”, while MacLife referred to it as a game that “fumbles the fundamentals and aggravates with heavy-handed in-app purchases.”
The game had been downloaded 20 million times by July 2013 and 65 million times by June 2014.