Sonic Dream Team review: A welcome surprise to Apple Arcade

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The other day I was checking out the Apple Arcade on my Macbook when I saw a thing for this game. I brushed it off thinking it was a Sonic endless runner type game. A free phone app type thingy. But then I watched gameplay and was startled. It looked like Sonic Adventure. So I told my computer to automatically download it once it released and today…well, it’s here.

In Sonic Dream Team, you’re investigating the disappearance of Cream and Cheese, the Rabbit Chao team that sometimes appears in the Sonic universe. Using intel from Rogue the Bat you track them down to Eggman’s headquarters where they’re trapped inside a machine. Eggman is hooked up to the machine and is out cold. Suddenly the machine activates and Sonic, Amy, Tails, Knuckles, and Rogue are all knocked out as well.

Turns out that this machine allows entrance into the dreamscape. A place Eggman is, for some odd reason, trying to take control of because of course he is.

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Pretty soon upon arrival Sonic and the gang meet Ariem, the guardian of the realm. She immediately becomes your guide to this weird but familiar universe.

Once you head out you’ll find the game plays a LOT like Sonic Adventure but in mercifully short stages that can be beating in under three minutes each. It’s not that you want to get to the end quicker, but the short stages allow them to pack more into each experience. Each stage is a little arena that, similar to how Mario 64 works you’ll find yourself going back and taking a slightly different route to get your next dream orb.

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As you play you unlock more and more characters until you have the full six. There’s essentially three play styles with a male and female version of each. Sonic and Rose who you get from the jump are your traditional run and jump players and they’re a blast to play. Within no time I was grinding rails, dashing up quarter pipes, and tearing through stages. Tails and Cream can “fly”. They can move up and hover jump but their flight meter drains remarkably fast unless you fly through flight rings that refill your stamina meter. They were my least favorite as the flight is really slow and it feels like, for a brief moment, you’re just dragging along. All sense of momentum is lost during flight. The final two are Knuckles and Rogue. These ones weren’t as bad as their glide moves at the same speed they were running before they jumped so it didn’t feel like a drag. But the wall climbing did feel unnecessary especially as Sonic and Amy can straight up run up specific walls.

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While this game isn’t the best Sonic game you’ve ever played, I definitely found myself liking it more than Sonic Frontiers because, despite the developers promise, this reminded me so much of playing a Sonic Adventures game for the first time. Also, graphically it can get really pretty.

The story itself isn’t much to write home about, especially with the cut scenes being voice overs playing behind still images but for a free Apple Arcade exclusive I can deal.

If you have Apple Arcade, this game is absolutely worth hooking a controller up to your Mac for. If you don’t have Apple Arcade, you might have just found a reason to change that.

Sonic Dream Team Score: 8/10

Despite a barebones story, this is the 3D Sonic games fans have been waiting for for a long time. Solid graphics, great voice acting, tight assisted gameplay (to help from jumping off rails) and really fun boss fights make this a game worth investing your time into.