At first, the characters can only examine the shrines (only Knuckles seems familiar with them). Upon obtaining the Mystic Melody upgrade however, they can use the music created from it to activate these shrines and they will create a path that will lead to short cuts through the level, other upgrades or lost Chao.
How these paths are open depends on the level such as:
- Floating platforms appearing.
- Large doors opening.
- A portal opening above the shrine which can teleport the player.
- Line of rings for light dashing along.
- A Spring appearing on the top of or near the shrine.