A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sonic at the Olympic Games is a sports game that's available for download on iOS and Android devices. The game takes characters and sets them up in competitions with the Olympic gams as a backdrop. But kids can't use the app for long without hitting a paywall. Once they get partway through the first section, they'll need to shell out $3.99 to access the rest of that section and the second area, or pay $9.99 for a pass to unlock all areas of the app. They can also pay $7.99 to access areas three through seven if they've purchased the $3.99 pass for the earlier portions of the game. While the individual sporting events offer some challenge and are interesting visually, kids basically see an instruction-based version of several before they're told they have to pay to play. Without knowing that upfront, using the app could be a frustrating experience.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids will make the famed videogame hedgehog or one of his friends run, jump, shoot, and participate in other sporting events in SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES. They control the character's motions by, for example, tapping to make him jump in competitions. Events involve climbing, diving, and other activities. Kids can retry rounds and use currency they earn to skip ones they can't win. As they complete items, they move around a map of Tokyo. Once they finish several events in the first section, they have to pay to keep playing new events.
Is it any good?
The events in this Olympics-themed app involve fun, fast-paced action, but it feels more like a demo that you pay to play after a few events. In Sonic at the Olympic Games, characters whizz across a racetrack, sail through the air into a pool, and grunt as they hop from landing spot to landing spot on a climbing wall. Kids can redo rounds if they're unsuccessful, which gives them a chance to try to master any challenges they find difficult, and the graphics are high-quality. Characters are shown in 3D at times for specific events. For example, light beams from Sonic as he prepares to run, and clouds change shape as he jumps through and on them.
But there's a catch: Kids basically test out the various types of sporting events featured in the app at first and will quickly find they then need to pay real-world money to keep playing and eliminate interruptions of matches by pop-ups. For example, during the free part of the game, they'll see the same basic instructions in numerous rounds, such as tap to jump or hold down and release to start running. But soon, you get more intrusive notifications, such as a message that pops up to warn you that missing a certain number of targets will end a shooting challenge, which actually stops the gameplay. Additional pauses occur between events, as you wait for a screen that shows playing tips to close. Not only does this break the flow of each event, it feels like the game is waiting for you to reach a certain point before trying to charge you to continue. The paid version of Sonic at the Olympic Games may offer more momentum and excitement -- but it'll cost kids to find out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about safety during some of the physical activities shown in Sonic at the Olympic Games. Should a parent be involved if kids want to try any of them out?
What things can you do when you're competing against someone to make sure the experience is both friendly and fair for everyone?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Math: addition, money, subtraction
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, strategy, thinking critically
- Pricing structure: Free to try, Paid (Part of the first section of the game is free to play. To play the events in the rest of that section and access items in the second section, a $3.99 pass is required. A $7.99 pass provides access to the third through seventh area of the app. Kids can also pay $9.99 for access to everything.)
- Release date: May 6, 2020
- Category: Sports Games
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Size: 220.00 MB
- Publisher: SEGA
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: Requires Android 4.4 and up and iOS 11.0 or later.
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.