Review of Sonic 4: Episode 1 (Xbox Live Arcade)

Quite a few years after the classic Sonic games, SEGA has created the ultimate fan service title: Sonic 4. Does this game show us that 2D platformers are still fun? Read on to find out!

Sound: This game follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, sporting a catchy techno-esque soundtrack that any 2D Sonic adventure should have. The only issue is that although the music is good, it’s not as memorable as the classic tunes. Sound: 7.5/10

Presentation: The visuals look almost like a comic book. Everything looks crisp and almost 3D, because of the way the textures of the graphics are. It’s a cool style, and definitely retro. Presentation: 9/10

Gameplay: Sonic sure doesn’t play like he used to. His spindash is rendered almost powerless, his homing attack is a necessity, and momentum-based physics are gone. Now, although this sounds like a recipe for disaster, all of these seemingly negative things add up to make a positive, new and somewhat intriguing gameplay experience that just takes a lot of getting used to. Aside from that, controls are responsive and everything works as it should. Levels consist mainly of holding right, jumping a few times, not much precision platforming and even a few puzzles are thrown into the mix. Level design itself is good, encouraging the slightly awkward physics by offering speedy routes to those who have mastered the quirks of the game. Each of the four zones also has its own gimmick, with the factory/industrial level having steam pistons that rocket you all over, and the ancient ruin level having giant Indiana Jones boulders chasing you down caverns. Overall, a pretty varied and unique gameplay experience. Gameplay: 8.5/10

Multiplayer: N/A

Length: Leaderboards, achievements, special stage and the four zones of the game are what you get. Once you race through all the levels once (which only takes about two hours or so), you can go tackle the special stages to win the chaos emeralds, but that’s about it if you’re not into achievement hunting and leaderboards. Length: 6/10

Overall: Sonic 4 gets 7.8 golden rings out of 10, and even though the bliss is short-lived it’s still a fun remake that brings back all those fond memories of a spiky blue hedgehog bouncing around on a 2D plane.

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