Sonic Shuffle (ソニックシャッフル Sonikku Shaffuru?) is a party video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It was co-developed by Sonic Team and Hudson Soft (later Konami Digital Entertainment) and released by Sega in late 2000 and early 2001 exclusively for the Dreamcast.
Maginaryworld is a world set in an alternate dimension, where dreams and reality co-exist with each other. This world is maintained by the Precioustone, a gemstone formed from the hopes and dreams of people from other dimensions. However, the Precioustone has been shattered into various smaller Precioustones by a monster known as Void, which puts Maginaryworld at risk of being erased from existence. In order to save this dimension, Lumina Flowlight, the Guardian Fairy, sends a message to various worlds to find a hero who is strong and brave enough to restore Maginaryworld.
This message is eventually received by Sonic. He, Tails, Amy and Knuckles are soon after transported to the Temple of Light, the former resting place of the Precioustone, in Maginaryworld. Lumina then shows up and introduces herself. She explains why they were brought here and what has happened to the Precioustone. She also explains that the protector of the gem, Illumina, the Goddess of Dreams, lost her powers and vanished into a faraway world when Void shattered the Precioustone. Learning of Lumina's plight and the doom awaiting Maginaryworld, Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles agree to help her save Maginaryworld and stop Void. The five then set up to gather the smaller Precioustones, which have been scattered to the far corners of Maginaryworld. However, they are unaware that Dr. Eggman, who has learned of the Precioustone, has followed Sonic and his friends into Maginaryworld.
Receiving a deck of Magical Cards and Forcejewels from Lumina, Sonic and his gang start their adventure in Emerald Coast. However, this place is being victim of Void's dark powers, causing it to slowly turn into a cold, icy world. After finding the smaller Precioustones, the heroes have a dream where they meet a confused Void, who is being confronted by Lumina. Returning to reality, the heroes find themselves in a restored Emerald Coast. Continuing onward, the group arrives in Fire Bird, a world of freedom which has been contained in a wingless plane, causing it to lose speed and attitude. After collecting the smaller Precioustones from there, they have another brief dream where they confront Void. After that, the Fire Bird is restored. Sonic and his team continue afterward to Nature Zone. Due to Void's doings however, this world is slowly being destroyed. After finding the smaller Precioustones in this world, Sonic and his friends have another dream where they meet Illumina, who says that she dreams of making Maginaryworld a beautiful world of light. Their dream then moves into a vision of Lumina confronting a confused Void once again. After that, Sonic's group wakes up and they see Nature Zone regenerating itself. The group proceeds then to Riot Train. However, Void's powers have caused the world's train to be thrown on a crash-course. After then meeting Void again in yet another dream upon finding the smaller Precioustones, Sonic's team stops the train before it can crash.
Lastly, Lumina and Sonic's gang go to Fourth Dimension Space, where the last smaller Precioustones are. After getting them however, they spot Void heading towards the Temple of Light, where the re-assembled Precioustone is. When the heroes get there, Lumina tries to confront Void about his actions, although the latter states that he only wants friends and to be whole, which is why he tried to get the Precioustone. Beginning to question his existence, Void's sadness reaches its peak, causing him to turn into a gigantic monster.
After a heated battle, Sonic and his friends defeat Void, who is turned into a dark gem. However, a sad Lumina sees that light has not returned to the Precioustone. Just as she loses hope about dreams and Maginaryworld's future though, Sonic picks up Void's gem. From it, Void asks Lumina why she hates him if they both are the same. Having deduced that Void represents anger, sadness, despair, and emptiness, which are emotions that make dreams even stronger, Sonic and his friends tell Lumina that Void is one of the reasons why dreams exist. Understanding that Void's presence is a necessity and does not destroy dreams, Lumina picks herself up. Thanking Sonic and his friends for helping her see the light amidst her dark emotions, Lumina introduces Void's gem to the Precioustone, thus restoring Void. Lumina and Void then join together and, in a spark of light, Illumina emerges. She thanks Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles for saving Maginaryworld, and explains that she originally split into Lumina and Void when she lost sight of her own dreams. As Illumina reveals that she has learned that emptiness does not conquer dreams, but rather the opposite, Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles leave Maginaryworld for new adventures.
