Best iPhone games: Sonic Jump
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Sonic Jump is the best Sonic game for a long time because it's not really a Sonic game. It is Doodle Jump broken into themed stages starring all of the familiar Sonic characters, items, springs, sounds and spikes.
Don't mistake Sonic Jump for a lazy re-skin, though. Sonic Jump actually pre-dates Doodle Jump, having originally appeared on mobile phones as a little-known and poorly executed disappointment. This time around, Sega-owned developer Hardlight has handled Sonic Jump with real skill, gradually adding embellishments to the formula which Doodle Jump famously perfected.
It is a far richer game than Limasky's App Store smash, taking the perpetual jumping and tilting to tweak and refine the play. Sonic's movements are a little slower than the hero in Doodle Jump, and he can also jump manually with a tap of the screen, making it a touch easier to progress. Rings protect our blue-hued hero as you would expect, power-ups are on hand and enemies are vanquished only if attacked from below, which initially feels counter-intuitive. One more irksome feature of the Sonic games makes it over to iOS, though - the boss battles are unnecessarily irritating.
The in-game shop is unobtrusive and can be used to spend rings accumulated in-game on extra characters and power-ups. Plus, of course, there's the option to buy a great big wedge of rings for real money and make the game much easier. There's also a string of in-game objectives and a ranking system which will probably be ignored by all but the most dedicated completists.
Sonic Jump passes 'the nephew test' with ease, and provides older, more dedicated gamers with a shot of commuter-friendly nostalgia. While the visuals are very much in the 'modern Sonic' style, many of the enemies hail from the games of yore, and most of the sound effects seem to be pinched directly from the Mega Drive era games. As kids and families continue flocking to mobile and tablets for entertainment, it's on the App Store (where Nintendo and Mario fear to tread) that Sonic feels increasingly at home. Sonic games should be simple, colourful, instant fun - and iOS is becoming the franchises' unexpected saviour.
Sonic Jump is 69p on the App Store. Download it here.
This piece has been edited to acknowledge the original Sonic Jump's release, which hadn't been noted prior to publication.