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Carlos Abad Molinero
Carlos Abad Molinero

Sonic Free Riders: The Best and Worst Characters to Race With

Sonic Free Riders: A Kinect Racing Game with Sonic and Friends

If you are a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog and racing games, you might be interested in Sonic Free Riders, a motion controlled racing game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game uses the Kinect peripheral to let you control your character with your body movements. The game was released as a Kinect launch title in November 2010. It is the third and final installment of the Sonic Riders series, following Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity.

Plot and Characters

The World Grand Prix

The game's story centers on the series' main antagonist Doctor Eggman, who announces a second World Grand Prix under the disguise of King Doc. He secretly plans to gather data from the riders to program into his robots. Four teams of characters enter the competition to prove themselves or win the prizes:

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  • Team Heroes: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles

  • Team Babylon: Jet, Wave, and Storm

  • Team Rose: Amy, Cream, and Vector

  • Team Dark: Shadow, Rouge, and E-10000B

Each team wins the World Grand Prix as the player goes through the story of each team. Along the way, they encounter various challenges, rivals, and surprises.

The Final Race

In the end, King Doc announces that the competitors still have final races to run. Eventually, Eggman drops his disguise and reveals that he attempted to gather data from all of the riders using Team Dark's E-10000B. He challenges them all to a race once again. However, E-10000B breaks down and reveals itself to be Metal Sonic, who actually collected the data of every racer and passed on fake info to Eggman. Metal Sonic then challenges Sonic to a one-on-one race. Sonic defeats Metal Sonic and Eggman is disappointed that his plan failed. The other teams celebrate their victory and enjoy their prizes.

Gameplay and Features

Motion Controls and Extreme Gear

Sonic Free Riders is a hoverboard racing game that features characters from the Sonic franchise. 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 that earn more boost. The player can also ride bikes that are controlled by steering motions. By collecting enough rings, players can increase their level during each race, which enhances their attributes.

The game features various types of Extreme Gear that have different abilities and stats. Some examples are:


Sonic's Blue StarBoardCan break through barriers

Tails' Yellow TailBikeCan fly over gapsKnuckles' Red RockBoardCan smash rocks and obstacles

Amy's Pink RoseBoardCan attract rings and items

Shadow's Black ShotBikeCan fire missiles at opponents

Power-ups and Special Moves

The game also features various power-ups and special moves that can be used in races. Power-ups are items that can be obtained by passing through item boxes or performing tricks. They can be used to attack opponents, defend oneself, or gain an advantage. Some examples are:

  • Rocket: Launches a homing rocket at the nearest opponent

  • Bomb: Drops a bomb behind the player that explodes after a few seconds

  • Mine: Places a mine on the track that detonates when touched by an opponent

  • Shield: Creates a barrier around the player that protects them from attacks

  • Turbo: Gives the player a temporary speed boost

Special moves are unique abilities that each character can use once they fill up their special gauge by collecting rings or performing tricks. They can be activated by shouting the character's name into the Kinect microphone. Some examples are:

  • Sonic Wind: Creates a gust of wind that pushes back opponents and clears obstacles

  • Tornado: Spins around and creates a tornado that sucks in opponents and items

  • Chaos Control: Warps ahead of the other racers for a short distance

  • Rose Typhoon: Blows kisses that create hearts that stun opponents and attract rings

  • Knuckle Slam: Punches the ground and creates a shockwave that trips opponents and breaks obstacles

Game Modes and Multiplayer

Sonic Free Riders offers various game modes for both single-player and multiplayer. The game modes are:

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  • Grand Prix: The main story mode where the player chooses a team and competes in various races and missions to win the World Grand Prix.

  • Time Attack: A mode where the player tries to complete a course as fast as possible.

  • Free Race: A mode where the player can customize the settings and choose any course and character to race with.

  • Tag Mode: A cooperative mode where two players team up and share rings, items, and boost.

  • Relay Mode: A competitive mode where up to four players take turns racing on different segments of a course.

The game supports up to eight players online via Xbox Live or up to four players locally via split-screen. The game also features voice chat, leaderboards, and avatar support.

Reception and Criticism

Positive Aspects

Sonic Free Riders received mixed reviews from critics and fans. Some of the positive aspects of the game were:

  • The game's graphics were praised for being colorful, detailed, and smooth.

  • The game's music was complimented for being catchy, upbeat, and fitting to the Sonic style.

  • The game's multiplayer was enjoyed for being fun, competitive, and varied.

  • The game's story was appreciated for being humorous, engaging, and faithful to the Sonic lore.

  • The game's content was acknowledged for being rich, diverse, and replayable.

Negative Aspects

However, some of the negative aspects of the game were:

  • The game's motion controls were criticized for being unresponsive, inaccurate, and frustrating.

  • The game's responsiveness was complained for being slow, laggy, and inconsistent.

  • The game's accuracy was questioned for being imprecise, unreliable, and glitchy.

  • The game's difficulty was bemoaned for being too hard, unfair, and unforgiving.


Sonic Free Riders is a Kinect racing game that features Sonic and his friends competing in a hoverboard tournament. The game has a lot of potential to be a fun and immersive experience, but it is hampered by its flawed motion controls. The game has some redeeming qualities, such as its graphics, music, multiplayer, story, and content, but they are overshadowed by its frustrations. The game might appeal to hardcore Sonic fans or Kinect enthusiasts, but it is not recommended for casual gamers or newcomers. Sonic Free Riders is a game that tries to be free but ends up being restricted.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)

Here are some common questions and answers about Sonic Free Riders:

How do I play Sonic Free Riders?

  • You need an Xbox 360 console and a Kinect sensor to play Sonic Free Riders. You also need enough space to move your body freely. You can use your body to control your character and your voice to activate special moves.

How many characters are in Sonic Free Riders?

  • There are 16 playable characters in Sonic Free Riders, divided into four teams. Each team has three members, except for Team Dark, which has two members and a robot. You can unlock more characters by completing the story mode or by using Xbox Live.

How do I unlock more Extreme Gear?

  • You can unlock more Extreme Gear by collecting rings, completing missions, or buying them from the shop. Each character has their own set of Extreme Gear that they can use. You can also customize your Extreme Gear by changing its color, parts, or abilities.

How do I play with my friends?


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