A fairy that lives in the dimension of Maginaryworld. She guides Sonic and the others on their adventure. She asks Sonic and the others to collect the Precioustones so she can restore her world, which has been ripped apart by the dark powers of Void. Lumina is a young girl who is full of energy. She looks childish but talks in a very mature and rational manner. She is stubborn and does not give up no matter how bad a situation is.
A mysterious character who always appears 1 step ahead of Sonic and the others and destroys the Precioustone.
He suddenly appeared at the Temple of Light which is located at the center of Maginaryworld and shattered the Perfect Precioustone. Thereafter, Void appears in the different lands of Maginaryworld and further shatters the Precioustones (shattered pieces of the Precioustone).
Void is a boy with a far away look in his eyes and shows no emotion at all. At times he speaks as if talking to himself and expresses his deep feelings, which have a sense of sadness to them.
She is the guardian angel of Maginaryworld who resides in the Temple of Light and protects the Perfect Precioustone.
When Void shattered the Perfect Precioustone, Illumina disappeared from Maginaryworld. She sometimes appears in the dreams of Sonic and the others.
She has a warm and mysterious smile and fills the hearts of the listeners with joy and warmth with her words and the sound of her harp.
|Eggman||Eggman's role in this game is to ruin your day. Learn to expect him to show up whenever things are going well for you.|
Sonic Shuffle is a party video game that plays like a board game in a 3D/isometric perspective. Here, the player takes control of Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles; as well as the Chao, Big, Gamma and Super Sonic as unlockable characters.
Up to four players can play the game. If one of those playable characters is not being controlled by a real person, then an AI will take control of it. The main objective of Sonic Shuffle is to obtain all of the pieces of the Precioustone as possible. There is only one shard at the time, and, when the player collects one, another one will respawn in other side of the board for the players to collect it, and so on until all shards (from two to seven) are obtained.
The players move across the board by turns. This is done by choosing Magical Cards to move a determined amount of Spaces. Every game board in the game is vastly different from one another, but the basic mechanics of the board are relatively the same. Each game board has special features that are activated by landing on various Spaces on the board. Some Spaces are also Specific Character spaces that only Tails, Amy, and Knuckles can use. When it is a player's turn, they can choose a card on their hand, or steal a random card from another player. After that, they will have to move their character through the number of spaces indicated by the card. In addition to the main cards, there are three types of extra cards, those being the Special Cards, the Eggman Cards, and the Eggman's 4s.
The special format and layout of the card distributing system prevents the player and computer from receiving the same deck twice, as there are bazillions of possible combinations. Additionally, some restrictions are placed on which card a character gets. For example, the player will receive no more than three of the same number, since there are only four of each, and if they receive three 4's, 5's or 6's, they will most likely not receive the Special Card and get the Eggman Card instead. On rare occasions, excellent hands are dealt to the player or the computer (e.g. one 4, two 5's, three 6's and a Special Card), but terrible hands may also be given out, such as three 1's, one 2, two 4's and the Eggman Card. This causes a great equilibrium in both the game and the player's strategy.
In Story Mode, the card distributing system is a little more gracious with its distribution of cards, and will usually equalize the chances of both good and bad cards for all players. In Versus Mode, however, the system is much less gracious. It will sometimes equalize the chances of a good-to-bad card ratio, but other times, it will deal great hands to some players and terrible hands to others. This is designed to cause tension on the game board and get more strategy involved when playing with friends.
