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Sonic News Network
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The Hourglass[1] is a gimmick that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Designed like actual hourglasses, they are similar to regular switches. Flipping it over will activate a reaction in the environment.


Despite having a different look in each game, the design of the Hourglass is the same as their real-life counterparts. They are essentially glass bulbs without leg stands connected vertically, usually decorated with the bumper symbol or other significant markings on their top and bottom plates. They are larger than the playable characters.

When either jumping or using the playable characters' attacks on it, the Hourglass flips over and triggers an reaction in the environment, such as opening paths or altering the surroundings. In some cases, this reaction has a time limit which is measured by the sand trickling down from the top glass bulb to the lower in the Hourglass. After the time runs out, the reaction is deactivated until the Hourglass is flipped again.

Game appearances

Sonic Adventure 2

Knuckles beside an Hourglass in Death Chamber, from the 2012 remaster of Sonic Adventure 2.

Large hourglasses are first seen in Sonic Adventure 2, where it can be found at Dr. Eggman's pyramid base's stages, such as Pyramid Cave, Egg Quarters and Death Chamber. If the player jumps on or punches an hourglass, it will flip and various doors will open for a certain amount of time. However, the doors slowly close as the sand in the hourglass runs out. The player is able to determine how much time is left by listening to a sound much like a clock ticking in the background, which steadily speeds up as the sand falls. The player can then travel back and activate the hourglass again in order to proceed on the stage.

When it comes to the fight against King Boom Boo, one of his minions conveniently carries an hourglass. Hitting the minion will flip the hourglass and let the sunlight in, which will weaken King Boom Boo.

Sonic and the Secret Rings

An hourglass, from Sonic and the Secret Rings.

In Sonic and the Secret Rings, the hourglasses are a lot larger than in other games, are filled with purple sand, and are held up by two pillars. In this game, they are only encountered in Night Palace.

During Night Palace's "Go For the Goal!" mission, the player has to flip an hourglass at different points. At that point, the player will be transported to a foreign area that is being filled with gas and whose structures are changing. Here, the player has to flip the hourglass at the end of this area before the player's Ring count depletes to zero to proceed.[2] In other missions for the Night Palace, the Hourglass serves another purpose; if the player flips it, it will restore the broken structures in the environment.

Sonic Unleashed

Two time-altering Hourglasses, from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed.

In the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Unleashed, hourglasses function differently from other games. Other than the option to change Day or Night in the pause menu when at Town Stages, there is a hourglass in each Entrance Stage (except Eggmanland) which has the same function of switching from day or night and from hedgehog to werehog. Hourglasses are also set in numerous sections in Eggmanland, where the player has to transform between hedgehog and werehog most of the time in order to progress through the large stage.

Sonic Runners

During the "Halloween Event" of Sonic Runners, Hourglasses appear in the event-exclusive storyline. While investigating a haunted lakeside castle, Team Sonic is taken to a dead end by a Boo where Tails notices an Hourglass. As a brainwashed Boo then appears, Tails flips the Hourglass and opens a hidden door in the stone wall for short time, which the heroes escape through. Later, Dr. Eggman uses another Hourglass to unleash King Boom Boo from behind a stone wall in the castle courtyard, just as Team Sonic locates him.

In other media

Sonic X

Main article: Talisman

The talisman, from "Sonic's Scream Test".

In the Sonic X anime series, there was a stone figure of an hourglass called the "talisman" that looked similar to the ones in Sonic Adventure 2. It had a figure of a sun on one end and a crescent moon behind a star (the star was removed from the English dub) on the other end. In this continuity, it is a mystical object used for imprisoning Booms and King Boom Boo, instead of just weakening them like in the games.






  1. Prima Development (20 June 2001). "Interactive Objects". Sonic Adventure 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide. Prima Games. p. 12. ISBN 978-0761536147.
  2. Hodgson, David (20 February 2007). "World 7: Night Palace". Sonic and the Secret Rings. Prima Games. p. 260. ISBN 978-0761555117.

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