Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity Hands-On

We get our hands on Sega's Wii and PS2 hoverboard racer starring Sonic the Hedgehog.

107 Comments

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is the upcoming sequel to Sonic Riders and casts Sega's venerable hedgehog in a hoverboard racer with a selection of familiar faces. Yes, we know that Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and many other characters from the Sonic universe are a speedy lot and can even fly, but hey, it's the future and they need hoverboards now; roll with it. The original game was a multiplatform release for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, and likewise Zero Gravity is hitting the PS2 and Wii. We got our hands on work-in-progress versions of the game on both platforms to see what Sega is cooking up in the aftermath of the promising but uneven original.

After years of annoying appearances Amy finally gets smacked (okay not really).
After years of annoying appearances Amy finally gets smacked (okay not really).

If you missed the first game, Sonic Riders transplanted Sonic and company to a tech-heavy future and pitted them against Dr. Eggman, as well as a new set of avian foes dubbed the Babylon Rogues. The focus of the original game revolved around--surprise--retrieving chaos emeralds from the Rogues and Eggman. This time the action is a bit more mysterious, given that you find yourself teaming up with Eggman and the Rogues to discover what's up with meteorite fragments and robots rampaging in the city. As luck would have it, your investigation of the aforementioned mysteries involves much competitive hoverboard racing, as these kinds of investigations apparently do.

The game features a broad selection of modes, some of which are unlocked the more you play. The core of the single-player game is the story mode. When you first start the game, your only option is to play with Team Sonic through the heroes' storyline (no, not the acclaimed NBC sci-fi show). Once you work through it, you'll unlock the Rogues' storyline, which is called Babylon. Each story takes you through a series of races in which you'll need to place first to progress. Although you'll go through the same generally themed locales, there are some radically different tracks on each side that offer some variety. In addition to the story mode, you'll also have a normal race option that lets you choose free race, time attack, or world grand-prix races that support different configurations of players that run the gamut from two to four. The survival mode offers three race types--relay, ball, and battle--for one to four players. A world rankings option lets you see your standing against players around the world via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and also lets you download ghost data. (The PS2 game is obviously lacking the online support found in the Wii version.) An in-game shop offers a walk on the wild side to visit a Chao-run black market that lets you spend rings you earn during races on performance-enhancing gear for your assorted racers. (The game now features a roster of more than a dozen unlockable racers.) Finally, you'll find a comprehensive tutorial mode to familiarize yourself with the game.

You can upgrade your hoverboard over the course of race.
You can upgrade your hoverboard over the course of race.

The racing mechanics in Zero Gravity have been tweaked some since the original game, although they still hinge on gravity and air manipulation. The game's core mechanics still focus on you guiding a racer on a hoverboard through insanely designed courses. However, the new wrinkle to the action is the additional abilities made possible by the meteorite. You'll be able to perform special tricks at key points on the track, all of which help fill the GP meter you'll need to trigger special abilities. You'll also want to collect rings in order to power up your hoverboard's speed and abilities. The upgrades are permanent for the race you use them in and let you increase your speed, configure your board (to morph it into a vehicle), and refill your GP meter. Your big guns in a race will be the different gravity powers you'll be able to use to perform tight turns, earn massive speed boosts, and race along walls to discover shortcuts.

We found the controls for our riders to be decent enough if we stuck to the conventional options offered by the game. The PS2 game handled fine, with an intuitive button layout that made zipping around easy. The Wii was a bit more of a challenge because two of its control-scheme options revolve around using the remote. The first option has you hold the remote sideways, and you tilt and twist it to steer your racer and activate some of his or her abilities. The second option has you hold the remote normally, pointed directly at the screen, and lets you steer by twisting the remote left or right. Although both options are commendable for making use of the remote, they didn't quite offer the precision we were looking for as we tried to smoke the competition. Thankfully, the game's third control option lets you use a GameCube controller, which helped us considerably.

The game's presentation is shaping up well, with a good mix of sights and sounds that create the unique world you're racing in. The visuals in the game are solid on both platforms, with the Wii benefitting from more polish than the PS2 game. Sonic and company look good and sport a simplified, refined look as compared to their typical 3D platforming appearances. The Rogues are equally well done, although neither group of racers will blow you away. The tracks fare quite a bit better thanks to a fanciful design and a good amount of variety. There are some issues with the game's camera that make things annoying but don't really break anything crucial. The game runs fine on both platforms, but as you'd expect, the Wii game looks better. Finally, the game's audio provides a solid accompaniment to the visuals and serves up peppy voice acting and breezy, fast-paced tunes.

The various tracks in the game offer a good mix of environments.
The various tracks in the game offer a good mix of environments.

