Earlier today we discovered that a non-Xbox version of SEGA’s Super Monkey Ball 2 has become available for free to Nokia handset owners. Distributing an ‘indie’ version of an already existent Xbox game is pretty much without precedent. Sure, Angry Birds Space and Star Wars for Windows Phone 7 don’t have Xbox Live features like their Windows Phone 8 brothers, but those are at least completely different versions of the same games. The free version of Super Monkey Ball 2 has simply had its Xbox Live features stripped.
It looks like free games from SEGA for Nokia users may be a trend, because a second game has just showed up as part of the Nokia Collection. SEGA’s phenomenal Sonic CD is now available for free for Nokia owners, once again without the Xbox Live features of the general version. (Somebody forgot to remove the Xbox banner from the game's Live tile though.) The lack of Achievements might just kill much of the replay value of this particular game but people who just want to experience the game will still have loads of fun.
Blast (processing) from the past
Sonic CD is a remake of the classic 16-bit Sega CD game. It plays much like other Sega Genesis Sonic games, though the focus on exploration has increased thanks to much larger levels and new gameplay mechanics.
Sonic’s nemesis Dr. Eggman has traveled back in time to change the history of Little Planet and gain its power. Sonic must jump back and forth between past, present, and future versions of seven different zones, destroying Eggman’s robot teleporters and eventually doing battle with a robotic version of himself: metal Sonic.
The Windows Phone version of Sonic CD features a ton of improvements over the classic game, including true widescreen visuals, two selectable soundtracks, and the newly-playable sidekick Tails. All told, we consider this one of the very best games of 2012. Check out our full review for lots more details.
Work for that download
Like the free version of Super Monkey Ball 2, it might take a little work to actually procure the non-Xbox Sonic CD. The difficult downloads seem to be a result of general Windows Phone Store errors, so things could improve in a few days’ time.
When trying to install on my phone, I kept getting region errors. Oddly, turning on cellular data made those errors stop. Even after initiating the download process, the download might halt and fail a few times. Just keep resuming it over and over until it decides to be nice and finish.
Nokia owners, follow this link for use the QR code below to grab the free game. If you’d rather have the Xbox Live version, it’s worth every bit of the $4.99 price. All Windows Phone users can get the Xbox Sonic CD right here from the Windows Phone Store.
But what does it all mean?
Xbox version at left; Nokia version at right
We already know that Nokia and Electronic Arts/Chillingo have a strategic partnership. So far, they’ve produced numerous exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games for Lumia owners. The first of those exclusives – Mirror’s Edge just became available to all Windows Phone users today.
These strange free versions of Super Monkey Ball and Sonic CD seem to indicate a new agreement between Nokia and SEGA. The lack of Xbox Live status could be a restriction imposed because both games have already seen general release. We’re investigating with Nokia and will let you know whatever details we dig up.
Thanks to Rajkumar Nagarajan for the tip!