Video Game: Sonic Shuffle
Better play your cards right.Sonic Shuffle
is a Sonic the Hedgehog
-themed Party Game
for the Sega Dreamcast
that was released in November 2000.
Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are asleep one night when they receive a mysterious summons from Lumina, a fairy. Sonic assumes that they are dreaming, and they are; as Lumina explains, she brought them here to save Maginaryworld.
The world of dreams is threatened by the existence of Void, an evil, lonely being who shattered the Precioustone that grants people's dreams. This action also imprisoned Illumina, the Goddess of Dreams, rendering her unable to fix things. So Sonic and friends set off to recover the pieces of the Precioustone and save dreams for everyone.
That, and play mini-games.
The game was done by Hudson Soft
, the same company who Nintendo trusted with the Mario Party
series as well as the creators of popular multiplayer games like Bomberman
. However, despite having the same people who worked on Mario Party
work on the game, Sonic Shuffle
failed to live up to Mario Party
's success and is usually considered a disappointment for reasons such as Loads and Loads of Loading
, an AI of such a cheating degree that Save Scumming
is almost required in single-player, and an overly complex ruleset for both the board game and minigame elements. It did have some rather fun mini-games, so while it's not up to the standards of Mario Party, it can be enjoyable if played with a group of friends.
This game contains examples of:
- Anvil on Head: Eggman's punishment to the player furthest from the Precioustone.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Eggman's plans range from killing everyone with lightning in Thor's Hammer to...shaking a can of soda in Sonicola.
- Artificial Brilliance: The AI is superhumanly smart and lucky most of the time, even on easy. They will stop going to the Precioustone to complete sidequests if the board gives them the opportunity, and are good at using teleporting squares and the roulette to their advantage.
- Artificial Stupidity: Just a few examples, but they can be crucial to victory.
- The one dumb thing AI players will constantly do is pick Eggman cards at critical moments.
- If the number the AI chooses is larger than the number of spaces it takes to reach the Precioustone, they will turn around and go the opposite way no matter what.
- On Hard Mode, the AI will often go to where the Precioustone will appear next rather than where it currently is. This makes them easier to deal with than on Easy Mode, where they go straight for the Precioustone that's out on the field.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The mini-game Gargantua has Eggman turning one character giant. Your defense? Pop guns.
- Big Bad: Void, who threatens Maginaryworld's existence, shattered the Precioustone, and sent monsters to guard its pieces.
- Blackout Basement: The "Great Escape" mini-game involves the characters in a maze on a roof that is completely dark (save for a spotlight hovering over it). To get to an escape rocket, they must carefully navigate the maze, making sure not to fall into any pits that send them back to start. There are four switches in the maze, that turn the light on when stepped on, and off when stepped off.
- But Thou Must: If you're not aware of Sonic's special move at all times (playing the same number on consecutive turns doubles the amount of spaces you can move), you can overshoot where you're trying to go, since with the double-move you must move the required double amount of spaces. This problem is all the more baffling because Big has a similar special move, only he CAN stop anywhere within the double-move.
- Button Mashing: Some of the mini-games revolved around this.
- Calvin Ball: Gamespot and other reviewers complained that the game was hard to understand.
- Card Battle Game: Cards are used both to move around and attack monsters.
- Cel Shading: One of the few Sonic games to use it.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land: Maginaryworld in general.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Regardless of the difficulty, they seem to hit exactly the right numbers and steal your best cards. Even when every player has a full deck, and they have the exact card they need, they'll steal it from you anyway in a manner that almost seems to suggest the AI has achieved sentience and is apparently a massive jerkass. Good luck trying to find one you need from their deck because you can't see their cards. They're also very good in Mini-Games, even luck-based ones, and are almost flawless in Mini-Events. It's to the extent that a player will need to save-scum to complete the one-player mode.
