Published on June 9th, 2013 | by Duke0911
Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (Mobile)
Developer: Sonic Team and Christian Whitehead (2013 Mobile Version)
System(s): Android, iOS
Release Date(s): May 15, 2013 (iTunes), May 16, 2013 (Google Play)
If you’re a gamer, you’ve more than likely played, or at the very least, heard of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s the game that started the spiky blue guy’s career, and though he’s had his ups and downs, he’s definitely one of the more iconic characters in gaming. Sonic the Hedgehog was originally released on the Sega Genesis in the Summer of 1991, and since then the game has seen many ports. Sonic Mega Collection, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, and Sonic Generations are just a handful of ways you can play the classic game, and there’s no doubt that the list will continue to grow as the years go by. The most recent port of the game involved a partnership with Christian Whitehead, the developer behind the Retro Engine used in this port, as well as the re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog CD. This time around, only mobile users will be able to play the game, but how does it handle compared to the dozens of other ports?
Sonic the Hedgehog plays pretty much the same as it did back on the Genesis. With the Retro Engine implemented, the game handles extremely well on handheld devices, so well that it’s almost exactly like the original. You move with the virtual circle pad to the left of the screen, and jump with a virtual button on the right. You’ll be running through shuttle loops, bashing badniks, and spindashing all over the place with these simple controls. You read correctly, the spin dash that was first introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is available here, and it works just fine. I don’t really find myself using it often, since the levels weren’t originally designed with the move in mind.
All of the levels are mostly same from the original, with a few new paths added in here and there to accommodate for the new features of this port. After playing through the game as Sonic, you unlock both Tails and Knuckles, as well as the option to have Tails follow Sonic. Tails can fly to reach hidden rooms, and also swim. However, just like in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, he will get tired after a while and start to descend. Knuckles has the shortest jump of the three, but can also glide and climb walls to reach shortcuts that others can’t access. He’s also powerful enough to smash through walls with his knuckles, by simply running though them since he holds his fists out while in motion. Adding these two doesn’t take away from the experience, but rather gives the game a fresh breath of air with mechanics that are introduced in later games in the series. There are a few other extra goodies for players to find, so don’t count the game as over when the credits roll. The amount of content that’s present here is amazing, and I can only hope this mush effort will be put into ports of other games in the future.
Whenever you finish Act 1 or 2 of most of the zones in the game, there will be a giant ring next to the sign post. Jumping through one of these will take you to a special stage, where you maneuver through a constantly rotating maze in order to acquire a chaos emerald. With this port the special stages seem a little more difficult than the Genesis game, and it’s partly due to the physics engine used in this version. In the original it was possible to jump off of almost any wall no matter what angle you were at, and in some cases, jump off of the goal block which automatically ends the special stages. With this version it’s much more difficult to pull off here, mainly due to the fact that Sonic seems to move a bit faster than usual. The Special Stages are still enjoyable, but will take some trial and error to navigate on your first few attempts.
Another addition is Time Attack, which should be self explanatory. You choose any act you’ve completed and reach the goal as quickly as possible. Special Stages can also be played in this mode, but you can only play as Sonic in Time Attack. This is also the only known way to select any stage you’ve played, because once you beat the game as any character on any of the available save slots, you can only play the final zone if you decide to revisit a completed file. There is an option to play the game without saving, and you can always delete a file in order to start a new game. Though I do enjoy Time Attack very much, I wouldn’t mind trying to beat my best times as either Tails or Knuckles.
One more thing that doesn’t really involve the gameplay, but a small customization option. When you first start up the game, it will have an animation that ends with a 3D Japanese Sonic the Hedgehog game box floating, where it will prompt you to tap the screen in order to start up a game. You can change this to either the European box art, or the one that was made for North America. Be very careful, as there is a glitch that will cause the sound to short out whenever you jump. For me it’s only happened when I change to the North American boxart, but it can easily be fixed by uninstalling the game and re-downloading it. As of now, there is no patch to address the problem.
I can say with no problem that this is the definitive port of Sonic the Hedgehog, and in some aspects, better than the original game itself. Once again Christian Whitehead is able to update a classic game without dramatically changing anything with the new additions. Most fans of the series probably own multiple copies of this game, but with an Retro Engine, multiple characters, and hidden extras scattered about it shouldn’t be looked over. Yes, the special stages can be irritating at times, but it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. It’s a great remastering, and I hope this continues with future ports of both Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
+ Smooth controls
+ Tails and Knuckles playable
+ Retains the feel of the original
+ Amazing hidden features
– Sound glitch when game boxart is changed to American
Final score: 4.5 out of 5