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Scrappy Mechanic / Sonic the Hedgehog

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The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has had a run-in with a lot of scrappy mechanics over the years.

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  • Speed Booster objects are a particularly infamous example, as they went from being a rare or sometimes occasional gimmick to a common feature mostly used by the level designers for cheap thrills and to railroad players into a certain path. It's especially bad as when speed boosters were used in the Genesis games, they usually looked visually different in a way that matched the stage setting, and usually worked in different ways. Ever since the 3D games (and the 2D games as well, starting with Advance), however, speed boosters can be seen in any level with the same simple designs and functions, regardless of context. On top of that, they often result in irritating sections that contain more pits than ground the player could walk around on.
  • Grinding rails are also seen in a similar light to speed boosters, and have garnered similar complaints. Similar to the speed boosters, their implementations in the games became more stale over time; early 3D titles include certain mechanics that were needed to stay on the rails and increased the player's speed when grinding, which were simplified and eventually scrapped in later games. Switching between rails in Adventure 2 and Heroes were also notorious for refusing to function half of the time. Players are intended to quickly switch between rows of rails by tilting the stick towards a rail on the left or right and then tapping the jump button to switch; but this could frequently result in the game simply throwing you off the chains of rails completely, leaving the character to plummet into a bottomless pit.
  • The methods required to access Special Stages in certain games can also get absolutely frustrating, namely ones that require obtaining collectible items before the end of the level; with Heroes and Advance 2 being among the most infamous examples. The former has golden keys that turn playthroughs into no damage runs (getting hit without a shield or dying results in the key being lost permanently, though each stage does at least have multiple keys along the level); while the latter has seven medals that require strategy guide-level plannings for playthroughs in order for them all to be collected in one go (the game's heavily streamlined focus for speed puts easy exploration in levels and slower-paced gameplay at the bottom of the priority list, and this is in addition to the medals themselves being placed in obscure locations).

    Sonic 1- 3 and Knuckles 
  • The spike "bug" in Sonic the Hedgehog, which is actually deliberate: you don't get Mercy Invincibility when hitting spikes until you land on solid ground, meaning that if you fall onto a particularly long bed of spikes, it's likely you'll bounce back onto the spikes a second time and die without a chance to recover. Later versions and all subsequent games remove this "bug".
  • To make Scrap Brain Zone Act 3 more challenging, the air bubbles take much longer to spawn than in Labyrinth Zone.
  • Sonic 1 and 2 have the final boss fought without any Rings at all. While this isn't so bad in 1, 2's final boss is two fights back-to-back and Robotnik's mech takes 12 hits to destroy instead of the standard 8.
  • There are several moments in the Genesis games with two springs/bumpers that bounce you back and forth. You can usually get out with a single jump, but you must time it so that you don't go flying backwards. Naturally, this is not a popular mechanic except in CD, where they serve as convenient "time machines" for the time travel mechanic.
  • Sandopolis Zone's infamous pyramid, where you have to periodically hit switches to avoid the lights dimming and ghosts coming out. Even worse, the level consisted of several sections where players would run around in a circle until they stumbled on the correct path, and there were timed puzzles that had to be completed for the player to progress. Good luck trying to finish within the 10-minute time limit.
  • To compensate for his ability to climb on walls and glide, Knuckles' jumping height is half of Sonic and Tails', making the final boss of Sonic 2 an absolute nightmare as the only way to hit it is when it bends down after landing.
  • Carnival Night Zone's Barrel of Doom. In order to use them, players have to alternate between holding up and down in a rhythm, but you can get past every other barrel by jumping on it repeatedly. Casino Paradise in Sonic Advance also features the barrels, but they do not work the same way they did in Sonic 3. If you played Advance before Sonic 3, you'll be even more screwed when you reach CNZ. They also appear in Circus Park in Shadow the Hedgehog and are completely automatic, which could screw you up even further.
  • Sonic 3 and Knuckles had the game breaker transformations be activated by pushing the jump button twice after fifty rings, mandatory. Sonic's can be considered a minor defensive loss, but Knuckles and Tails, both of whom used flight or climbing (doubly so in the latter's case due a shorter jump) meant that they were going to have to activate the powerup regardless of if they wanted to or not. Though, at least it's not as bad as in the prequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where Sonic can automatically transform into Super Sonic after pressing the jump button with at least fifty rings only once.

