A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sonic Free Riders is a hover board racing game with a small amount of violence akin to that found in Mario Kart and most kart racers. It encourages players to get up off the couch and engage in physical activity in order to steer their boards. However, the motion control in this game are unreliable, making it difficult to win races and achieve objectives. It could prove frustrating. Note that Microsoft’s new Kinect sensor bar (not included) is required to play.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Stepping into the shoes of Sega’s blue blur (or one of his pals), SONIC FREE RIDERS for the Xbox 360’s new Kinect motion control platform has players making like they’re on a snowboard and leaning left and right to steer their way through obstacle-laden courses. You can lean forward to go faster, turn your board sideways to brake, and jump to pull tricks. Other actions include holding out your arms to grab rings as they pass by, making a throwing motion to toss an explosive football-like device, and making windmill motions with your arms to swim if you land in water. Modes include a Grand Prix that follows a basic story starring familiar characters from the Sonic universe, as well as several online and offline multiplayer races that have players working together in teams or facing off against one another.
Is it any good?
It shouldn’t be hard to get a feel for something as simple as leaning forward and back to steer a video game hover board, but it is here. Turns were nightmarish. We’d lean and our avatar would do nothing. We’d lean a little more and suddenly he’d make a sharp swerve into a wall. Subtle, gentle changes in direction were, for the most part, beyond us.
There were a few times when everything seemed to click, like when we were flying down an icy course littered with giant bones that had sharp corners that doubled as half pipes. Hitting all of these ramps perfectly while blasting away barriers located between them provided a glimpse into how satisfying this game could have been, but didn’t outweigh our frustrations. It’s a good idea, but sloppy execution makes Sonic Free Riders impossible recommend.
Online interaction: Online multiplayer for up to eight players supports voice chat, but it is optional. Note that open voice communication means possible exposure to offensive language and inappropriate topics of conversation as well as the sharing of personal information. Parents might want to disable this feature on their XBox 360 using its Parental Controls feature.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about getting fit playing games. Did you feel tired after playing this game? Were you surprised at the amount of energy you expended? Do you feel like it is a boon to your physical fitness?
Families can also discuss whether to let children engage in open voice communication while playing games online. What are the dangers? How can you protect yourself from online predators?
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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.