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For the gimmick in the Sonic Boom video games, see Hint (Sonic Boom).

The Hint Ring[1][2] (ヒントリング Hinto Ringu?), also referred to as the Navigator, is a gimmick that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It is a variation of the Hint which provides the player with additional help during gameplay.


The Hint Ring's design has varied over the course of the series. However, its general motif is a floating question mark surrounded by several colors.

In gameplay, the Hint Rings can be found all over the various types of levels in their games. When touching a Hint Ring, the game provides the player with information about the surroundings, gimmicks, enemies, controls, strategies, etc. How these messages are relayed differs between games, although they are usually accompanied by a message box and/or text.

Game appearances

Sonic Heroes

A Hint Ring in Sonic Heroes.

In Sonic Heroes, the Hint Rings are presented as rainbow-colored question marks, each surrounded by a ring of dots in different colors. When using a Hint Ring, one of the characters on the player's team will speak out its contents as a trialogue between the team's members (normally with subtitles).

Every character has their own description of the information from the Hint Ring. However, aside from Special Stages, there are cases where the characters do not speak and only subtitles appear which is most likely a glitch. It should be noted that in this game, the Hint Ring cannot be used if the characters are already speaking. Also, if the Hint Ring's subject has already been used before getting coverage on it from the Hint Ring, said Hint Ring will disappear.

When fighting Metal Madness, the Hint Ring on the right incorrectly makes Team Rose say that the boss will shoot fire if the player grabs his right arm (the flame-shooting arm), which is not possible to do so.

A Hint Ring in Frog Forest, which was supposed to be removed for Super Hard Mode, from Sonic Heroes.

When the player chooses the Super Hard Mode of Sonic Heroes, all Hint Rings will be completely removed from every Stage with the exception of one, which can be found after reaching the second half point of Frog Forest.

Shadow the Hedgehog

Shadow touching a Hint Ring, from Shadow the Hedgehog.

In Shadow the Hedgehog, the Hint Rings are presented as white question marks, each surrounded by a multicolored sphere. When using the Hint Ring, the playable character will speak out its contents.

Like in Sonic Heroes, every character, including Shadow himself, have their own description of the information for the Hint Ring. In Shadow's case, he will talk in first person to the player. In the other characters' case, they will have a dialogue with Shadow. In Expert Mode, Hint Rings are only used to play good luck messages from the game's supporting characters.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

A Hint Ring, from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).

In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the Hint Rings regained their design from Sonic Heroes. This time however, the question mark in the Hint Ring is golden. When a Hint Ring is used, an announcer will speak out its contents rather than one of the characters. If the player uses a Hint Ring while a playable character is talking, the dialogue will change to the Hint Ring's while the playable character's gets cut out.

Sonic Unleashed

A Hint Ring, from Sonic Unleashed.

In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed, the Hint Rings are identical to how they appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), except that their question mark rotates. When using a Hint Ring, the playable character is immobilized while a text box containing information from Chip (sometimes accompanied by an illustration) appears on the screen. To continue reading or close the text box, the player must press XboxA.png/PSXButton.png.

In some cases, the Hint Rings will vanish after using them, if the player did not use them at all.

Sonic Colors

In the Wii version of Sonic Colors, the Hint Ring is referred to as both the Navigator and Hint Ring.[2] It also appears in the remaster Sonic Colors: Ultimate. In these games, they retains the Hint Ring's design from Sonic Unleashed. When using the Navigator in this game, the screen darkens and the gameplay freezes while a textbox containing the Hint Ring info appears. These hints are read out loud by Tails. The player can skip their explanation by pressing the Jump button. After usage, the Navigator will vanish briefly before returning, except during boss battles where they cannot be used freely. When starting a New Game or in the Options Satellite, the player can choose to toggle the Hint Ring on or off, so that they do not appear in stages when toggled off.

During the battle against the Nega-Wisp Armor, a unique Navigator will give no actual description of the boss as Tails' signal to Sonic is very weak, resulting in a playback of distorted sound and text.

Sonic Lost World

In the Wii U version, PC version and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, the Hint Rings have the same design they had in Sonic Unleashed. In the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, Hint Rings appear normally, mostly in Windy Hill Tutorial. When using a Hint Ring, the game freezes and a textbox containing the Hint Ring's contents will appear. The player can continue reading the hint or close it by pressing WiiDSA.png.

In the Wii U/PC version of the game, an illustration of the Hint Ring appears occasionally as a notification icon on top of the screen. To activate the Hint Ring, the player must either touch the Hint Ring on the Wii U GamePad (Wii U version) or left-click on it (PC version). Activating the Hint Ring will unveil its information on the Wii U GamePad (if playing with the TV on the Wii U version) or on the same screen as the main game (if played in Off-TV mode or in the PC version).

Sonic Forces

A Hint Ring, from Sonic Forces.

In Sonic Forces, the Hint Rings have the same design and functionality they had in Sonic Unleashed. When using one, the gameplay freezes and a "Hint" textbox appears. The player can continue reading the hint or close it by pressing A button.png/PSXButton.png/Switch b.png. After that, the Hint Ring will disappear for a short time then return to its same place afterward.

In the game's "Option" menu, the player has to option to turn off the Hint Rings, which keeps them from appearing in the stages.

In other media

Sonic Boom

Main article: Hint (Sonic Boom)

In the Sonic Boom video games, the Hint Ring appears under the name "Hint." In these games, the Hints have the same appearance as their mainstream counterparts and function in the same manner.


  • In Mystic Mansion of Sonic Heroes, when the player touches the Hint Ring next to the Trolley as Team Rose, if it is Amy's turn to talk, she will not say anything. The subtitle "The trolley controls are the same as the bobsled. Make sure to dodge the ghosts." will still appear though.
  • On the 10.8 release of Sonic Heroes, the Hint Rings will remain in place even after something has been done (e.g. using switches to open up cages or doors).
  • On the PlayStation 2 version of Sonic Heroes, the Hint Ring's circle particles only have the linear dodge blending used due to graphical limits making the subtractive blending impossible to be assigned to the particles. On certain instances with graphical bugs around, the question mark models will change their blend functions to an additive transparency.
  • The "voice" of the Hint Rings in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), is very similar to the Duke of Soleanna's sound.
  • Every picture used to illustrate the information of the Hint Rings in Sonic Unleashed can be found in the game files for the PC version of Sonic Generations.






  1. Sonic Forces instruction manual.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sonic Colors (Wii) United States instruction booklet, pg. 16.
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