    Sonic CD 
  • Time traveling. First, you need to find a relevant time travel post. Then, you need to build up enough speed so that Sonic generates sparks. And then you have to maintain that speed until the time travel cutscene happens; if your speed drops after you've started making sparks, your time travel token will be used up, and since posts are single-use only, you'll have to find another one. And if you don't want to time travel, you're screwed if you're somewhere with a lot of speed boosters. Oh, and "Past" and "Future" posts only let you travel forward or backward one time period at a time (you need two Past posts to go from either Future to the Past, and two Future posts to go from the Past to either Future), which means being sent to a Bad Future almost ensures you can't make it to the Past to destroy the enemy transporter, and rarely will you see Good Futures for the first and second Zones of a given Round due to the amount of time traveling needed (Present -> Past -> Present -> Good Future)note . Also, very few of the levels in the game are designed in a way that allowed the player to travel between time zones easily; some levels actually seemed to be actively working against the player in regards to accessibility. It's not uncommon in the game to get a time travel post and start building enough speed needed to travel through time, only for a random platform, wall, or badnik to appear and force you to a halt, effectively wasting the time travel post you just gained.
  • The special stage minigame in which you can just get all the Time Stones and thus ensure Good Futures for all zones without having to deal with the hassle of time-traveling are noted to be little better. These stages have Sonic running at full speed on an island in full 3D, where touching water at any point will cause the timer to quickly drain. To win, players have to destroy all the flying saucers in the stage before time ran out. The problem? The saucers are in 2D, which make it near-impossible to properly judge the distance between them and Sonic on a 3D plane. Determining exactly when Sonic needs to jump without falling short — and, in worst-case scenario, landing in water — is extremely difficult due to this fact. For this reason, they are considered by many fans and critics to be the absolute worst special stages in the whole franchise. So, basically, any attempt to achieve the good ending, be it through changing the past or slogging through special stages, is a chore.

    Sonic Spinball 
  • The steam valves in Lava Powerhouse used to get into the air so Sonic can bounce off of randomly spawning Clucks, and rise up to higher levels. They're very finicky while presenting no actual challenge or danger.
  • The first level has a segment where you need to row an oil drum boat to another board to get a Chaos Emerald. Not only is it never specified you can do this, you can leave the drum behind and make the previous area much more dangerous, or miss the drum entirely when trying to enter it and die.