Based on what we played, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is shaping up to be a solid follow-up to the original game. There are some gameplay refinements that improve the experience over the original but, overall, Zero Gravity doesn't appear to be reinventing last year's wheel. If you liked the original game, you should be good with what Zero Gravity is bringing to the party. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is slated to ship early next year for the PS2 and Wii.

$38.06 on Walmart
Buy

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 107 comments about this story
107 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Thessassin
Thessassin

1819

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I played the first one, loved it and cant wait to get the second one

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IIHit-and-RunII
IIHit-and-RunII

43

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

i was really excited into getting this game, but when i got it. I really didn't get what i thought i would get :( i wasn't impressed, the worst thing is that Story mode is REALLY short, short enough to finish it in less than 2 hours!!! and the problem with online play is that u can only race the shadows of the 8 top racers of the world. It is an okay game but I finished it and got bored of it in 3 days. So i say Rent it first. Although it is kindof better than the first. (Wasn't impressed about this game AT ALL) Comon Sega where are the games like Sonic Battle 2!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for SonicLuigi87
SonicLuigi87

47

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

This game is AWESOMELY AWESOME the far most best game ever intil bawl comes out and by the way the day this came out is my BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for violet_yoshi
violet_yoshi

125

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Oh silly me I forgot. Female characters are annoying, only if they don't wear something that is revealing. Like, a corset bodysuit that pratically has their character spilling their breasts out of it. I see now, Amy is annoying cause she isn't a slut like Rouge?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for angelg2
angelg2

85

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

How can rougge be hot she a damn cartoon. just because she has big hunks does not me she hot. your are in love with a frickin' bat!?!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Arghyeeho
Arghyeeho

804

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Hated Sonic Riders, so I'll probably hate this one. Sonic about 10 times faster than the boards go. They should make a sequel to Sonic R instead.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for alex535
alex535

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Violet yoshi i think ur forgetting rouge, she's not a man. shes hot in this game too =P

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MattieIce
MattieIce

37

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Hey violet_yoshi... stop whining.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for silverzero7
silverzero7

51

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Better than the first ill say that

Upvote • 
Avatar image for violet_yoshi
violet_yoshi

125

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Wow, how professional, saying the main female character in the game is annoying. Yeah, I'm sure it must be annoying to be reminded that video gaming, is no longer a boys only club. How DARE Sega, remind you that girls play games too.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for IIHit-and-RunII
IIHit-and-RunII

43

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

This game looks awesome! can't wait to get it :D

Upvote • 
Avatar image for yearof3000
yearof3000

280

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

It looks better than the first one, and the story mode on the game is alot more different than the first one too with more action to it. And if you want to know the story about this game. Go on Sega.com and find the this game and watch the video.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for izayoi
izayoi

1718

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Even though I'm not a Sonic fan. I'll give this game a go. Try it out. Never played the first one.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for governmentproj
governmentproj

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i'm not so much excited about the game as much as i'm excited about how they FINALLY brought back the old (and better) in game graphics system. i've been crying that ever since sonic heroes came out

Upvote • 
Avatar image for greg_g33
greg_g33

158

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i own a wii, i love all the old school sonic games, i enjoy racing games. this game still looks bad. lol

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Crombian
Crombian

252

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

F-Zero GX.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sun_spirit
sun_spirit

920

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Doesn't look too bad, might have to pick this one up!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for blood_dragonx
blood_dragonx

191

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

LOOK GOOD

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DarkspineSonic0
DarkspineSonic0

195

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

greg_g33, what do you mean they're trying to make bad games. this game is gonna be AWESOME!!!! There's Nintendo Wi-Fi, new tracks and powers, more characters and boards, the ability to control gravity, you even get to play as Eggman, Blaze, and Silver!! HOW COULD YOU NOT LIKE IT!?!?!?!?!?! either you're not a Sonic fan, you hate racing games, or you don't own a PS2 or Wii. There's even a tutorial mode that I didn't see in the last game! i repeat HOW COULD YOU NOT LIKE IT!?!?!?!?!?!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for greg_g33
greg_g33

158

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's almost like they're trying to make bad games.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for NotoriousNick
NotoriousNick

1150

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 16

User Lists: 0

I'm glad this has Wi-Fi, that way whenever my friends can't make it we can still play. Also this is the first time I heard of GCN Controller support.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hobobski
hobobski

168

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Unlike like most, i like the first riders sure it was difficult, but im going to buy this looks interesting

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dakidukno
dakidukno

29

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I love classic Sonic games but i really cant defend how crappy the new ones have been lately. I'm hoping i'll have something worth anticipating after this.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for generalish
generalish

87

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

probably blow chunks just like the other 3d sonic games

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-59be76f5a5388
deactivated-59be76f5a5388

