Switch characters, play puzzles and er..bump into things
The stages where you do play as Sonic are well designed, but the lack of control and awful camera angles mean that you'll need everyone of your 6 lives handy. (It actually took us almost an hour to pass stage one). It's just too damn fast! We were endlessly bumping into environmental hazards, such as boulders, meaning that that this stop and start gameplay just became frustrating. There are some cool effects and times where you'll feel a twinge of excitement, such as Sonic hanging onto the tail-fin of a whale, but the negatives far outweigh the positives.
Although the boss battles at the end of each level of fairly similar for each of the playable characters, they all take a different approach at moving through a level. While Sonic still speeds through levels faster than lightening using speed boots and easy to execute homing attacks and bounce attacks, Shadow and Silver use a wider variety of attacks and movements.
The ability to change between multiple characters is obviously a ploy by the developers to move the series forward. The powers of Shadow and Silver are far from exciting, but at least they do manoeuvre somewhat better than the hero of the game.
Shadow the Hedgehog is able to drive vehicles loaded with weapons and skates as opposed to run around the colourfully eye-aching environment. Although he does feel smoother to control, there's still the return of the poor camera angles and the lack of excitement lends to the fact that the actual gameplay feels dated - we've done it all before!
Silver, the time-travelling Hedgehog, uses a different tact when it comes to defeating enemies and moving around the terrain. We had to use his telekinesis power to attack enemies and solve problems which generally involved moving objects around (stack one box on top of another or throw a rock at an enemy with the power of the mind). Playing as Silver offered some respite from the ferocious speed of Shadow and Sonic, but although the puzzles were occasionally good fun, stopping to throw and stack objects just became monotonous. The change in the two styles of gameplay, from the urgency and pace of the Sonic and Shadow levels to the leisurely style of Silver’s levels, means that it almost feels like you’re playing two separate games and that just feels wrong. We have no idea what the story is about, because it's told through these three separate characters and therefore becomes a jumbled mess. We know the princess has been kidnapped by Dr. Eggman, but we lost interest in the 'who's,where's and why's' very early on in the game.