    Sonic Adventure series 
  • Big's fishing from Adventure is probably the most infamously disliked mechanic in the series, and was a big reason why fans requested he be removed from the series.
  • Gamma's hover mode over water. Fine in Emerald Coast, but an absolute pain when raising Chao, since it makes it impossible to pick up Chao or animals that fall in the water.
  • A Chao's stats are randomly determined at birth. If it has an E ranking in a stat you wanted to raise, no matter how much you give it it will raise extremely slowly and weakly, and always be weaker than a Chao with the same level of a higher rank. You can gradually raise the ranks by training them in the weaker stats until they evolve or reincarnate, but the game does not tell you this.
  • Adventure 2's shooting levels are rather frustrating affairs compared to Gamma's, due to sloppier controls, slower movement, and their levels having a higher emphasis on platforming and shooting enemies. Eggman's Sand Ocean is notable for having a lot of platforming on moving platforms, with touching the sand being unavoidable death, and being before the very helpful hovering upgrade unlike Tails' sand level. Meanwhile, Tails' Eternal Engine has breakable airlocks which can barely be outrun as they try to suck you into space, again with being pulled only a little outside immediately killing him.
  • Emerald hunting is also commonly seen as more tedious in 2, since the radar now only shows the pieces in order and there is no Tikal to show you to them. The number of random locations in a stage has jumped from 23 to over 100, and the way the game spawns them makes locations that are farther away appear more frequently.
  • The safes in Rouge's 3rd stage, Security Hall. There are three colors of safe, only one of which at a time can be unlocked to be able to open the safes. The only way to switch colors is to travel all the way to the top of the map to hit an appropriate switch, of which the three of them are spread out. To top it off, it's one of only three timed first missions in the game, and it has a much lower limit than the other two at only 5 minutes. The always-timed fourth mission reduces this to 3 and a half.
  • Mad Space (Rouge's fourth proper stage) is also infamous for its poor controls on the altered gravity of the stage's planetoids. The hints for its pieces are also reversed, being written backwards for the first one and stating the opposite of the truth for the other two. Egregiously, the pieces that move have hints that are just gibberish, being copied hints from other pieces that usually have no relevance to the actual location. This may be why most of them were removed in the Battle port, but the three worst ones - being located on moving trolleys on the sides of the planets, with either the worst of the gravity controls or having the bottom face the walls (with slower movement than walking, to boot) that are needed to get to it, and having annoyingly small hitboxes to grab them - were not.
  • Shadow's last stage, Final Chase, has spinning drums have their own gravitational pull, with similarly awful control problems. After the beginning, the stage is not friendly with backup platforms for the high likelihood of falling off of them, leading to many deaths in what's already the second-longest standalone stage in the game.
  • The kart driving levels for Tails and Rouge have stiff, sensitive controls, a tendency to crash and spin out for a few seconds if you hit a wall at a liberal angle. They also have special missions to avoid hitting other cars or to avoid hitting walls, and these are regarded as the hardest missions in the entire game.
  • The Finalhazard, while not a hard boss, has completely unexplained mechanics. Hitting A moves up and forward while B moves you downward and forward. Going left and right is done with the control stick, so you move diagonally most of the time. Getting hit by anything blows you to where you started. There are no Rings to retain your Super form with; the only way to recover them is to switch between Sonic and Shadow by flying past the boss, which means getting hit repeatedly is almost certain doom.
  • Most of the characters' abilities are all mapped to one button, which causes many problems as the game tries to determine the context for which one you want. Many times have players fallen into bottomless pits as Sonic or Shadow by accidentally somersaulting or using the Bounce Attack when they wanted to Light Dash on the Rings crossing the pit. Sonic's Crazy Gadget is especially frustrating for having levers to switch gravity mapped to this button, on top of basically requiring you to stop moving to use them. While not deadly, somersaulting past the lever is annoyingly common.

    Sonic Shuffle 
  • The person farthest away from the Precioustone when one is collected loses half their rings, courtesy of Eggman. If they have no rings, they lose a turn.
  • Losing a Duel. The winner steals the difference in rings from their opponent. The loser not only gives up the difference in rings, but also loses a turn, making is very unfair for the losing player. Thankfully, this is disabled in Story Mode.

    Sonic Heroes 
  • Life meters for mooks. Although this adds to the power characters' usefulness (they can one-shot regular Egg Pawns at level zero), and you can of course level up your speed and fly characters to deal out more damage, a portion of fans feel having to hit normal enemies multiple times to destroy them slows things down too much. Bosses have the same problem; rather than being a set number of hits like all prior games, they have large health wheels and are fought by trying to mash out attacks while avoiding their own. Two of the bosses are even just giant waves of enemies.
  • The pinball portion of Bingo Highway and the spiderweb in Mystic Mansion both boil down to the same basic issue: Lack of precise control while moving at high speeds. The spiderweb alone is why Team Chaotix's mission to extinguish torches is considered one of the hardest in the game, as is the bingo 'collect all the numbers' mission.
  • The special stages are among the most infamous in the series, having you collect colorful balls to power up your speed enough to catch a moving Chaos Emerald. Doing this requires you to switch between characters on the fly, navigate a tube similar to Sonic 2's stages with little in the way of precise controls, and not get hit at all during the preceding level. Most players give up on doing these with anyone but Team Rose... except that Team Rose, being slower than the other teams, had a rough time with the more challenging Special Stages.
  • To unlock the Last Story, you not only need to complete every story, which is already tedious since most stages are the same for all four teams (just with different enemy, platform, switch, and item placements), but you also need to complete all of those special stages to get the Chaos Emeralds.
  • The Homing Attack is weirdly programmed. They don't always hit the closest target and instead function as a standard jump dash, resulting in occasional events where you can try and attack an enemy, only for the player to end up shooting themselves off into a different direction. It's especially bad as there are many bottomless pits in the game, so players can end up unintentionally end up throwing themselves into a pit.