- While the AI and the frequent loading are generally pointed to as the cause for Shuffle's mediocrity, playing with more players at least alleviates the former problem. Good luck on the loading times, though.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Lumina and Void both do this, carrying on about their purpose and loneliness. Justified as they are part of the same being; they fuse to bring Illumina back. In fact, it was Illumina's own contemplating that planted the seed of doubt that started this whole mess.
- Cool Train: The Riot Train starts off as a runaway steam locomotive, but once the Precioustone is restored, it becomes a silver, winged, flying train.
- Damsel in Distress: Illumina, the Goddess of Dreams.
- Dartboard of Hate: In Versus Mode, the "Sonic Darts" mini-game involves players throwing darts at a dartboard with a picture of Dr. Eggman in the middle. Since it is a play order mini-game, the player who gets closest to the center gets to move around the board first.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The final Nature Zone Precioustone must be unlocked with one of four keys, and Riot Train's final Precioustone must be reached by stepping on a certain space. Attempting to use a Preciousite to skip the paths will cause the Jewel to fail.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Defeating Void's monster form by dropping rocks on his head.
- Void imprisoned the goddess Illumina when he shattered the Precioustone.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The main Precioustone and its pieces have been shattered and must be put back together.
- Dream Land/Magicant: Maginaryworld is a world made of dreams that can only be accessed while dreaming.
- Dungeon Bypass: Amy, Tails, and Knuckles can move across exclusive spaces, creating shortcuts.
- The Preciousite Force Jewel. If you roll a 1, you jump straight to the stone.
- Dunking The Bomb: The "Bomb Relay" mini-game involves teams of two racing to see who can toss their bomb into the lake before it explodes.
- Easter Egg: Playing on Christmas Eve will replace Lumina with NiGHTS, and playing on April Fool's Day will replace her with Reala.
- Eldritch Abomination: Void's monster form. Its head is its chest, and it has multiple eyes poking out of it.
- Enemy Mine: Some mini-games revolve around all four players working in cooperation.
- Evil Is Petty: Eggman has no real reason to be in Maginaryworld, but he messes with Sonic and friends anyway.
- Exposition Fairy: Lumina is a fairy who tells the others about the situation and the boards.
- Expy: Lumina, for the Sega character NiGHTS. And Void for Reala, from the same series.
- Fairy: Lumina is a fairy, and Void may be one as well.
- Fight Like A Card Player: Cards are used both to move around and attack monsters.
- Fixed Damage Attack: Amy's special in battle always does 5 damage.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Illumina does have hair◊, but you can only see it for a split second.
- Fusion Dance: Lumina and Void do this to bring back Illumina.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Illumina can't help save Maginaryworld due to her imprisonment, so she requires Sonic's help.
- Green Aesop: The Nature Zone's plants and trees are dying because of odd machinery and structures. Clearing the board destroys the machines and makes a huge, beautiful tree grow.
- High-Altitude Battle: Accident mini-games on the Firebird take place on top of the plane, and so do battles on that board.
- Holiday Mode: Playing on Christmas Eve will replace Lumina with NiGHTS, and playing on April Fool's Day will replace her with Reala.
- Jungle Japes: The third board, Nature Zone, is a huge jungle that's slowly dying due to Void.
- Lethal Joke Character: Two unlockable characters, Big the Cat and Chao, have special moves that are quite useful.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Present throughout the game, thought not to the extent of, say, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. The load times themselves are not that long but they happen frequently, since disc access is required anytime gameplay is moved off the board map. The loading screens had pretty pictures, as well as hints that explained what the various forcejewels do.
- The final map, 4th Dimension Space, took longer to load than the others since it was very graphic-intensive.
- Locomotive Level: The fourth board, Riot Train, is set on a runaway train.
- Luck-Based Mission: Some of the mini games, such as 'Sonicola'. 'Egg In Space' is pretty random, too.
- Magic Music: One Mini Event has Eggman playing a tune that makes you fall asleep.
