Sonic Marathon: Shuffle Party

The Sonic Marathon might have peaked early because Sonic Shuffle is the best Sonic game ever made. Essentially a clone of Mario Party, Shuffle is a turn based board game where players move towards a goal while being punished or rewarded for the squares they land on. You also play the occasional mini-game that is always won by the person who has played the game before…

In Mario Party the number of spaces you can move on the board is dictated by a random dice roll. Shuffle is a much superior game because it replaces this random component with a deck of cards. Each player has a hand of cards that only they can see thanks to the Dreamcast VMU and in each turn they either pick from their hand or blindly from another player.

The number printed on the cards dictates how many spaces you can move. There are also bad Robotnik cards and special cards, which makes picking the best card quite strategic. You can often watch other players behaviour to determine if they have a card you might need, and when you run out of cards you have no choice but to start picking from your opponents hand. When someone is picking from your hand you even have the ability to shuffle your deck in a desperate attempt to stop them taking a card you want to keep.

It all boils down to a lot of shouting and rage as someone surprises you with a card or you take the card they needed. I played through the entire single player campaign as well as many drink fuelled nights playing multiplayer with friends, and would continue to go back to it.

Considering we’re now at the tenth iteration of Mario Party, it’s a shame Sega hasn’t returned to Shuffle even once.

Part 1: Sonic Marathon: The story so far