By landing on an Event Space, a type of Mini-Game will be selected randomly by the system. The types are Vs. 4 mode, a battle royale style where each character plays for themselves; 2 Vs. 2 mode, which has the characters split into teams of two; and 1 Vs. 3 mode, which pits character who landed on the Event Space against the other three. The character's performance in the Mini-Game affects the result: displayed at the end. Any Rings lost or gained will be deducted or added at the Result Screen. In some Mini-Games, the amount of Rings won affects what character wins the Mini-Game. Getting first place results in the biggest after-win bonus, which ranges from twenty to fifty Rings for some Mini-games. In some Mini-Games getting second or third will result in less Rings won. It is usually ten and five Rings, respectively. Losing badly in some Mini-Games causes the character to lose even more Rings at the Result Screen.
When a Mini-Event is activated by landing on an Event Space, the character is taken to a screen where they are shown pictures and text depicting a situation. Some Mini-Events involve challenges, others guessing games, and the rest completely based on luck. All Mini-Events usually have around three to five different variations in themselves, some go as high to have a near infinite amount, such as the Quiz Mini-Events. Each variation of the Mini-Event has a different outcome. These outcomes cause the character to sometimes win or lose Rings, win or lose Forcejewels, get sent to a different space, or rest for one turn.
Some Mini-Events are ironically hosted by Eggman, in which he helps the player out by giving them prizes. If the player loses or picks wrong however, there is a chance that he will ask for something in return. Some Mini-Events also prompt the character for input; for example, one Mini-Event involves Eggman leading a magic show. He will ask where the player thinks he has hidden a prize, either in his hat, mustache, or pocket. At this point, the character must choose which one they think it is. Two out of the three will reward the player a prize, usually a Forcejewel, while the other one leaves them empty-handed. Some of these input Mini-Events will have bad effects depending on what the character chose to do. For example, in one Mini-Event, if the characters throw their ten Rings into the Lake the wrong way, they will not win any Rings or a Forcejewel and instead will have lost their ten Rings. In another Mini-Event, if the character causes a slot machine to break by pushing the wrong button, it will fall on top of them and they will either have to rest for a turn or lose fifty Rings. Also, if the slot machine does not stop, and the word "Accident!" comes up on screen, the character who triggered the event will be forced to enter a battle.
Some Mini-Events cause bad things to happen to the character, like resting for a turn. Sometimes, these effects can be counteracted, but most times, they are inevitable. Also, sometimes, if a character goes into a Mini-Event that usually has very good fortune, they will think of it as "to good to be true" or "fishy" and decide to just keep on going, ending the Mini-Event. Other times they think of it as, "Well we can't lose, so why not try it?"
Some Mini-Events are also hosted by Void, but these Mini-Events fall into the same category with Eggman's Mini-Events which can either reward or punish the player.
Each of the playable characters has their own abilities that the player can use to traverse through the board:
|Character||Special Movement Ability||Special Attack Ability|
|Sonic||Spin Dash: Play the same number for two consecutive turns and Sonic will move twice as far (ie, roll three twice and Sonic will move six spaces on the second turn). This maneuver cannot be performed twice in a row.||Light Speed Spin Attack: A stronger attack that inflicts up to seven points of damage.|
|Tails||Propeller Flight: Tails can fly over Tails' Spaces, which no other character can cross.||Rapid Spin Attack: Tails will be able to use two cards in a battle. Having used a special card, Tails can play abother two cards. Tails cannot attack if he draws the Eggman card. If Tails draws a special card, this will be ignored and he will draw another card.|
|Knuckles||Climbing: Knuckles can climb over vertical Knuckles' Spaces, which no other character can cross.||Maximum Heat Attack: Having used a special card, Knuckles can play another two cards. Knuckles cannot attack if he draws the Eggman card. If Knuckles draws a special card, this will be ignored and he will draw another card.|
|Amy||Hammer Jump: Amy can use her Piko Piko Hammer to catapult over Amy's Spaces, which no other character can cross.||Revolving Hammer Attack: Gives five fixed damage points if she draws an S Card in battle.|
