And, unfortunately, neither does skill. Sonic Shuffle
tries to be the Dreamcastís Mario Party
, but it ends up falling flat. While thereís a little enjoyment to be had, the horribly cheap A.I. and drawn-out load times will probably make you look somewhere else for your entertainment.
Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy are thrown into Maginaryworld, and there they have to save the Precioustones from the evil Void. Whatever. The object of each map is to collect the Precioustones that appear, one at a time, on specific spots on the map. Each space on the map has some feature that youíve got to learn, and proper use of those spaces can be the difference between winning and losing.
Instead of using dice, in Sonic Shuffle you use a deck of cards. There are four of each number from one to six, a few Special cards, and an Eggman card (isnít that Dr. Robotnik?). When itís your turn, you can play from your cards or your opponentís, but theirs are face down. Mind you, that doesnít stop the computer from cheating. Even on the Easy setting, they have a habit of picking the exact right card from someone else to land on the Precioustone space or whatever they need to do -- itís really disheartening to see.
Most of the spaces on the board either give or take away rings from you. There are also spaces where you must do a Battle, where the highest number flipped wins. And then there are the eponymous Mini-Game spaces, where you dive into mini-games a la Mario Party and try to best each other. These games can be 1 on 3, 2 on 2, or a free-for-all. Some are fun, some are not; some are hard, some are easy. There are a whole lot of them, though, so they tend to stay fresh.
You can also play the game with up to three other people, although you canít do the single-player campaign like this. Any missing folk are taken over by the computer -- for maximum enjoyment, youíll want four human players so that the cheating is kept to a minimum.
The problem is that the game just isnít that much fun. Mini-games donít happen often enough when youíre playing to win, the computer cheats like crazy, and the gameplay itself is, in the end, uninspired.