Sonic Free Riders

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Sonic Free Riders Game Poster Image
Hover board racer for Kinect suffers serious control issues.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game fosters a spirit of friendly competition and cooperation for up to four players in the same room. It also encourages kids to get off the couch and become active.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Opposing teams chat with each other in between races, engaging in playful banter and occasionally taunting one another. It’s not all good-spirited, but it’s pretty mild.

Ease of Play

We experienced a fair bit of difficulty trying to make our avatars copy our movements. Consequently, we had trouble steering and tricking, which in turn made it difficult to progress through the Grand Prix mode. This game may prove frustrating, regardless of age or skill.

Violence & Scariness

Racers bump into each other. There are also a couple of weapons they can use to slow each other down, including a bowling ball and an explosive football. No one ever appears seriously hurt.


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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChrisH. November 25, 2014
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheBlazemaster4 May 16, 2021


I take back every mean thing I ever said about Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.
Teen, 15 years old Written byDoctor Cringe April 12, 2020

Don't Bother With Sonic Free Riders

Just... don't. The kinect controls are completely broken. If you want to play a Sonic Riders game, play the original or Zero Gravity, at least those games... Continue reading

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?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Sega of America
  • Release date: November 4, 2010
  • Genre: Racing
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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