    Sonic Advance Trilogy 
  • Sonic Advance removed the Insta-Shield's invincibility, which was the entire point of the move. Advance 2 then rendered it even more useless with its level design direction and the fact it is overriden by the Homing Attack most of the time.
  • Getting the Chaos Emeralds is a large pain across all three games in some way. In the first game, it's the Special Stages themselves being awkward to do, in the second game it's having to collect the Special Rings in order to access the Special Stages (which are then even more awkward than the Special Stages of the predecessor), and in the third game it's having to scour levels for Chao.

    Sonic Battle 
  • The ridiculous number of storyline fights that are immediately followed by, essentially, the same fight but with twice the KOs. This may have been an attempt to increase the number of Skill Points available, but if so, there were better options.
  • The randomized skill collection system means you can beat the entire game several times over and still be missing certain attacks.

    Shadow the Hedgehog 
  • The weapons may work pretty well (at least on the Gamecube version), but only a couple of them have reticles to show what Shadow is actually aiming at.
    • The exception to this is the melee weapons, which have atrocious range requiring you to get dangerously close to the enemy, and they're not even strong weapons.
  • Unfortunately, the vehicles are not so polished — especially the motorcycle that was marketed all over the damn place in the trailers and the intro cutscene.
  • The physics engine was kept from Heroes, including all of its problems listed in that section. However, on top of that, Shadow is much tighter in its platforming challenges and lack of flashy area-hitting attacks, making much of the gameplay unnecessarily clunky.
  • No matter which path you take in a level, all the enemies will attack you, which forces you to kill them and have your assist character chew you out for it. Notable in Cryptic Castle, where Eggman is the Dark assist character, but the Hero assist Amy will also chew you out when you destroy Eggman's robots. This is especially bad when you need to defeat enemies to proceed, even if doing so will raise the gauge opposite of the mission you're going for, lowering your score. Eggman and Black Doom do absolutely nothing to stop their forces from attacking you, and many of the other characters will help you with whatever you're attacking — even if it's the same enemies they're nagging you not to attack.
  • Changing the active mission (and the appropriate assist character) requires pausing the game to do it manually. This wouldn't be so bad, but the assist characters are each placed at several places on the stage's main path and will automatically become active if you get near them. Thankfully, this doesn't disable any of the objectives, but it can be very annoying, especially if you're trying for the Neutral mission which never has one.
  • The "hunting" missions of every kind are terribly designed, which really hurt as they comprise about 60% of the whole game. You have no radar, there are rarely "extra" enemies/stuff to find if you miss a few, and the only way to backtrack is to keep moving forward until you find another checkpoint. The linear stage design makes it much harder to ebar, and it doesn't help that the monotone colors makes it really hard to find things. Team Chaotix had something like this in Sonic Heroes (itself not well-liked either), only there you were only required to find half the things most of the time, rather than all of them, and there were more colours in that game so things stood out more.

    Sonic Riders 
  • Sonic Free Riders was panned across the board for its Kinect-designed control scheme, which required the player moving their arms, legs, and body around for both gameplay actions during races and menu navigation. As with the Storybook games, the game offered no alternative control schemes, making the Kinect functionality the only way to play the game (whereas previous Riders titles were designed around traditional controllers and control schemes). No further Sonic Riders games have come out since then.