11372

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

I kinda wrote this game off, but it's shaping up really well.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for imnotwhite
imnotwhite

6437

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

dman go kill yourself! Sonic doesn;t suck he;s mediocre at best!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Dman360
Dman360

51

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

It's too late to try to redeem Sonic, SEGA (or SonicTeam, whatever) killed him, BIG TIME! I never really liked any of the Sonic games anyway, excpet for Sonic Adventure 1 & 2.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DS-man
DS-man

1443

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 309

User Lists: 0

looks awesome, the new tricks a wicked

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hawkfrost282
hawkfrost282

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

This game looks like it could be fun, i'll have to use the gamecube controller since the wii mote will probly by crap

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RikuXcx
RikuXcx

110

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

SEGA better not have f#%%^@ this game up...they can't afford another Sonic failure game...Sonic will die very soon if they continue to make lame games...hopefully they'll wake up and start making the games fun again...I personally don't want Sonic to die, but if it happens, then is happens, and SEGA will be all to blame, and if Sonic dies, then SEGA dies...people need to go up to the SEGA staff and b!tch slap them across the face so they can wake up and make good games again, like they did with Dreamcast. Especially the Sonic games.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for nintendofan659
nintendofan659

109

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

looks like another mess up from sega

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Cablestein
Cablestein

405

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 14

User Lists: 0

SONIC, america's drive iinnn....

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Telekenesis123
Telekenesis123

1129

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Sonic, take a hike.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Zbb250
Zbb250

36

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

should i get this game or not it looks awesome and is it like sonic rivals and sonic rivals 2 for the psp cause i liked those games they rock

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tashanvaliant
Tashanvaliant

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Ah crap, guilty pleasure game on the horizon :(

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Puscifer_No1
Puscifer_No1

2769

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The day SEGA make a Sonic game worth looking forward to, is the day they regain their pride and come out with the Dreamcast 2, cause the only decent "SEGA" game I own for the Wii is NiGHTS and there's no way in hell it features any blue hedgehogs

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dennis8
dennis8

405

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

cant sega make a grade A sonic title again? I'm also on the boat for wishing on a dreamcast 2, but Sega can't pull that off if it cant even make a sound game for its own mascot.. just hoping that this game can do it..

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DJDarkViper
DJDarkViper

91

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

Nice to know SEGA has made at least a marginal effort to improve the controls. I also didn't notice that you guys complained about the voice acting, does that mean they actually cared this time? so many freakin questions, haha. Ill preorder this either way, i enjoyed the last one

Upvote • 
Avatar image for plainelmo
plainelmo

105

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 0

It looks cool and fast and fun to play, I'll wait til it hits the shelves before I make any assumptions.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for grimybrit
grimybrit

779

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 25

User Lists: 0

Sonic Sucks!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for smasher_crazy
smasher_crazy

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

this is a decent game

Upvote • 
Avatar image for slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

429

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 0

@ blkkidwitagun Dreamcast 2 would be awesome but unfortunately aint gonna happen :(

Upvote • 
Avatar image for blkkidwitagun
blkkidwitagun

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Yeah I want a Dreamcast 2!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for salamence-x
salamence-x

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

it is perfect game

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mackdaddy1342
mackdaddy1342

61

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'm ready for Dreamcast 2.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hellpolice
hellpolice

352

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Finding out that several games are still being develop for the ps2 makes me keep mine, that's for sure.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for AnonymousDX
AnonymousDX

533

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

The ability to control gravity should make this game interesting. Grafically doesn't sound bad (specially being for the Wii, and since Sonic games speciality hasn't been grafics you can say the game is godd at that point). Hope it doesn't suck, it would be a waste of good ideas.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for -White_Knight-
-White_Knight-

153

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 15

User Lists: 0

Sonic on a board just doesn't seem right... however,Sonic on his feet isn't much fun anymore either... Just wait for SSBB.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for HyperMetaDragon
HyperMetaDragon

5345

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

"If you missed the first game, Sonic Riders transplanted Sonic and company to a tech-heavy future and pitted them against Dr. Eggman, as well as a new set of avian foes dubbed the Babylon Rogues. The focus of the original game revolved around--surprise--retrieving chaos emeralds from the Rogues and Eggman. This time the action is a bit more mysterious, given that you find yourself teaming up with Eggman and the Rogues to discover what's up with meteorite fragments and robots rampaging in the city. As luck would have it, your investigation of the aforementioned mysteries involves much competitive hoverboard racing, as these kinds of investigations apparently do." I think that just saved the game from flopping...this indicates that the game is actually going to have a story. Having a story is the base frame of a game.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Ivix
Ivix

256

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

MegaSonicZX's post below me cracked me up. I'm glad you're going to use one of the three available options. It would be very hard to play otherwise.

Upvote •