Developer: Sega America
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode HD brings me back. Seems like just yesterday I set down Altered Beast and took on this new superhero that collected rings, defended against evil and rolled up like a ball and flew around the screen like something I'd never seen before. I cannot even begin to think about how many hours I spent on this game. I was the only kid on the block with a Sega Genesis so my friends always came by and played too. It was good to be me.
Fast forward a few years and everyone else moved onto bigger and better consoles and I was stuck with Sonic. He got me through some tough times. Fast forward a few decades and now it's available for iPad in the form of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 HD. The iPhone version was released a year ago just in case you didn't find an iPad under the tree. (And if you didn't, you might want to think about being a bit nicer this year.)
The game is classic Sonic with super fast game play, unfortunately placed pits and of course those colorful springs that zing Sonic up, over, down, sideways and through loops. At times, the breakneck speeds cause a bit of dizziness as Sonic hits the loops and some of them cause the screen to rotate uncontrollably. It's intense.
As for controls, they're simple. Go right and left by using the virtual D-pad on the left and spin like Sonic of yesteryear with the virtual D-pad on the right. It's a bit tricky to get used to in the beginning, but it only takes a few tries to get a hold of it. For instance, try to get a running start before turning into a ball as the same button is also used as the jump button. If you're going too slow then Sonic will just jump awkwardly and usually when a fire breathing chameleon is near by or those dreaded spikes that deplete you of all your rings. Those rings are very handy when finishing a particular zone as they're added to the overall score.
For Sonic fans, Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode HD for iPad will be a welcomed port. Sure, it's a bit light as there are no extras such as super duper cool bonuses, but it's a solid game and provides quite a bit of entertainment for the price. For gamers new to Sonic, I still think it's a good buy. For hardcore Sonic fans, they'll probably want to stick to Sonic CD, which launched around the same time as this one and has received rave reviews.