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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

That 15-Minute Sonic Frontiers Demo Sucked

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I came to this conclusion after giving it two chances.

Recently (and there was a sale attached to it that has since expired), Sonic Frontiers has gotten a demo! That's about two months after it released. Given that the game was put on 35% off just two weeks or so after its release, I'm lead to believe that the game has bombed SEGA's sales expectations. Surely, if the game is any good, this new, free demo will put it in a good light?

Sonic Frontiers Demo Time Limit 15 minutes warning
Nope, this is guaranteed to be a bad demo.

I've learned from the online instruction manual that “cyber-Rosalina” is named Sage, which is... quite a generic name. Whatever story contained in the two or so cutscenes at the start of the game is nonsense and doesn't even satisfy being an excuse plot. The game has put a big emphasis on freedom and exploration since it was first revealed.

But fifteen minutes? You can't explore much in that time. The first time I played the demo, it wasn't even done giving me tutorials. The game starts you in a Cyber Space level where you can (and I did) accidentally skip very important tutorial notices just by zooming past them at the speed of sound, like that you can Homing Attack onto environmental objects to interact with them. That's a major part of the gameplay. Having missed that, I tried the demo a second time for another fifteen minutes.

Sonic Frontiers glitch off fall mountain into water
I... don't remember what caused this, but Sonic just slipped off the side of the mountain and then game-overed upon landing in water.
He doesn't have an animation for sliding off the mountain, so he was drifting down in this pose the entire duration of that event.

I was right several months ago in describing Sonic Frontiers being a bunch of empty fields with some unnatural (pink-coloured) objects like springs littered around to collect rings and other objects that the demo didn't explain the importance of. And, yeah, within your very limited time playing, you're free to ignore the four robot minions that menacingly pop out of a portal and run towards the front camera in a cutscene and then just take a few aimless steps in a field. You'd think they'd chase after Sonic (who has a totally different voice than what I expected, which is what he sounds like in Super Smash Bros.) after that entrance, but, no, they're keeping to themselves and doing their daily stretches. I instead had Sonic fight this guy named Ninja, which I could easily beat by mashing the Homing Attack button after doing some kind of cool dodge with the shoulder buttons (which the game didn't tell me about, but the instruction manual did). None of it was interesting.

When the demo suddenly ended in the second Cyber Space level (at the location below after I beat some dude named Tower by, once again, mashing Homing Attack), I didn't feel like I wanted to try the demo yet again to see what the end of that level design is like. And I surely have no interest in buying the whole game.

Sonic Frontiers Portal Gears not enough to make the connection
I actually think I got enough Sonic Frontiers, but I surely ain't lettin' it make a connection to my bank account.

Ludwig already knew he wouldn't like the game before trying the demo (he doesn't like its genre or IP), but he tried it anyway just to confirm that's the case. Did you have a different experience with its demo? Or the full title? Do you think that limiting the game to the first 15 minutes instead of to a certain point makes sense for this particular demo, since there is no set end-point in the open zone gameplay concept? Or would it be better, since game progress doesn't transfer anyway, to have a special design for this particular demo that gives a better impression of what the game has to offer? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section! (And your commentary may be rewarded via the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program!)

While DRAGON QUEST TREASURES lasted an hour, its demo omitted the actual core gameplay loop.


  1. I wonder how far you could get in the demo if you did a Tool Assisted Speedrun. I wonder if you could spam the menu and slowly inch forward to make the most of your time. Not fun to play, but for to see how far you could get eventually. Although I suppose they could just put in 15 minutes of dialogue box clicking in to prevent anyone from getting much farther than intended.

    1. I think what should've happened is have arbitrary limits on where Sonic could explore placed in the world than an arbitrary time limit.

      Tool Assisted Speedrun but wot would be the goal?

    2. I don’t mind demos that are timed as long as it’s more then 30 mins, 15 is too short, however with this I find myself coming back to the demo to see how far I can get in the 15 minutes


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