In recent years, gamers have almost all but forgotten about Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic started out strong on the Sega Genesis, but after moving into the three-dimensional world, he lost almost all his luster, and gamers mainly gave up hope. And you can't blame them, because Sega released quite a few games in the series that ranged from forgettable to horrible.
With the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, Sega is putting a lot of faith into the idea that a return to retro gaming will save the famous hedgehog. This game is a classic definition of the term "retro gaming" because it's almost exactly the same as its 19-year-old sibling on the Sega Genesis.
Players use only the control stick and a single button on the controller to do all maneuvering: jumping, attacking and rolling.
The visual style and graphics are done well. It might seem as if you're playing a classic 2D side-scroller, but it most certainly doesn't look that way. The enemies are bright and vivid, the environments are detailed, and Sonic looks excellent.
Speaking of enemies, this is one area of the game that really needed a little more work before release. For some reason, the developers decided to create some of the cheapest and most annoying enemies ever. For instance, Sonic can be going through one of his ridiculously high-speed racing moments, jump off a spring and land near a wall where — poof! — an invisible enemy appears and shoots him with a dart. There is absolutely no way that players could know that enemy is there — it's invisible, therefore impossible to dodge. There are numerous other cheap enemies that seemingly cannot be attacked or were placed in difficult locations.
Despite this, the game comes out feeling well put together. It is a classic return for the series, and for the most part, it works well. The high-speed racing and jumping gameplay that we all remember are back.
It's perfect for those moments when you have a half-hour to kill but don't want to start a role-playing game. Sonic fits well here: It's a well-made casual game.