Developer: Hudson Soft
Genre: Party/Board Game
Capabilities: VMU & VGA Cord Compatible
Yes, the patented party games craze makes it debut on Dreamcast with the release of Sonic Shuffle, which just happened to be developed by Hudson Soft, the same people who worked on the trio of Mario Party games on the N64. Actually I never played any of these party games before so I dont know what Im in for, but will this deliver? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Well, the character models look nothing like they do off Sonic Adventure. They look a little bit on the cartoon-ish side, and pretty much part for part off the Saturday morning cartoon show. They all look really bright and colorful, and but they come off a little bit on the kiddy side to me. Actually this is probably the most kiddy Sonic game I ever played. The boards are really detailed too, each space has its distinguishing characteristic so you know what type of function it does. All the mini games look great, and look a lot like polished off N64 ones. Some they manage to fit on split screen, other mini games just use the whole screen with just smaller characters and environments. Everything runs at a fast frame rate, and slowdown is rare.
Now onto the bad, whenever you see the characters talk, (they actually use voices in this game to talk), and once they get done talking, you still see there mouths move, it just gets really annoying. Also between every battle, mini game, dual, there are horrid 10-15 second loading times, well at least they give you a screen with a tidbit on items in the game, but man will those loading times get on your nerve! Oh, yeah, the text screens are barely up there long enough and disappear before youre even done reading them!
Well, the voice acting is really good and sounds exactly like it does off the cartoon show, well, except for Knuckles voice, who sounds like an 80 year old Superman. But everything else, sounds appropriate, like the sound effects, and the background music is fairly decent as well, you barely here it over all the sound effects, but its faded just right so it doesnt get tedious.
The game is mostly turned based, so learning how to control is not a factor, well except in the mini games it is, but all have text screens telling you the fairly simple controls for all the mini games. This game really looks like the Mario Party games (havent played it, but seen enough pictures and reviews of it to make comparisons), except replace Mario stuff with Sonic stuff, like coins with rings, and so on. You go on a game board, and your object is to make it to several jewel stones randomly placed on the board, you move by selecting numbered cards, with secret cards like Dr. Robotnick, no wait, hes Egg Man now, cards that do something bad to you like miss a turn or lose rings. To get a jewel stone you must win a battle by playing a numbered card and having its number being equal or higher then your foes. Win battles to get items, you can use the items to do various things like move extra spaces, disable certain spaces from other players and so on. Other spaces have you lose rings, gain rings, get in mini games, or battles. The game plays rather slowly and can take upon over an hour to complete, with unfortunately, no mid game save function. So I was really disappointed to find out I had to come to work late after playing a game of this. Oh, and theres only 4 players: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, plus some others to be unlocked, which Ill explain later.
For game modes, theres only 4. First theres story mode, where you go travel with Sonic and friends in there quest against Egg Man (I just hate that name!) Then theres vs. where you just play one round for fun. Then theres a really good tutorial mode, which taught me pretty good on how to play the game in only 5 minutes. And last, there is the Sonic Room, which is basically the secrets shop thats been popping up in games like mad where you buy secret characters, boards and items. Oh, you can also keep track of stats in there too.
I guess this is really made as a party game for multi players, because I really didnt like the story mode one bit. Nor did I like playing vs. mode all by myself either. But I guess you might wanna play forever to unlock all that stuff in the Sonic Room if you want. I did have one friend over and he only played for about 20 minutes before out of no where, in a mini game, he yelled, No More! No More! Lets play NFL 2K and 1! And thats odd how my friend is usually a big fan of party games, but he didnt seem to like this one bit.
+: Nice (although really kiddy) graphics, great voice acting, mini games are fun
-: Weak story, no mid game save feature, horrible loading times
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 4.3
Replay Value: 2.1
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 5
I dont think I like these party games. I was sick to death of this game within an hour. Even if it has a great license, even though the graphics and sound are quite good in this game, the replay value and ill fated loading times make it worse. But I guess if you liked the Mario Party games, and if youre a fan of Sonic games, then I guess you should give this game a try.