Gaming

Best Sonic Games Of All Time

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It’s been 30 years since Sonic the Hedgehog – the blue guy with the most ‘tude’ – set off for the first time on Mega Drive in Japan and Sega has finally presented a credible challenge for the platform crown. In the three decades since, the blue blur has been in a number of platform games: some 2D, some 3D, some fantastic, some not so much.

Regardless of his numerous successes and misses, Sonic has proven that he has something far more important than just his speed and the aforementioned ‘tude: Sonic has power to stand.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary we asked Nintendo Life readers to rate each Sonic 2D game, and combining the results with an existing list of 3D games, we can now present you with the definitive classification of each Sonic game ever – the ones that are appeared on a Nintendo platform, i.e. (sorry-not-sorry) Sonic 2006).

Remember: the order below is updated in real time according to the corresponding User Rating of each game in the Nintendo Life game database. Even when you read this, it is entirely possible to influence the classification below. If you haven’t rated your favorites, just click on the “star” of the game you want to rate below and assign a point now.

So, take a chili dog and a companion from your increasingly ragtag group of sidekicks, and watch the best (and worst) Sonic games on Nintendo systems.


Please note: We’re only using Sonic platformers that have appeared on Nintendo platforms – either as part of a collection or as an individual version – so you won’t find them Knuckles Chaotix o Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure or something that is not a platform game (no Mean Bean Machine o Tails Skypatrol shmup action or Sonic Drift karting, then).

In addition, the 8-bit Sonics featured in both Master System and Game Gear are presented only once below. And finally, Sonic Spinball – or Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, to give the game its full and proper title – was a tipping point, but we can’t bring ourselves to rule it out. If his presence offends you, just imagine that there isn’t.

Okay, ready now? Get ready for some excellent erinaceidae platform. Just not on top …

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Big Red Button

Release Date: 11 Nov 2014 (USA) / 21 Nov 2014 (United Kingdom / EU)

Part of a cross-media rebrand for Sonic and the band – now with tape and neck added – Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric it was a failed attempt in the face of a revival that presented extended re-enactments of the main characters and gave you a largely vacant open world to explore. Their audio was passively entertaining, but a host of technical issues and questionable decisions made this a disappointment on all other levels.

Sonic Labyrinth (GG)Sonic Labyrinth (GG)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Minato Giken

Release Date: November 1995 (USA) / May 10, 2012 (United Kingdom / EU)

This isometric Game Gear title from Minato Giken has you discovering four maze levels for the keys to open a target door and hit a boss at the end of three Acts. With an uninspired level design and a slow, slow motion, this is a ‘3D’ Sonic that eliminates the main ingredients of a Sonic game. Sonic Labyrinth it’s available for 3DS, but it’s really true for Sonic masochistic complexes.

Sonic Blast (GG)Sonic Blast (GG)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Wait

Release Date: November 1996 (USA) / 14 Jun 2012 (United Kingdom / EU)

Sonic Blast is a perfectly competent Sonic 2D game that has been released on Game Gear (and Master System in Brazil), and is well worth a try for interested parties and hardcore fans. It was included above Sonic Mega Collection Plus, a compilation that has expanded the number of games on the GameCube Sonic Mega Collection but never came out on a Nintendo console, but Blast also came in Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console as an individual version. It’s a fun curiosity for fans, but far from the best of Sonic’s 8-bit output.

Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: SEGA Studio USA

Release Date: 20 Feb 2007 (USA) / March 2, 2007 (United Kingdom / EU)

The first Sonic game for Wii, this Arabian Nights theme adopts the 3D formula put Sonic on center stage as the only playable character. Sonic and the Secret Rings he used the console’s unique controller in a wheeled adventure that looked nice, but he certainly failed to lock the 2D edge of the wheel in the third dimension. Like many of Sonic’s 3D games, it has fun or interesting elements, but they don’t match together in a satisfactory whole.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (WiiWare)Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (WiiWare)

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Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Dimps

Release Date: October 11, 2010 (USA) / Oct 15, 2010 (United Kingdom / EU)

The 2D purists had been asking for several years to see a return to a “classic” Sonic game – one without dialogue, without stage scenes and without companions. In more recent times the wonderful Sonic Mania mandate exactly what fans had been dreaming of for so long, but in 2010 Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 was Sega’s response to the old school crowd.

A version of WiiWare with a dozen side-scrolling tapes, satiated a portion of fans at the time. However, the base locomotion was incredibly soft compared to the 16-bit classics, and the game is hard to come by these days (and we don’t want to say just why it’s no longer affordable via the Wii Shop). Nintendo gamers have never had the following, and no Episode 3 has ever been produced.

Sonic 3D Blast®Sonic 3D Blast®

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Travel Tales

Release Date: 19 Nov 2007 (USA) / 2 Nov 2007 (United Kingdom / EU)

As a technical show for the former Genesis / Mega Drive, Traveler’s Tales Sonic 3D Blast (o Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island as it is known in Europe) is an admirable stab to the Sonic formula in isometric 3D. The visuals capture quite the look of the Chess Chess Zones quite well, but their slow controls and overall reduced pace compared to the classic 2D ones reduce the intriguing curio status.

Far from essential, then, but still not the bottom of the cane.

Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii)Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Sonic team

Release Date: March 10, 2009 (USA) / March 13, 2009United Kingdom / EU)

“Do you know what Sonic needs? A sword – a speaker, if you can!” she never told anyone but that person at the meeting where she came from Sonic and the Black Knight. This title continues the ‘Storybook’ series that started with Secret Rings and puts Sonic on an Arthurian adventure that introduced the Wii-waggle sword that fights for a good measure.

It’s as good as it looks, and while it’s not without moments of charm, the execution here doesn’t cut it. It leaves us with another mediocre to poor entry in Sonic’s 3D catalog.

Shadow The Hedgehog (GCN)Shadow Of The Sun (GCN)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: SEGA Studio USA

Release Date: 15 Nov 2005 (USA) / 18 Nov 2005 (United Kingdom / EU)

If you’ve ever wondered what a Sonic crossover game would look like with a third-person shooter, Shadow the Hedgehog is your answer. This spin-off followed Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic hero and took the series on a “darker”, more “mature” path. He is certainly not as poor as his reputation suggests, although he suffers from much of the inelegance and low-level conception of other minor Sonic adventures. The attempt to produce a more gritty version of Sonic comes out hopeless, but this approach has its fans – like Shadow the Hedgehog.

Sonic Lost World (3DS)Sonic Lost World (3DS)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Dimps

Release Date: 22 Oct 2013 (USA) / 18 Oct 2013 (United Kingdom / EU)

Sonic Lost World it has its share of mediocrity and questionable conception, but it also has flashes of old Sonic magic that have kept fans in a food of hope for many years. While it has a slew of 2D stages, it’s also a handy entry that dares to test even “adequate” 3D, and it’s impressive considering the 3DS hardware.

Don’t get me wrong: the 3DS version is an extremely average experience overall, and I highly prefer its big brother Wii U, but this is also far from the worst Sonic game you’ve ever played and contains simple moments of platforming fun. which are really pretty good.

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (3DS)Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal (3DS)

Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Games Sanzaru

Release Date: 11 Nov 2014 (USA) / 21 Nov 2014 (United Kingdom / EU)

There is a lot to enjoy Sonic Boom: Crystal Shattered, but it is nothing revolutionary. It was one of the best Sonic releases at the time, but unfortunately it doesn’t say much. If you’re a Sonic fan or like platformers, you can make a lot of noise, but SBSC (as almost no one called it) won’t disturb many of Sonic’s top 10 fan lists.

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