Sonic Riders – Zero Gravity

Every so often Sega releases an obscure sonic game like Sonic R, Sonic the Fighters, or Sonic Chronicles the Dark Brotherhood. One of these games is a unique racing game called Sonic Riders : Zero Gravity for Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2. This game is a sequel to Sonic Riders for the Gamecube, Playstation 2, and Xbox. One thing that sets this game apart from the others is the vehicles, known as extreme gear. Extreme gear come in many forms such as board, yacht, bike, skates, and air ride. Extreme gear act like how people think hoverboards should be to float off the ground. Extreme gear also have different stats and gear parts. Gear parts are activated by getting enough rings and pressing a button on your controller, it will also change the way the extreme gear functions such as giving the ability to grind or have a higher ring cap. Items appear in item boxes throughout the map. These items include rings, GP, and attack. The attack items allow players to attack and access shortcuts that require the player to be on foot. Any rings left at the end of the race are put into a bank and can be used in the shop to buy new extreme gear.

Another important thing is Gravity Points or GP for short. GP is acquired by crossing the start line as the start timer reaches zero or a bit later, doing tricks, and doing grinds/air ride/power shortcuts. GP is used for gravity control, a form of drifting around tight corners and can allow players to “wall run” when used on a ramp that shows the wall run icon and gravity dive which acts as a strong boost. Using either gravity control or gravity dive will deplete your GP gauge.

Three features exclusive to Wii players is the wiimote motion controls which can be enhanced with the wiimotion plus accessory, being able to play it on the wii u, and gamecube controller support for a similar control setup for those who have played the first sonic riders on gamecube.

There is also a few modes under survival mode such as survival relay in which you use the extreme gear as a baton(requires at least 2 players),survival ball which has players using gravity control to shoot a ball into goals around the map for varied amounts of points, and survival battle which pits players against each other to fire missiles to earn points or remove health until there is only one player standing.

At the beginning only, a couple of characters such as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and the Babylon rouges Jet, Wave and Storm are available. Also, there are 5 tracks to start with. One story is already unlocked at start, the hero story which revolves around 5 meteorites called the Ark of the Cosmos. After completing the hero story though, the other story is unlocked along with a few characters for free race. The story you unlock is the Babylon story with harder tracks and the true story. Upon beating a story mission for the first time you unlock a handful of missions for that specific track. New tracks, characters and sometimes extreme gear are also unlocked through beating the stories. A couple guest characters appear such as Billy Hatcher and Nights. They are unlocked by clearing all missions.

The visuals sometimes give off the same vibe as the music such as the track Gigan Rock which has a Japanese visual feel and a zen type song to accommodate that feel and the designs for the extreme gear feel high-tech like hoverboards should be.

Sonic Riders : Zero Gravity provides an interesting experience and a fun multiplayer game but the ai opponents can seem very difficult at first but when the player is skilled enough they still offer a bit of a challenge.