In this sequel to the long running franchise, Sonic must retrieve the Chaos Emeralds to piece back his home planet after his nemesis Eggman blows it apart, unleashing a Dark Gaia force. This force turns Sonic into a Werehog at night, completely changing both Sonic's appearance (not his personality, mind) and the gameplay. The story should keep kids entertained, which is a good thing since there are plenty of un-skippable cutscenes which have been well rendered and annoyingly voiced with the usual American accents that everyone (who isn't American) has come to hate.
The main problem is that most of the game feels like it's been designed for kids. That's fair enough, but what's left for the veteran Sonic fans? Well, Sega seems to think that adding in the odd 2D side scrolling sections in the daytime sections will keep us all happy. Sadly though, these sections involve little skill, and are much less challenging than the proper 2D versions. This isn't to say that the daytime stages are all that bad though, since they are pretty good fun to play through. The fast speed, excellent controls and several "hidden" paths all add layers of depth which will then add to the core gamer's delight, but the problem is that these stages don't offer that much challenge, and still feel like a kids game in terms of difficulty.
The other half of the game (by which we mean the night-time stages) aren't quite as good as their daytime counterparts, since they offer absolutely no classic Sonic moments whatsoever. In fact, you could trick the player into thinking they are playing a new Jak and Daxter game by replacing the rings with Precursor Orbs and replacing Sonic with Jak. These night time sections involve you walking around (or running by tapping the joystick in the appropriate direction twice - although this is very awkward to handle) stages, stopping every now and then to do the odd bit of pole swinging and jumping.
One of the main parts of the night stages are that you'll often encounter enemies that you must defeat before you are allowed to continue. Several of these will spawn at once, and with a few taps of the attack buttons or a few swings of the remote and nunchuck (depending on which control scheme you are using - we strongly recommend either controlling these sections with a traditional control style, or not playing at all) they'll all die fairly quickly. For beat-em-up fans, these sections may be fairly appealing, but they weren't for us.
The sad thing is that the night-time stages occur a lot more than the daytime levels, with three of them (each lasting around seven or eight minutes) to play through at once, compared to the measly five minute play through on a daytime level, followed by a quick mission or two (where you play back through a section of the level you just completed, with an objective such as "don't hit the jars"). There are the odd extra missions to complete when you wish, but these aren't entirely necessary to complete the game.
In addition to all this there's also an awkward menu interface thrown in to keep you "entertained" where you talk to villagers to find out where to go next, but otherwise there's little else to do other than find all the collectables, which have supposedly been hidden (for an example of how well most of them are to find, imagine a fat man hiding behind a candlestick).
It's all a real shame, since there has clearly been a lot of effort go into the graphics and soundtrack. Basically, this is a game for the kids. They'll (probably) love it, and it shouldn't be too hard for them (levels with glitches not included). For hardcore Sonic fans though, you're going to have to keep waiting a little while longer...