A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Perseverance and determination are strong themes in this game, and are also classic traits of Sonic as a character.
Positive Role Models
Sonic attempts to bring his friends back together while saving his dimension. He addresses challenges head-on and battles "evil" for the good of the whole. Conversely, villains exist, and attempt to stop Sonic from his goals by attacking him.
Nearly all characters in this game are cartoon, animal-like figures. One villain is a white male.
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Ease of Play
Gameplay is quick and requires a moderately advanced understanding of how to use a controller and respond to actions with rapid button pressing. There are easy, regular, and hard combat options. Players can also choose from "action" or "high speed" styles (which are recommended for players who are not familiar with the series, or for those who are, respectfully.) Captions appear automatically. Accommodating settings exist for players who experience motion sickness while playing games.
Violence & Scariness
No bloody or gory violence happens in this game, but fantasy violence (like blowing up boxes and smashing into objects) is frequent and encouraged. Players also need to fight robot enemies. Mild peril, dark environments, and eerie music are occasionally present. Sonic can "die" in a number of ways, like being killed in battle or falling off of a cliff.
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Products & Purchases
No products are advertised in this game, but players will need to know and have played other games in the Sonic franchise to understand several references and plot points.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sonic Frontiers is an action-adventure fighting game available on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and Windows. Parents will appreciate the general lack of adult content in this game, with the only hesitation being fantasy violence. Parents may want to keep in mind that in order to fully enjoy this game and its storylines, kids will need to be familiar with prior Sonic characters and plot points, and there are quite a few installments in this franchise. This is a more advanced concept than the prior Sonic games, but it's not necessarily harder in gameplay. Frontiers will be easily enjoyed by kids who already love Sonic or those who are savvy with a controller, as very quick button pressing is necessary to move the plot forward.
Is It Any Good?
If you or your kids think you know what this franchise is all about, get ready for a wake-up call! Sonic Frontiers is a huge step forward for the Sonic series, and the result is a gorgeous game with realistic environments and mechanics. Jumping between levels and open-world content helps the player refresh their focus, avoiding a situation where they become bored or "used to" content. Taking a moment in between these hyper-fast speed rounds to relax, explore the environment, and build your skill tree is a welcome dynamic that previous Sonic games lacked. Utilizing this time to improve your skillset (a required feature) will almost certainly make players more comfortable with moving forward into further gameplay, instead of becoming overwhelmed. In this way, Frontiers provides a fantastic balance of clear direction and player independence – there's no hand-holding here, but you won't find yourself needing it, either. There are few negatives to this game, but a noteworthy problem is a storyline that's lacking in detail and context. This is disappointing for an open-world game, and there are moments of confusion where the player may find themselves looking for more context.
But overall, Frontiers is a fantastic combination of the core Sonic attributes (grab the rings, bounce off of the bad guys) and a vast open world with tasks, rewards, and enemies galore. For fans of the Sonic franchise, this is most likely a welcome edition, although it is unlikely to fully replace the classic level-style that is well known and loved. Instead, Frontiers gives fans old and new a chance to see how flexible Sonic is as a character and a concept by soaring in basically any format: handheld, console, desktop, open-world, chapters, levels – you name it, and Sonic does it well.
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.