A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players are trying to do right by their friends, but revenge is an all-consuming topic that's the only thing they ever talk about.
Positive Role Models
Players can take on role of Sonic, a hero who fights for captured animals. Players create their own characters, but constant talk of revenge limits positive role models.
Ease of Play
Simple controls, but since game moves so fast, there's a learning curve in honing instincts, reactions, and understanding of what you're supposed to do and how.
Violence & Scariness
Players fire grappling hooks, other cartoony weapons (e.g., fire blasters, electric whip) to defeat enemies. During some boss encounters, players can perform close-up finishing blows that knock opponents out in dramatic fashion. Offhand mentions of torture, never shown.
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Products & Purchases
Latest installment in long-running popular franchise that includes TV shows, merchandise, games.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sonic Forces is the latest installment in the action-platforming Sonic series, which dates back to the 1990s days of Sega and Nintendo. Players take control of the popular fast-moving blue hedgehog (versions of him from different games, to boot) and also, now, have the ability to create their own custom avatar character, which they can accessorize and style more and more as they get deeper into the game. There really isn't any objectionable content, aside from references to Sonic being captured and tortured offscreen as a prisoner of war. Otherwise, on-screen violence peaks with cartoony bopping off enemies' heads and collecting power-ups, and boss fights that are a tad more dramatic but culminate in a similar fashion. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Sonic Forces
Is It Any Good?
Unfortunately, what's clearly an attempt to modernize and usher in a new era of games for this storied series is instead a bit of an overwhelming and confusing mess. Bear in mind that what you see will likely be different from what a younger player will feel and see playing Sonic Forces. If you're an adult, the game looks like complete chaos: Your character is the smallest thing on-screen, careening at top speed through stages that end in about two minutes, all while pop-up screens appear with characters shouting at you as upbeat music blares and vivid colors blur everywhere. This is, honestly, the core of what Sonic games have always been -- but this might be the first time no restraint has been exercised. As a result, the lack of focus makes the game feel completely out of control. By emphasizing speed, nothing is allowed to sink in and make much sense.
The game's 30 stages can each be beaten in under two minutes -- twitchier players will love easily doing better than that, and then trying to beat their times. Perhaps anticipating players taking issue with this length, the levels are overstuffed with an astonishing clothesline of daily challenges (changing your character's gloves, and other oddly easy bars to clear for a higher score) and ways to tempt you off your planned route with collectables (hidden red rings, for example). A lot of this, strangely, can be made irrelevant by equipping certain weapons available only to certain characters, which can open up shortcuts allowing you to bypass huge sections of a stage, making an implausible time on a stage incredibly easy to achieve. Simply put, there's too much going on in Sonic Forces, which isn't helped by the game doubling down on speed. Unless you're already a Sonic devotee, you'll be hard-pressed to track where your character is, but even then you'll likely be frustrated by the controls, which occasionally and inexplicably can be floaty and unresponsive. Simply put, there are other games that respect its players far more and are comfortable with letting their ideas breathe, sink in, and let you enjoy them. Play those instead.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.