    Sonic 2006 
  • Mach Speed sections in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), in which Sonic runs uncontrollably fast and has to veer around hundreds of obstacles and can't stop. He can easily get caught on scenery and die instantly because the controls are so loose and it's so difficult to see anything coming. To expand, a mere tapping of the stick will veer him way too far in the intended direction, he can't correct himself in midair after he jumps, and if he trips on something, he'll lose all his rings and be unable to react, and in the process will likely careen head-on into another obstacle. It's frustratingly easy to get stuck on an Insurmountable Waist-High Fence, which can even make Sonic fall sideways to his death. It makes Sonic's levels the most annoying of the lot.
  • Some of Shadow's vehicle sections qualify, as do Silver's infamous billiard ball puzzles in the Dusty Desert stage.
  • Every single alternate gameplay style in the whole game aside from Sonic (as he still generally feels like he does in the Adventure games), Shadow, and Blaze (both for playing like Sonic). And even then, Sonic's play style is subject to several limitations that he never had before, such as the inability to attack with a simple jump, a nerfed spin dash that you can't cancel out of immediately by jumping, a short cooldown period on the Homing Attack and Bounce Attack making both of them feel overly stiff and sluggish, and a comparatively low top speed.
  • Even those who enjoyed the alternate play styles often admit it gets tedious switching between them mid-level, especially since so many get their own levels to begin with (Tails not only has his own variation of Wave Ocean but invades Sonic's).
  • The Silver Spheres found in Aquatic Base. You need to ride them, but they subject you to Interface Screw and Camera Screw, they have floaty movement, and they pop and drop you to your death if an enemy, a projectile, or a gentle gust of wind makes contact with them. These horrid things are almost solely the reason the Aquatic Base is That One Level.

    Sonic Rush Series 
  • The rockets in Dead Line in Rush. They move really fast, but handle really lousy and get destroyed upon touching a wall. Merely tapping the control pad can send it at a very wide angle. And there's one section where you actually have to use it to get over a bottomless pit.
  • The balloons in Sky Babylon in Rush Adventure. Like the rockets described above, they control like crap, and they are destroyed immediately upon touching a wall. They're similar to the rocket pads from Altitude Limit from Rush in that they only go up, but unlike them, the balloons need a wide space in order to turn. What makes Sky Babylon That One Level for a lot of people is one section where you need to use it to evade a series of instant-kill lasers.
  • A relatively minor one, but the springy ropes in Haunted Ship in Rush Adventure contribute to it being a potential That One Level. On their own, they wouldn't be too different from ordinary springs, but what makes them annoying is that once they spring you up, they immediately cancel your boost, meaning you can't just maintain it by just holding the boost button down like a normal spring. And enemies are sometimes located near these ropes, which particularly gives Sonic a hard time since his R tricks gain less height and distance than Blaze's.

    Sonic Storybook Series 
  • The Sonic Storybook Series on the Wii are notorious for being designed exclusively around Wii Remote control schemes and for being entirely on-rails (so Sonic is forced to run forward by default on pre-determined paths), and are unsurprisingly cited by many as among the worst Sonic games purely on a gameplay/controls standpoint.
  • Sonic and the Secret Rings requires basic movement to be controlled through tilting and shaking the Wii Remote (held sideways) — including making Sonic move left and right, move backwards, switch rails, and using the Homing Attack/air dash function in mid-air. It's not uncommon to see people claim Secret Rings' controls are outright broken or unplayable.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight is a bit better by allowing Sonic to be controlled with an analog stick (via the Nunchuk), but also has the memetic addition of a sword to Sonic's moveset, which is naturally controlled with swinging the Wii Remote (held vertically) to attack with the sword. And if that wasn't enough, there is an obvious delay between when the player swings the Wii Remote, and when Sonic swings his sword in-game; so the player's actions aren't allowed to be parallel with the gameplay in regards to timing.

    Sonic Unleashed 
  • The "toll" system is the bane of many players, forcing gamers to run up and down the hub levels and other missions to retrieve medals until they have enough to progress to the next level and complete the storynote . Obviously a tactic to prolong the game's playtime, it was never used again after the negative feedback from fans.
  • The Quick-Time Events were widely loathed for disrupting gameplay and slowing it down, as well as the final boss requiring you to mash a button many times within 30 seconds.
  • The nighttime Werehog levels, for the same reason (extending the game's length) but in a more egregious fashion, as they switch the gameplay from the high-speed on-rails design of the daytime levels to a slower-paced beat-'em-up platformer that involves Sonic frequently fighting enemies. The game pretty much changes into a God of War clone every time the sun disappears.