- Meaningful Name: Lumina Flowlight is a light fairy, while Void is a being of darkness.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Precioustones and the Force Jewels.
- Mini Game Game: The Mini-Games and Mini-Events are the main attraction.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The villain, Void.
- Nintendo Hard: The crocodile escape minigame is almost impossible to do with human hands.
- Same for the "stop the train" mini-game in Riot Train.
- Even on Easy, the AI was harder than in most party games.
- The mini-game 'Psychic Sonic'. You practically do have to be psychic to select the right card before the computer.
- Non-Dubbed Grunts: Most of the characters' voice samples outside of cutscenes are recycled from Sonic Adventure, particularly for the unlockable characters.
- Non-Indicative Name: Despite being classified as a Force Jewel, Carbuncle is a fairy that eats them. And itself, if it's already eaten all of your Force Jewels.
- Not So Different: After a while, Lumina doubts her purpose in life and asks if she's all alone, even lampshading that she's acting like Void.
- 100% Completion: Getting all the pictures, mini games, mini events, and unlockable characters.
- One-Winged Angel: Void becomes a huge monster at the end of the game.
- Ordinary Drowning Skills: Spend 5 turns underwater in Emerald Coast without landing on an air bubble and you drown, losing a turn.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Amy's line after they arrive in Maginary World: "Forget about Sonic! Just look at my clothes!"
- Palmtree Panic: Emerald Coast, though it's partially frozen over.
- Party Game: Up to four players can join in the fun.
- Phoenix: The Fire Bird turns out to be one.
- Poison Mushroom: The Carbuncle item eats other Force Jewels.
- Autocannibalism: If you have no other Force Jewels, the Carbuncle will eat itself.
- Pop Quiz: One of the most common Mini Events is a quiz show hosted by Eggman.
- Press X to Die: If you pick the Eggman card in a battle, you instantly lose.
- Random Event: 'Accident' mini games. Mini Events are randomized, too, as are the Force Jewels you collect.
- As are the random board events, like saving a trapped dolphin in Emerald Coast.
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: Maginaryworld and its physics are very loose at best, particularly in mini-games and on the final board.
- Rock Theme Naming: Many of the Force Jewels. Preciousite, Carbuncle, and Barrier Amber are just a few.
- Scenery Porn: Maginaryworld's lands are pretty, as are some of the Mini-Events.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Some of the Mini-Events work out like this; a hooded boatman can either be Illumina, Void, or Eggman, each with different responses.
- Secret Character: Four; they are Gamma, Big the Cat, a Chao, and Super Sonic.
- The Smurfette Principle: Amy is the only female playable character.
- Spin-Off: This isn't a main Sonic game.
- Split Personality Merge: Lumina and Void are both parts of Illumina; fusing brings her back.
- Spoiler Opening: The opening movie, which is played before the title screen, shows Illumina disappear into a flash of light, which Lumina and Void emerge from. Guess what's revealed at the end?
- Starfish Aliens: The creatures guarding the Precioustone pieces.
- Super Drowning Skills: In some minigames.
- Trainstopping: The end of the board minigame for Riot Train.
- Trippy Finale Syndrome: 4th Dimension Space has no real floor, letting you walk upside down, sideways, and diagonally in space.
- Troll: The AI will often choose your cards just to mess with you, even if they have a card of the same number.
- The Unreveal: We never learn what Sonic's dream is despite learning everyone else's.
- Whammy: The Eggman card will cause him to do something bad to the user (unless you land on the golden space, in which case he'll give all the players Swap Jewels). This can range from losing a turn to losing all your rings. In a battle, it makes you automatically lose.
- Whip It Good: One monster on Riot Train is a cowgirl who wields whips.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Void. He has no idea what he's done wrong or even why he exists, and feels tormented by Sonic and friends wishing to stop him. He also kickstarted the whole plot in the first place and turns into a terrifying monster at the climax.