It must have been a really cranky moment for SegaWeb staff when they gave their first impressions of Square (below), because now, it’s better than they originally thought:
Provided a few free moments on day three, and too stupid to catch a few hours sleep, we were able to get a good, long play with Sonic Shuffle. We discovered that there is more to this title than just a clever nicking of Mario Party.
The world of Shuffle features a wealth of interactive elements that can be manipulated as you traverse the board in search of the Precioustones. On the first board alone, such interactive elements include crocodiles whose mouths open and snap shut as well as a boat and dolphin to take a shortcut through the water.
Sometimes your journey even takes you underwater. Linger there too long without landing on an oxygen space and you could have trouble. Above ground there are also certain spaces that can crumble and drop you in the drink if you happen to be on them when an earthquake strikes.
The shuffling part of the title comes from the hand of cards each character holds. You have the ability to grab cards away from your opponents as well as forcing them to discard at random. In this way, the title doubles as a board game and trading card game of sorts.
Of course, multiple mini-games are included. A personal favorite was the anti-gravity chamber in which you must attempt to pose within a camera’s lens view to win. Other spots you land on take you to a wealth of interactive games and contests. One in particular placed you in a turn based battle against a monster.
Sonic Shuffle has a lot of new twists on the genre to be competitive in the category. The extremely early rev. we saw was listed as only 30% complete which could go a long way towards explaining the serious loading time between moves. We expect those problems to be history by the time this game is released.