The latest release in the Sonic Riders series is a hoverboard racing game using Microsoft's Kinect technology on the Xbox 360, announced by Sega during the 2010 E3 conference. The game released on November 4, 2010 as one of Kinect's launch titles.
Sonic Free Riders is a racing game in which the player controls a character riding a hoverboard across several circuits, performing stunts and grabbing weapons and power-ups along the way for competitive advantage. Each track also features unique shortcuts that allow players to complete races more quickly.
The gameplay in Sonic Free Riders requires the player to stand in front of a Kinect camera and use gesture-based controls to lean left or right, accelerate, reach out for objects, jump, and perform stunts, among other mechanics.
The game features online competitive multiplayer, and local competitive and co-op splitscreen modes. The online multiplayer mode can be played with up to seven other people, while the local multiplayer modes can be played with two players, or two tag-teams of two.
The plot is similar to the other games in the Sonic Riders franchise, with Dr. Eggman attempting to gain control of the Chaos Emeralds by setting up another hoverboard competition. The story also focuses on the rivalry between Sonic the Hedgehog and his green counterpart Jet the Hawk. Unlike previous titles in the Sonic Riders series, cutscenes are just conversations between talking heads, rather than fully acted out scenes.
The characters in Sonic Free Riders are divided into different teams, similar to the ones from 2003's Sonic Heroes.