Sonic Free Riders

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Sonic Free Riders
Sonic Free Riders Box Artwork.jpg
Developer(s) Sonic Team
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Kenjiro Morimoto
Producer(s) Kenjiro Morimoto
Artist(s) Hideaki Moriya
Writer(s) Takashi Iizuka
Eitaro Toyoda
Yasushi Otake
Composer(s) Tomonori Sawada
Koji Sakurai
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) Xbox 360
  • NA: November 4, 2010[1]
  • EU: November 10, 2010[1]
  • AU: November 18, 2010
  • JP: November 20, 2010
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Sonic Free Riders (ソニック フリーライダーズ Sonikku Furī Raidāzu?) is a motion controlled racing video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Xbox 360. The game requires the use of Microsoft's Kinect peripheral, releasing as a launch title for it in November 2010.[2] It was released as a Kinect launch title.[1]

Sonic Free Riders is the seventh racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. This game is the third chapter of the Sonic Riders series. It is a direct sequel to Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. The game's story centers on the series' main antagonist Doctor Eggman announcing a second world grand prix. Inviting Sonic the Hedgehog along with the Babylon Rogues and other characters in the series, Eggman plans to gather data from the riders to program into his robots.

The game received mixed reviews from critics, with praise going towards its content and multiplayer options and the graphics and it's storyline, but criticism for its controls.


An example of gameplay in Sonic Free Riders

Sonic Free Riders is a racing game in which the player controls characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. The game is controlled by using the player's body to navigate their chosen character through the course. Actions include bending their body to steer, performing kicking motions to increase speed and jumping to perform tricks which earn more boost. The player has the ability to ride bikes, controlled by steering motions. By collecting enough rings, players can increase their level during each race, which enhances their attributes. There are several power-ups and weapons which each require specific motion actions to activate, such as a missile which is thrown like a football or a boost that is activated by shaking a soda can. As before, characters are divided into Speed, Flight, and Power classes. Players can equip special attributes to their Gear, such as improved cornering or the ability to break through barriers, which can be changed by switching the riding stance. Players can also perform special moves if lacking in races. The game's main single player campaign is the Grand Prix mode, where players select from one of several teams of characters to play through the story. Along with Time Attack and Free Race modes, Sonic Free Riders also features a few multiplayer modes that can be played co-operatively. Tag Mode allows two players to race together, required synchronised coordination to perform combined tricks, while Relay mode, playable with up to 4 players, requires teammates to swap places after each lap. The local multiplayer supports up to two active players while online player multiplayer features one active player per console for up to 8 players. The game also supports voice recognition, allowing people to navigate menus using their voice.[3]


The story takes place after the events of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, moving away from the path system of previous Riders games in favor of a more arcade-like set-up. Replacing CGI cutscenes with quick static images, and changing character interactions to quick dialogue exchanges between teams. Doctor Eggman, disguising himself as a king, announces another World Grand Prix, and promises that the winners would receive cash and treasure.[4] This time, he puts four teams into the race instead of two, to prove who is the best. However, his true motive is to gather data from all the players to program into his E-10000G robots. By the time the player characters complete their race, Eggman's scheme is eventually revealed. However, after defeating Eggman, the player characters discover that Metal Sonic hijacked Eggman's plan, and took all the data for himself, in another attempt to prove himself far more superior than the real Sonic. Metal Sonic challenges the real Sonic to a final race, but loses and is forced to flee. Despite the fact that Eggman ripped them all off, everyone has enjoyed themselves (except Shadow and Rouge), and according to them, that is what matters.


This is one of the first games where all the previous 4Kids voice actors have been replaced with Studiopolis voice actors. Like in Sonic Colors, most of the voices from 4Kids were replaced, with only Mike Pollock remaining in the cast continuing his role as Eggman. Although both voice language tracks are included in the game disc, there is not a proper option to switch them in any regional version. The game sets both the text and voice language by default according to the console settings language, so the only way to change it is by changing the Xbox Dashboard language settings.

The game's soundtrack was written by Tomonori Sawada and Koji Sakurai, with the game's theme song, "Free" being written by Jun Senoue and performed by Senoue's band, Crush 40.[5]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 51%[6]
Metacritic 47/100[7]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameTrailers 4.5/10[8]
IGN 7.5/10[9]
Joystiq 1/5 stars[10]
OXM (US) 7.5/10[11]

The game received a Metacritic score of 47/100. IGN gave the game a score of 7.5, calling it a strong launch title for Kinect, although criticizing the motion controls stating that they "make it hard to just jump into the game".[9] Official Xbox Magazine also gave it 7.5, praising the wealth of content and multiplayer options while criticizing occasional unresponsiveness in the controls.[11] GameTrailers gave the game a score of 4.5, panning cumbersome controls that tax the body.[8] Joystiq gave the game 1/5 stars, calling it "the equivalent of patting your head while rubbing your stomach while riding a unicycle."[10] Brian Crecente of Kotaku also reviewed it negatively, calling it "the most broken of the Kinect titles I've played."[12] Kotaku's Crecente later reported that the responsiveness of the controls seemed to differ between persons, with fellow reviewer Stephen Totilo saying the controls worked fine for him.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Sonic Free Riders – Website Open And Release Dates Confirmed". 
  2. ^ "SEGA announces its first title for Kinect™ for Xbox 360®". 
  3. ^ Tristan Oliver. "New Video: Sonic Free Riders Final Build Demo". 
  4. ^ Sonic Team (2010). Sonic Free Riders. Xbox 360. Sega. Level/area: Introduction. Doctor Eggman: The winning team gets a disgustingly large cash prize... And a mid-sized mountain of treasure. Just don't expect it to be easy! 
  5. ^ "SONIC FREE RIDERS Original Soundtrack - Break Free -". VGMdb. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sonic Free Riders for Xbox 360". GameRankings. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  7. ^ "Sonic Free Riders for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  8. ^ a b "Sonic Free Riders Review". GameTrailers. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  9. ^ a b "Sonic Free Riders Kinect Review - IGN". Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  10. ^ a b Nelson, Randy (2010-11-04). "Sonic Free Riders review: Board to death". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  11. ^ a b "Official XBOX Magazine | Sonic Free Riders". 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  12. ^ Brian Crecente. "Review: Sonic Free Riders Shows How Bad Kinect Controls Can Be". 
  13. ^ Brian Crecente. "Is Sonic Free Riders Broken, Or Is It The Reviewers?". 

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