    Sonic the Hedgehog 4 
  • The "stop on a dime every time" no inertia physics engine of Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I. Among other things (like being able to continuously "walk" up slopes without slipping), the moment you let go of the D-Pad while in motion, you immediately come to a stop. While this could be a good thing when trying to avoid flying into a pit, the problem is that it works even while you're in the air, meaning that if you don't manually keep Sonic moving in the direction a spring or a jump takes him, he'll suddenly stop in midair and drop like a stone as if he just slammed into an Invisible Wall. Considering that most Sonic games in the past had never had this issuenote , this can make the game nigh-unplayable for a multitude of Sonic fans, and is in fact one of the most complained-about parts of the game. Episode II addresses this somewhat by adding inertia, so Sonic no longer stops on a dime once the player releases the D-Pad.
    • What really makes this bad is that it robs you of the ability to curl into a ball and safely coast through levels, in addition to making it impossible to build up momentum on slopes to let the game treat you to a high speed section. You can hold down the D-pad while rolling to maintain some momentum, but having to do this all the time taxes the thumbs and can make the game physically painful to play.
  • Another loud complaint regarding Episode I is the addition of "uncurling"—anytime Sonic rolls off a slope (a frequent occurrence with the 2D Sonic games), he automatically uncurls out of his ball form, which leaves himself open to attack by an incoming enemy—something which had never been done in any of the previous games up to this point. The only way the player can not allow Sonic to get hit is to use the newly-installed Homing Attack function. This mechanic was removed in Episode II in response to heavy criticism.
  • Lost Labyrinth Act 3 has two spots where Sonic falls into a small underwater room and the player has to tip it to the right to slide a block off the wall and allow the water to flood out with Sonic. The problem is that this setpiece takes an awfully long time to finish. The second time even places a set of spikes on the right wall so the player can't just push Sonic against it.
  • Mad Gear Act 3 has a similar gimmick in which the player must tilt sets of bars to the correct side to prevent Sonic from rolling into spikes. It's a cool idea, but Sonic moves very unnaturally on them, such that the player can tilt a bar all the way to the left and Sonic will keep rolling to the right anyway.
  • The co-op system in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II sparked a lot of complaints, as the game's levels are designed in a way that demands the use of various co-op moves (i.e. Sonic has to use Tails to fly up to unreachable higher ground or over bottomless pits, use the Rolling Combo to destroy unbreakable walls, etc.), and also consequently means that both Sonic and Tails can't be playable by themselves. Many see this as a step back from older Sonic games, which offer co-op as an entirely optional feature to the single-player experience.
  • The camera is just a little too close to Sonic for some fans, causing them to barrel along without having enough of a view for what's headed for them.
  • The Homing Attack from Sonic Adventure onwards bolted onto this decidedly old school game qualifies, though most aren't really upset about lock-on dashing as they are the horizontal leap you can take when you're not even locked onto anything.
  • Sonic's acceleration feels significantly slower than the classic Sonic games. Good for the Scenery Porn, bad for a character who is supposed to be fast. Compare the generally faster gameplay in the classic stages of Sonic Generations.

    Sonic Colors 
  • The Gameplay Grading, in theory, is meant to reward a good performance, not just speeding through the Act like in other modern Sonic games with grading. In practice, not only does the grading require farming points in one area, but also having a very high Ring count, and getting hit will cause you to lose all of your Rings, not just a fraction of them. All while making sure you don't stay around too long, or else "TIME'S UP" will appear, robbing you of any further points—including end-of-Act bonuses. The game gives you no indication how long you have to play an Act before you get a TIME'S UP.
  • Swinging on lollipops in Sweet Mountain, as it can be hard to tell when it's a good time to jump off and get to the next platform.
  • The overabundance of 2D is another big criticism, particularly because the 2D sections are rather slow and blocky compared to the 3D sections.

