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Hourglasses are reccouring gimmicks in the Sonic the Hedgehog series which first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2. Hourglasses are basically similar to regular switches. Flipping it over will activate a reaction in the environment.


Despite having a different look in each game, the design of the Hourglass is the same to real-life counterparts. They are essentially glass bulbs without leg stands connected vertically, usually decorated with the bumper symbol or other significant markings on their top and bottom plates. They are larger than the playable characters.

When either jumping or using the playable characters' attacks, the Hourglass automatically flips over and triggers an reaction in the environment, such as opening paths or altering the surroundings. In some cases, this reaction has a time limit which is measured by the sand trickling down from the top glass bulb to the lower in the Hourglass. After the time runs out, the reaction is deactivated until the Hourglass is flipped again.

Game appearances

Sonic Adventure 2


Hourglass as seen in Death Chamber of Sonic Adventure 2.

Large hourglasses are first seen in Sonic Adventure 2, where it can be found at Dr. Eggman's pyramid base's stages, such as Pyramid Cave, Egg Quarters and Death Chamber. If the player jumps on or punches an hourglass, it will flip and various doors will open for a certain amount of time. However, the doors slowly close as the sand in the hourglass runs out. The player is able to determine how much time is left by listening to a sound much like a clock ticking in the background, which steadily speeds up as the sand falls. The player can then travel back and activate the hourglass again in order to proceed on the stage.

When it comes to the fight against King Boom Boo, one of his minions conveniently carries an hourglass. Hitting the minion will flip the hourglass, opening doors in the ceiling and letting the sunlight in, which will get King Boom Boo in his weak shadow state.

Sonic Unleashed

The hourglasses in Sonic Unleashed function differently than in their previous appearance. Other than the option to change Day or Night in the pause menu when at Town Stages, there is an hourglass in each Entrance Stage which has the same function of switching from day or night and from hedgehog to werehog. Hourglasses are also set on numerous sections in Eggmanland, where the player has to transform between hedgehog and werehog most of the time in order to progress in the large stage.

Sonic Runners

During the "Halloween Event" of Sonic Runners, Hourglasses appear in the event-exclusive storyline. While investigating a haunted lakeside castle, Team Sonic is taken to a dead end by a Boo where Tails notices an Hourglass. As a brainwashed Boo then appears, Tails flips the Hourglass and opens a hidden door in the stone wall for short time, which the heroes escape through. Later, Dr. Eggman uses another Hourglass to unleash King Boom Boo from behind a stone wall in the castle courtyard, just as Team Sonic locates him.

In other media

Sonic X

Sonic with Hourglass

Sonic with the talisman in Sonic X.

In the episode "Sonic's Scream Test" of the anime series Sonic X, there was a stone figure of an hourglass called the "talisman" similar to the ones in Sonic Adventure 2. It had a figure of a sun on one end and a crescent with a star (with the star being removed from the English dub) on the other end.  It was discovered on the grounds of a castle where a movie starring Lindsey Thorndyke was being shot. One of the cameramen removed the talisman statue, which awoke King Boom Boo and the Boos. Restoring the talisman to its rightful place made the Boos depart.

In the Archie Comics' Sonic X #14, the talisman reappears in attempt to use it against the reawakened King Boom Boo and his Boo minions by Cream. As a promise to not disturb the heroes, King Boom Boo orders that the talisman to be placed back at its pedestal by dawn of the following day.




Sonic Adventure 2

Main article | Gallery | Beta elements | Re-releases (Battle | 2012)
Sonic Unleashed

Main article | Gallery | Script | Re-releases (Mobile)

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