Developer: Sega America
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
Arguably, Sonic is to Sega what Mario is to Nintendo and because the iPhone and Touch are so handy for portable gaming, most users will welcome a title like Sonic the Hedgehog with open arms (and open wallets). I know I was certainly one of Sonic’s biggest fans during his original debut on the Sega platform and to this day, have every inch of the first two Green Hill Zone levels memorized and could play through them in my sleep.
It stands to reason that the appearance of Sonic the Hedgehog for iPhone and Touch left me eyeing it and wondering whether the translation from platform to platform would go well and in many ways it does. It is the same game and remains intact – from the loop-de-loops and blazing fast tunnels, right down to the hidden ring bonus and invincibility blocks. Excited as I am to have it for on-the-go play, there’s simply not a lot to say except that it’s Sonic the Hedgehog for iPhone and thankfully, none of the enjoyment was lost in translation.
If you are somehow unfamiliar with Sonic the Hedgehog, I encourage you to become familiar with him. There’s something about Sonic that is just plain loveable. Though Sonic himself is mascot and star of several games spanning several platforms, Sonic the Hedgehog is the original Sonic game and is a 2D side-scrolling adventure that features a determined Sonic battling the evil Dr. Eggman and his mechanical minions. Collect rings, defeat the bad guys and the bosses and save the day.
The only major gripes I have with Sonic the Hedgehog on the iPhone are the controls and the performance. If this were an individual or up-and-coming development company, I would probably not even question the performance. After all, it’s decent, but coming from a major big-wig like Sega I expect perfection and the individual frames seem to drag a bit mid-game. It’s nothing a future performance update wouldn’t fix should Sega choose to do it, but they’re Sega — they don’t have to do anything.
As for the controls, they take some getting used to and because Sonic the Hedgehog uses the touch screen D-pad — which I often find distasteful simply because I can’t “feel” it — I had to practice a time or two just to get past level 2 of the Green Hill Zone. However, I don’t see any other way it could have been done. Use of the accelerometer function would make Sonic the Hedgehog feel unnatural in my humble opinion. Plus to be fair, the touch screen controls are more responsive than many other games I’ve played using the same method.
At the end of the day Sonic the Hedgehog for iPhone gives you seven zones featuring the familiar music and sound effects you’ve come to know and love. You can switch viewing modes from normal to arcade, which makes the control area larger and the screen way to small to enjoy playing, but it’s an option nonetheless. Be sure to keep a power source handy because Sonic takes some serious juice, which sort of defeats the purpose of mobile gaming, but in Sonic's case who cares?
Though I suspect Sega could have cheated consumers, offering only a minimal zone or two for five bucks, they didn’t. And while Sonic the Hedgehog is a bit on the pricier side, if you’ve played before and can recall the “ching-ching” of rapid ring collection and the sonic speed of rolling through the tunnels, then you know exactly what you’re getting. If somehow you haven't experienced Sonic yet, don't worry — he won't let you down.