Freaky Fridays: Sonic Shuffle

Here’s an instance of a game that I was going to write about for a Retro Review.  I played it for about 15 minutes before I shut it off and nearly snapped it in half.  What I experienced was so strange and soul crushing I couldn’t play it anymore.  The account below is my experience with one of the worst video games of all time.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the horror that is Sonic Shuffle, co-developed by Hudson Soft and Sonic Team, published by Sega for the Dreamcast.  Hit the jump and let the tears roll.

The opening cutscene is a bit off.  It’s not that it’s super boring, which it is, but that the characters mouths move so strangely.  Not one syllable lines up with any of the characters.  There are a lot of upward angles as well; giving you a direct line of vision into the red gash with white bits that is a mouth.  Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles are thrust into some kind of weird silo, I really didn’t pay too much attention to the story because I was so disturbed by their mouths and the fact I had to deal with Amy, one of my least favorite Sonic characters.  Her first line, “Forget about Sonic, just look at my clothes!”  No Amy, I will not forget about Sonic.  I know you’ve forgotten since you don’t appreciate the fact that you’re a lackey of his and that no one would ever play a game starring you, ever.  Dick.

So some crap happens, you’ve got to put the precioustone back together to help heal Maginary World, a world created from dreams.  Seriously. *Siigggggghhhhh.  Something else about a bad guy named Void, big fairies, yadda yadda yadda.  After your group decides to help out and fix all this junk, Knuckles smugly adds, “Well, I’ve got nothing better to do.” Why is everyone in this game such a dick?  So each character has a special power.  Sonic can run over Sonic spots, Tails can fly over Tails spots, Knuckles can….wait a second. They’re all the same power with a different coat of paint.  Why even go through the pomp and circumstance of say what the powers do if it’s basically all the same thing?  After you chose your character, you begin the game.

Before we get into the game itself, I just want to point out how stupid the story of the game is.  Its just a pretense to get Sonic onto a game board.  But its all about how he and his friends are going to work together to get the precioustone pieces back together.  But in the game you fight against your friends!  In Mario Party they gloss over it because it doesn’t matter.  But Sonic Shuffle begins with a ten minute cut scene!  FOR A VIDEO BOARD GAME!!!!!

The game’s mechanics all revolve around cards.  And not like kinda semi cool battle cards that have dragons and ninjas and stuff, but plain Jane numbered cards.  You use them to move around the game board and also to fight monsters.  Nothing is more dynamic to decide the outcome of a fight than a high number.  The alien things you fight are strange looking in the same way.  They all are single colored beings with tentacles and glowing eyes.  When you beat one you unlock part of the crystal.  It then flies to another part of the board and you have to go track it down.  What’s the point of even fighting?  Annoying.

On the Emerald City board, one of the first things you are told is that if you stay underwater too long, you will drown.  You can drown in a board game.  This is when I was really tempted to turn off the system.  The only thing that saved me was a dolphin path.  I can confirm it is the best part of the game.  You ride a dolphin to another part of the board.  Yes unfortunately that is the best part of the game.

This is where you can drown. This game makes me so sad.

I only played through one stone piece, and you need four to win.  Like, holy crap!  Why does it take an hour to play one board?  Imagine if you wanted to do a quick game with your friends before you enjoy your birthday cake.  Put that cake in the fridge because it will be rotten before you get done playing.

Minigames are lame.  Snakes is a jump rope game.  There’s a coin collecting game where you have to avoid the tide.  One game has a single player control a frying pan with the other players in it.  Oh, now I’m in a tornado collecting coins.  Dull and not very fun, the minigames are just one of the many reminders about how you’d rather be playing Mario Party.

After the fourth or so minigame, I quit.  I couldn’t hack it.  I got into the shower, sat down, and used a luffa until my skin burned.  Horrible experience.  Avoid at all costs.   I’m going to go barf up my Envirokidz organic Gorilla Munch cereal I’m so upset.  God, next week I’m going to write about a horror game because there’s no way it will scar me as bad as Sonic Shuffle has.

  • Oh No! A bad Sonic game.

  • I remember this game… sadly.

    I played it once and then maybe a second time. I remember purposely never inviting friends to play an obvious party game, because at that ripe age of fourteen I did not want to be an embarrassed Sonic fan.

    But I jest….. this game really was horrible. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the ridiculous load times, Alex.

  • Atarifever

    There is exactly one good game series of this type and that is Mario Party. Everyone else is stupid to try to copy it. Even Mario Party is only kind of good, and only then when playing with friends. Why make a derivative of a kind of okay game, that is only kind of okay when you can get three or four other people to play it, and even then only for a brief period of time before it bores you?

    It’s like someone made an okay kind of new Cola and then Pepsi and Coke changed their recipes to try to copy it. Put your resources somewhere better when you have great franchises.

  • Atarifever

    Know a great party game by the way: Warlords. They should do a flashy new Warlords staring Sonic as the ball, and with Knuckles, Tails, Amy, and Robotnik at different castles. You could have some power ups and boom: perfect Sonic Partyy game for 500 Microsoft points.

    Also, why all the hate for Amy? I think any character from the original 5 is okay (the five real characters on the Genesis/CD). That’s Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Robotnik. Hero, sidekick, love interest, rival, and enemy. You can tell any story with that cast. If Sonic didn’t have Amy what would he have for that role? Would he be being hit on by Knuckles? Would he have some lame “kidnapped 25 times” princess like Mario? Amy hits things with a hammer. That’s pretty good.

  • Tails, it’s just a card damn it, stop looking so impressed.

    Yeah, I don’t really like Mario Party. Never did.
    So, Sonic Shuffle, a Mario Party clone that couldn’t make something interesting or even just copy what worked in Mario Party.

    “You can drown in a board game.” – Why did you ever think that was a good idea Sonic Team?

  • Manic Maverick

    This is one of those games that I wanted to play just because it had to do with Sonic, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play it. It just didn’t feel right. Maybe that was the beginning of the downfall of Sonic for me. :C

  • sarahtonin

    Ugh this game

    As a child I found myself in the unfortunate position to be stuck with a cousin for a month with only this game to play. I am still in therapy……

  • @everyone who played the game.
    I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of use who have suffered. We need to have a big skype call where we cry and each peanut brittle. Wait, that sounds awesome.

    @everyone who didn’t play the game
    Consider yourself lucky/super smart.

    @ScottyMoFoSho
    I can’t really complain about the load times because its the dreamcast. Load times were part of the deal and I learned to cope by getting snacks and taking a whiz, usually both during the same loading screen.

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