|Gamma||Rolling Mode: Playing a 4, 5, or 6 Magic Card will make Gamma's lower half transform, making him immune to Minus Ring Spaces.||Gun: Gamma's special attack is triggered when he plays an S Card. This sets off two roulettes with numbers from one to three. Gamma's attack is the total of the two cards.|
|Chao||N/A||Lullaby: After using a special card, a battle card is designated. Just as with a normal attack a roulette will spin within the parameters of the card number. If Chao does not defeat an opponent, the opponent will not retaliate.|
|Big||Froggy: Play a 6 card and Big can move anywhere between one and six Spaces as he follows the lead of Froggy.||Power Throw: When initiated, Big must select another card. When he has selected another Card, it will spin like normal, but when the number is selected its attack power will be raised by one.|
|Super Sonic||Light-speed Spin Dash: Play the same number for two consecutive turns and Super Sonic will move twice as far. The combo can be chained up to three times.||Sonic Rumble: Inflicts four to six points of damage determined by a card roulette.|
- Air Bubble
- Forcejewel (only appearance)
- 1 Force March (only appearance)
- 6 Force March (only appearance)
- Barrier Amber (only appearance)
- Battle Ruby (only appearance)
- Blockite (only appearance)
- Carbuncle (only appearance)
- Chamelionite (only appearance)
- Curse Opal (only appearance)
- Deletite (only appearance)
- Duplichaos (only appearance)
- Fivealive (only appearance)
- Foolmoon (only appearance)
- Geasdain (only appearance)
- Hi-Speederald (only appearance)
- Hypnotite (only appearance)
- Lose Quartz (only appearance)
- Low Moonstone (only appearance)
- Magnifire (only appearance)
- Maharajite (only appearance)
- Max-Speederald (only appearance)
- Medium (only appearance)
- Packlite (only appearance)
- Preciousite (only appearance)
- Reducite (only appearance)
- Ringidium (only appearance)
- Shield Quartz (only appearance)
- Shuffire (only appearance)
- Sonic-Speederald (only appearance)
- Speederald (only appearance)
- Stopnite (only appearance)
- Swap Jewel (only appearance)
- Teleport Ruby (only appearance)
- Thief's Eye (only appearance)
- Transfire (only appearance)
- Turbo-Speederald (only appearance)
- Warp Crystal (only appearance)
- Warponite (only appearance)
- Wastone (only appearance)
- Magical Card (only appearance)
- Amy Rose
- Big the Cat
- E-102 Gamma
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Dr. Eggman
- Illumina (only appearance)
- Lumina Flowlight (only appearance)
- NiGHTS (cameo)
- Void (only appearance)
- Maginaryworld monster (only appearance)
Sonic Shuffle's artificial intelligence has been regarded as too advanced for the settings it pertains to. If a CPU character were to be set on Easy difficulty, they would still perform at a Hard difficulty setting. For example, the CPU will steal good cards from players, outperform in mini-games, and always get the selected card number in battle.
Many fans say that the computer's artificial intelligence makes the game more fun, as there is a challenge not present in other games. Some fans say they don't mind the difficulty at all, while other fans say that the difficulty was so challenging that they couldn't complete or enjoy playing the game.
- The computers know where every single card is and what number they are, they however can not see the wild cards, S and Eggman, for what they truly are.
- When the computer runs out of any numbered card 4 or above, they will steal a card from another player who still has a card that is 4 or above. After all these cards are gone they will resume using their own again.
- The computer character does not know if a wild card is an S or Eggman card, and will randomly use or steal any wild card even if they still have their own. Since they can't see them, they will even pick the Eggman card when they could have picked a 5. There is about a 1 to 7 chance they will use or try to use a Wild Card on any given turn or battle.
- Since the computer will randomly use a Wild Card in battle, they might use an Eggman Card and lose right off the bat.
- The computer players constantly shuffle their cards around, so you can never assume you will get a good card as one moment it will be good and another it will possibly be bad.
- In Battle, the computers will try to get critical hits against the enemy and will typically use the number displayed for the monster's hit points.
- In mini-games the computer players can typically understand what is going on and will excel quite well.
The computer players perform exactly like they do in Easy Mode but are much more on point, and can anticipate card usage and understand the Wild Cards better.
