Sonic Riders can occasionally be fun but there is little lasting appeal.

User Rating: 6 | Sonic Riders XBOX
You would think with a speedy character like Sonic, you could have a long line of great racing games. Unfortunately, Sonic has tried many and although there are some good games (Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is great and Rivals is decent), he has had mostly mediocre or bad racing games (Sonic Drift). Sonic Riders was a neat idea, racing on hover boards, and this game can be fun but there isn't too much to offer.

The story starts off with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles patrolling the city when 3 mysterious birds riding on hover boards appear out of nowhere carrying a chaos emerald. Sonic steals one of their boards and rides after them but is almost immediately knocked off by their leader, Jet. The next day, Dr. "Eggman" Robotnik announces his new "Ex World Grand Prix" to the world in which is raced on "extreme gear". It costs one chaos emerald to enter, winner takes all. Sonic and his friends know something is up and decide to enter for themselves.

The graphics are alright for their time but during the cinematics, there is a gray circle below the characters that doesn't go away. I'm not sure if it's in the other versions but it's kind of annoying.

The game is, of course, a racing game in the style of a kart racer. The main game follows a bunch of missions, mainly just races themselves, only between Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Jet, Storm and Wave but free play has a total of 16 total to be unlocked like Amy, Shadow, Rouge, Eggman and more. You start every race on foot where you must run across the line when the timer says so, then you jump on your gear and you're off.

The game is on rails but you can jump and boost. Boost is useful and you can attack your opponents when using it but you have a meter that runs out if you use it too much. The amount of air you have increases every 30 rings you collect on the track, maximum is 90. When you run out of air, you're stuck on foot until you can get to a pit stop and refill your meter but the problem with this is it takes too much time and it slows down the race. However, when you jump off a ramp, you can perform tricks in the air. Land correctly and you can get some air back. Land incorrectly and you slow down a bit. You can also "drift" around tight corners which is highly recommended for you get a boost and can turn the corner better, but this also uses up air. When a player moves very fast, they create a turbulence which you can ride in to help catch back up.

The characters have been split into 3 categories; speed, flying and power. Speed characters like Sonic can jump on rails and grind which increases speed. Flying characters like Tails can launch off of certain areas and fly through boost rings in the air, taking a short cut. Lastly, power characters like Knuckles can punch through certain obstacles. All 3 are pretty balanced for the most part and all 3 increase your air meter as well.

One of the problems with this game, though, are the tracks. The design in them is ok but there are only 7 or 8 tracks to play in, plus a few variants. There are missions to complete as well to unlock certain content but some of these can be kind of frustrating. They mostly involve doing a certain about of tricks or collecting items. There is a battle mode too where you must knock out the other racers but it's not that great, although tag is ok; you must catch up to the player holding the chaos emerald. All rings you collect can also be spent at a shop where you buy new gear, some have better stats than others. There's more hover boards as well as skates and bikes, which aren't too different although bikes eat air more quickly.

Sonic Riders isn't a bad game at all, it's just ok. There is plenty of fun to be had while it lasts but there is little to no replay value. I would certainly recommend giving it a shot because it can be enjoyable but don't expect a Mario Kart.