Sonic Frontiers is an expansive game loaded with items to find, moves to unlock and many, many rails to grind. It’s a fast, fun time, especially once you find your rhythm with how Sonic controls and the game’s many interlocking systems.
With so much to do, and so many collectibles to track down, it can be hard to know where to start. And while the game provides decent onboarding, it also leaves a lot up to you to figure out. So if you’re looking to get started—and don’t mind a little spoiler-free background before you begin—here are ten tips to prepare for the open frontier.
10/10 A familiar ring
If you’ve played Sonic games before, you know that rings act as a sort of health bar for him. If he takes damage, he will lose some of the rings he has. If he gets hit while holding zero, it’s game over – but the game will let you pick up right where you left off.
You can also perform a Ring Dash, dashing through a line of rings, by clicking the left stick. And if the number of rings is at full capacity, you will receive an attack and speed boost. So try to keep the max number of rings as often as possible, even if you’re just roaming through a danger-free area.
9/10 Cyloop, Cyloop, Cyloop
At the start of the game, Sonic will learn Cyloop, which creates a trail behind him as he runs. Enclosing a full circle with Cyloop creates an explosion that has all sorts of uses. First, it is a reliable attack that can hit many enemies at once. For some armored enemies, it is actually necessary to Cyloop them first to take down their defenses.
You should also use it wherever you see a blue glow – on signs or certain environmental objects, such as suspicious trees or cacti – to uncover hidden objects. And you can always use it to generate more rings. Every time you close a Cyloop, rings will pop out, and sometimes rare items will appear as well. If you’re in the middle of a boss fight and find yourself low on rings, just take a moment to Cyloop a few times and it will be much harder for the enemy to hit you.
8/10 Keep your eyes out for Koco
Scattered across the islands in Sonic Frontiers are small round creatures called Koco. (They’re kind of like the Koroks of Breath of the Wild, minus the charm and distinctive laugh.) You’ll want to collect as many as you can and bring them back to the elder Koco, who will reward you with increases to your speed or maximum ringing capacity .
Koko have a rocky appearance and blend into the natural environment, so you need to keep a close eye on them. Fortunately, they are often hidden around points of interest, such as portals, so be sure to check around and behind these landmarks as you find them.
7/10 Take advantage of the exercise room
Sonic has many moves at his disposal, some of which you will only find out about in the training room. When you enter a portal, the loading screen will place Sonic in the training room and give him various challenges while he waits.
Take the time to actually complete these challenges as they provide great insight into how to handle real game situations. You can also jump into the training room at any time from the skill tree to practice a specific move.
6/10 Find places to earn skill points quickly
On the skill tree, prioritize Air Trick first. It will help you earn bonus points by doing aerial stunts. In certain situations when Sonic goes airborne (such as powering up a piece of sloping terrain or bouncing off a glowing spring), blue sparks will flicker around him, signaling that you can start moving the left stick to perform tricks.
You can hack this system somewhat if you find a glowing spring that Sonic can bounce off of, but still land roughly where he started. Just keep bouncing off it over and over, performing as many tricks as you can, and you’ll get points much faster than you would just by defeating enemies.
5/10 Use The Parry
Sonic Frontiers has a very generous parry system. There’s no timing to it, so Sonic can just hold both shoulder buttons to go into a special stance and deflect one enemy attack. When parried, not only will enemies be stunned, but time will also slow down, giving Sonic a huge opportunity to retaliate.
You can even need to parry some enemies to defeat them. So if Sonic’s normal moves don’t work, give them the chance to attack first, just hold down the parry buttons and see if that gives you an opening.
4/10 Defeat Guardians to open portals
Sonic will regularly encounter impressive, often huge, mini-bosses called Guardians. Defeating them will give you the Portal Gears you need to open Cyber Space stages – special zones where you can earn Vault Keys, which in turn allow you to access the Chaos Emeralds.
The Guardians are cleverly designed around Sonic’s abilities, and their battles are some of the highlights of Sonic Frontiers. Fighting them will give you practice running up hills, grinding rails, parrying and other important skills, and defeating one can be a bit of a puzzle the first time you encounter it. Some of these fights can also be pretty tough, so max out your rings with repeated Cyloops before putting them on.
3/10 Optimize the camera, and Sonic himself, in the options menu
For all the things that Sonic Frontiers does right, the camera can be a problem. Fortunately, there is a long list of camera options available in the game settings to position it to your liking. It’s often useful, such as pulling the camera further back than it’s standard, so you can see more around Sonic.
Frontiers also has a surprising number of ways to tinker with Sonic’s movement that almost resembles a racing game. Starting speed, starting speed, top speed, turning radius — the list goes on. So be sure to spend some time on all the options in this menu to maximize control and visibility over Sonic and his environment.
2/10 Don’t get greedy when making combos
When an enemy’s defenses are down, it’s time for Sonic to rush in and start attacking. Many of Sonic’s moves combine seamlessly into each other, but some of the strongest moves can also take the longest to perform.
One trap you don’t want to fall into is overplaying your hand and getting caught right in front of the enemy after they’ve recovered and can hit you back. This can be especially difficult to gauge on smaller enemies whose attacks are harder to see. Getting hit isn’t the worst thing, as rings are generally easy to restore. However, when an enemy is vulnerable, consider taking some time to retreat or parry, rather than just attacking for as long as you can.
1/10 Maximize the Vault Keys
The Cyber Space stages are also a highlight of the game, and they pay creative homage to Sonic’s other 2D and 3D adventures. Completing objectives in these stages will earn you Vault Keys. And if you complete them all, you’ll get more keys as a bonus.
Because of the big bonus you get from completing all the stage objectives, it’s worth it to be a finisher on them. But you don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t try to, complete all the objectives in a single run. Focus on one task, probably collectibles, and slowly work your way through. Then, when you know the scene well, you can focus on speed and ignore everything else.
NEXT: Sonic Frontiers: All Islands, Ranked