Perhaps the world just was not ready for Sonic Jump in 2012. I know I wasn’t. We were in a world where an endless runner starring Sonic apparently made too much sense, and we instead got a game about Sonic and friends jumping. And so, being a skeptical Sonic fan who grew up with the Genesis games, I wasn’t much of a fan. After Sonic Dash came out, creating a more just world (because a Sonic endless runner should exist), maybe my outlook can change. Maybe I am ready to accept that Sonic Jump Fever can exist. And I accept it for what it is: a Sonic endless jumper that’s actually got some fun to it.
Thi is essentially the Bejweled Blitz take on Sonic Jump. Where the previous game used pre-generated levels each time, Fever is all about randomly-generated levels where the goal is to collect a lot of points and to last for as long as possible. This is done by constantly bouncing upwards, a la Doodle Jump, with the ability to do a double-jump in mid-air.
Oddly, characters lose their spinning jump to hurt enemies after the peak of their double-jump. This isn’t really in line with traditional Sonic physics, and it feels weird to constantly have to hit enemies from the bottom. It’s where this game feels more like an excuse to make a Sonic endless jumper, rather than a making a game built around what Sonic can do.
The game is all about getting high scores in a short amount of time, and getting and maintaining combo chains by constantly bopping enemies and item boxes is key, as short time extensions come by every so often. Still, even a good run will be a matter of a minute or so at best. There are boosts which help out, but my best score so far was achieved without needing them.
The game does gets a bit chaotic, and the playable character can get a bit lost in the scenery. Keep track of where they are and where enemies are though, and extended combos can happen. And that’s when the game gets fun – watching that multiplier increase as the clock keeps ticking down.
I think the new, faster structure actually feels a lot better for the game. Having the ability to just dive in to a quick round where you don’t know what to expect is actually pretty fun. The game is ruled by an energy system of five rounds, with the bar refilling in its entirety in about two hours (but there’s a way to speed it up to just one hour).
Getting five rounds in at a time is a pretty good pace to play this game at. I don’t mind energy systems if they fit the game and encourage players to not burn themselves out on what it has to offer. They can actually help a repetitive game like this last longer. And yes, this game is repetitive, if only by its very nature.
Plus, the game is surprisingly good about the money it encourages players to spend. There’s a nice startup kit which removes ads for $0.99, double rings for $1.99, or you can accelerate energy refills for $3.99. You can also purchase red rings (Sonic Jump Fever’s hard currency), but the game hands them out as level up rewards and small amounts are collectible while playing.
It’s not the ‘free-est’ free-to-play game ever, but it’s certainly a game that can be played for cheap or free. And if you just want to play a few rounds every now and then, the game does that.
So yes, while Sonic Jump Fever is not a perfect game and a little repetitive, it’s at least built to not overstay its welcome, and isn’t a bad game to just pick up and play for a few rounds at a time.