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Sonic Frontiers review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Switch
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega / Sonic Team
Medium: Digital/Cartridge/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Should you play Sonic Frontiers? Maybe. It’s an odd game, but it also does some interesting things, so it’s really dependent on how much you want to see Sonic in an open-world (sorry, “open zone”) setting. I’ve played worse games, and at the right price I think it’s probably worth it.

Should you play Sonic Frontiers on the Switch? Now that…that’s a much more complicated question.

The good news is that Sonic Frontiers on the Switch is the same game, essentially, that you’d play on any other system. If you want to explore a decent-sized world, collecting lots (and lots and lots) of rings and hearts and all kinds of other collectibles, you’ll get that here.

Mind you, this also means that you get the same less-than-great parts of Sonic Frontiers, too. The so-so platforming with a camera that can’t always keep up with where Sonic is? That’s here. The combat that often feels a little reliant on button-mashing? Also here. The annoying minigames that you occasionally have to compete to move the story along? Yep, those are present too.

But playing Sonic Frontiers on the Switch doesn’t just mean enjoying the good parts of the game and enduring the annoying parts. It also means putting up with one of the ugliest games I’ve ever played on the Switch.

On the one hand, I get it. Even if it’s not officially an open-world game, these zones are pretty huge, and making it so that Sonic can zoom around without loading screens every few seconds is a pretty impressive technical feat.

But just because Sonic Team were able to make it happen doesn’t mean that there weren’t some pretty significant compromises made in the visual department. For example: thanks to the weather cycles that are a feature of the game, right when I got dropped into the open world at the very beginning, it was raining. Or, more accurately, it was supposed to be raining, but it looked like I was watching the game through a very old, very fuzzy CRT TV where I didn’t subscribe to the channel I was trying to watch.

I’d like to say this was a one-off thing, and that once the rain cleared up it improved, but that didn’t happen. Even in perfect weather, everything here looks dull and unfocused. Pop-in is a constant, whether we’re talking about the grass around you, or trees, or enemies, or, uh, entire mountains.

It would be great to say that none of this matters, and that the gameplay is enough to carry Sonic Frontiers. And, to be fair, during the more traditional gameplay sections, the game performs mostly fine. But seeing as you spend the vast majority of your time here wandering through a hideous open world, the performance is an issue. If you can put up with that thanks to a deep and abiding love of all things Sonic, I wouldn’t fault you – but if you take one look at this ugly mess and decide you don’t want any part of it, I wouldn’t blame you for that either.

Sega provided us with a Sonic Frontiers Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C

Sonic Frontiers – Nintendo Switch (Video Game)

Manufacturer:  Sega of America
ESRB Rating: 
Platform: 
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