    Sonic Lost World 
  • Holding down the run button forces you to run up walls that you don't want to. This isn't so bad in 3D sections, but in 2D sections, it gets aggravating when the game forces you to go at walking speed just because you don't want to run up a wall.
  • Many of the Wisps in this game are controlled by specific gyroscope movements or touchscreen controls, instead of the more intuitive, simple schemes used in Sonic Colors (traditional analog stick and button controls, or basic shaking with the Wii Remote). Complaints got so great that eventually Sega fixed this with a update to the game a couple of weeks after its initial release, which allowed you to control with the analog stick and buttons just like in Colors.
  • When the game was originally released, collecting 100 rings wouldn't give you an extra life as it had in previous games. This was incredibly jarring, as due to the game's rather unforgiving design, players saw themselves frequently getting game overs (Colors also lacks this feature, but it's significantly easier so few people complain). Loud complaints about this change prompted Sega to change it in the aforementioned Wisp update, which allowed players to earn lives through collecting 100 rings again.
  • Holding down the run button on ice makes Sonic skate similar to Super Mario Galaxy. Unfortunately, jumping while skating gives you a fixed momentum that you can't change, making you jump into obstacles, enemies, or bottomless pits a lot of the time. Like the automatic parkour with the run button, being forced to go at a snail's pace just to have better jump control can be aggravating. You can't even Spin Dash on ice (in the Wii U version, anyways). Trying to do so will result in Sonic traveling almost no distance while spinning in place.
  • The homing attack was retooled to include a new "lock on" reticle system—reticles could appear on an enemy multiple times, upon which the player can execute a more powerful homing attack. Not bad in itself, but the game suffers from wonky programming when Sonic is near one or multiple enemies—sometimes it locks on multiple times, sometimes it only locks-on once, other times it even refuses to activate. Moreover, certain badniks and even certain bosses (namely the ones featuring Zavok) can't be defeated without having the reticles lock on several times, which the game doesn't do a good job of teaching.
  • Sonic is given a new kick attack ability which stuns enemies for a bit. Similar to the reticle system, the game doesn't explain their use very well, and introduces enemies that have to be disabled by this move first (which even included returning badniks from past games, such as the crab and snail enemies). This typically resulted in players defeating one enemy with a standard homing attack or jump, only to get hurt trying to do the same thing to another.

    Sonic Mania 
  • The special stages are based on the CD versions, including collecting from limited pools of rings to stay in the level, collecting blue balls to go faster, finicky controls, bottomless pits, and chasing down very fast UFOs.
  • Initially, the 10 minute time limit was present with no option to disable it unlike in the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush games. Coupled with some of the longest acts in a sidescrolling Sonic game and several tricky Goddamned Bosses, it can be said that you will die due to Time Over at least once. To make it worse, the timer wouldn't even flash or give a warning when it reached the last minute like it did in previous Sonic games until a patch made it do so a couple of weeks later. Fortunately, the time limit is disabled entirely during the Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine-inspired match at the end of Chemical Plant Zone Act 2, and it resets when you reach the Final Boss at the end of Titanic Monarch Zone Act 2. The time limit mechanic was ultimately fixed with a quality-of-life patch posted prior to the release to the Encore Pack DLC / Mania Plus retail re-release, which included an option to turn off the time limit (and set the "off" setting as the default).
  • There aren't many fans of the mechanic in Oil Ocean Act 2 in which the screen gradually becomes redder and redder due to the buildup of fumes, both because it renders everything difficult to see and because it drains away your Rings. There are levers to pull scattered throughout the stage to clear it away, but they become further apart as the stage goes on and are gone completely for a long stretch towards the end. This is based on the dimming lights mechanic in Sonic 3 & Knuckles's Sandopolis Act 2, which was equally disliked.

    Sonic Forces 
  • The sixty second time limit for the demo was not well-liked at all.
  • The Double Boost mechanic in Tag Team stages has taken some heat, not because it's an inherently bad mechanic, but rather, in the sense that it's rather poorly implemented. It essentially does nothing besides move the player characters from point A to point B in the stage while looking extremely badass, and while related mechanics like a Double Boost Gauge and Action Commands are implemented, they don't actually do anything; failing the QTE has no effect besides removing the lyrics to "Fist Bump" and causing a brief stumble, and were the Double Boost Gauge to run out note , the game simply doesn't show the Boost visual effect and makes Sonic and the Avatar invincible while simply being unable to destroy enemies, meaning that there isn't any point to the either the QTE or the Gauge existing at all.
  • The QTEs in general. While nowhere near as bad as they were in Sonic Unleashed, they're still mostly there for score purposes and disrupt the flow of gameplay. Also, it's a complete crapshoot as to what failed QTEs will kill you, and which ones won't.


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