Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

Nintendo Wii
Release date:
January 8, 2008
Sonic Team
1 - 4

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Find why Sonic's latest thrill left us with zero interest.

Review by Valerie Hilgenfeldt (Email)
February 15th 2008

We've all heard a thousand times how Sonic was Sega's answer to Mario, but the blue hedgehog gained fame because he was different. Considering, it's unfortunate that he's been forced into Mario mimicry for over a decade. Sonic Drift and Sonic R were replies to Super Mario Kart, and neither of them were awful games. Over ten years later, Sonic isn't receiving another third-party racing treatment – he's been dumped into an atrocious racer by his makers.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity bestows the label of "Complete Unimportance" upon the Riders branch. Its imperfect but enjoyable predecessor was, perhaps, underappreciated. With its unconventional control scheme, mastering its challenging courses rewarded the dedicated with a strong feeling of success. This entry lacks that, and much more.

...easily one of the most disappointing Sonic games ever made.

Zero Gravity did away with two commonplace abilities from the original Riders (and most mascot racers): You can't lean into turns or attack opponents. Replacing these functions are various forms of "gravity control", but they're more like "manipulations of gravity you can't control". The worst offender is the turning mechanism.

Surely to make Zero Gravity "neato," the ability to pause gravity was provided. It stops players, making them stationary so they may rotate toward any direction. This problematic rotating is painfully sluggish, and incredibly difficult to control. While you slowly spin, your competitors are blasting by you. Why? Evidently, your whimsical gravity bracelet can suck up cars, buildings, and so on, but it doesn't affect those you're racing with. Crazy!

As for that "analog stick" mentioned, it's on a GameCube controller. Using a Wii Remote with Zero Gravity is asking to loathe the Wii, forever. It isn't Nintendo's fault that Sega hasn't grasped Wii controls, and this shameful release mercilessly abuses them. Whether you choose the horizontal or vertical config, both the directional pad and the motion controls will be working simultaneously. United, they will destroy you.

Envision this: You're tapping right, but charging on with a slight left tilt. While cruising down a straightaway, you lean back in your chair and abruptly come to a total halt. Shaking the Remote to use an ability sends you smashing into a wall, and the whole game is impossible for average players to complete. Don't even think about the trauma this will inflict on poor, innocent children.

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