- In Mini-games they excel much better than they had in Easy Mode, essentially making them very difficult.
- The computer players no longer take chances in Battle, that is, they will utilize a higher card to fight the monster. For example, if the Monster had 2 hit points the computer may use a 4 card to fight it.
The computer players perform at an extremely difficult and intellectual level. They know everything now and can anticipate future events, like where Void will appear after a Precioustone is collected.
- In Mini-games, they easily perform at their highest level without breaking a sweat.
- To compensate for the extreme difficulty, the game will sometimes make the computers make bad mistakes in Battle, like going too early to fight a Precioustone when they don't have the right cards, use a really good card like a 5 on a monster with 2 hit points, or by accidentally picking an Eggman Card.
Counteracting the Computers
Several features in the game allow the player to manipulate both the computer characters and their friends.
When the player is not moving across the board and someone else is picking cards, pressing will shuffle the cards that are in the player's hand, which makes it harder for a computer, who knows where each card is, to pick a good card.
This can also confuse other players in Versus Mode if everyone can see the cards, depending on if there are enough memory cards.
Using Forcejewels to one's advantage can be especially helpful when computers or other players are approaching a Precioustone or Quest Space. Some Forcejewels can be used to destroy cards, force a player to move against their will, warp them to somewhere else, and so on.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||5.1/10|
Sonic Shuffle received mixed reviews from critics, holding a 54% on review aggregator Metacritic. Its main points of criticism were the confusing instructions, the tough AI, poor music, and long loading times.
- Sonic Shuffle is the only Sonic Dreamcast game not to be re-released in any form.
- All of the characters use an ability that they obtained from an Level Up Items, that they had received in Sonic Adventure, for their Specials. The only two Characters to visibly have the Level Up Item they use are Super Sonic (Light Speed Shoes) and Gamma, who has the Jet Booster. The rest of the characters use their abilities without having the Level Up Item that awarded them the ability.
- If the Dreamcast internal clock is set to 24 December of any year, NiGHTS will replace Lumina in Versus Mode.
- This is the only Sonic game where Amy is voiced by someone other than Taeko Kawata in Japanese.
- This is also only game to have Knuckles voiced by Ryan Drummond, Sonic's standard English voice actor at the time.
- This is the last Sonic game where Corey Bringas voices Tails.
- This is the second game where Super Sonic is considered a different character from Sonic, and the two can be played simultaneously. The first was Sonic R.
- This is the first time Chao have appeared as a playable character outside of the Chao Garden. They would appear playable again a year later in Sonic Adventure 2.
- This is the third game to have the characters frowning/smiling at the ranking, the first two being Sonic Drift and Sonic Drift 2.
- Sonic Shuffle is the only Dreamcast game that does not have a representing storyline in Sonic X, nor did it receive a full-fledged adaptation by Archie Comics, although it did receive a small teaser story.
- On 30 September 2003, the online service for the game was shut down.
- ドリームキャスト (Japanese). Sonic Channel. Sega. Retrieved on 12 March 2022.
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- Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast) United States instruction booklet, pg. 2.
- Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast) United States instruction booklet, pg. 23.
- Sonic Shuffle (Dreamcast) United States instruction booklet, pg. 24.
- Sonic Shuffle. Metacritic.
- Bramwell, Tom (22 March 2001). Sonic Shuffle. Eurogamer.
- Dr. Zombie (February 2001). Dreamcast Pro Reviews: Sonic Shuffle 81. GamePro.
- Sparks, Shawn (December 2000). Sonic Shuffle. GameRevolution. Archived from the original on 7 August 2006.
- Davis, Ryan (17 November 2000). Sonic Shuffle. GameSpot. Archived from the original on 10 April 2001.
- IGN Staff (15 November 2000). Sonic Shuffle. IGN.
- zerothreat . Reviews: Sonic Shuffle. Planet Dreamcast. GameSpy. Archived from the original on 20 June 2007.
- Sonic Shuffle. Gaming Age. Archived from the original on 2 January 2006.