Sonic 30 years: remember the mobile games of the SEGA mascot

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Sonic the Hedgehog, the most famous hedgehog in the gaming world, is celebrating his birthday 30 years old this Wednesday (23).

Our blue friend is turning 30! Check out his games on mobile (Photo: Playback)

The date marks the release of the character's first game on the late Mega Drive console.

SEGA's speedy mascot has made cell phones its second home since 2001. Check out all the Sonic games that have been released on cell phones (there are 65 games!!!).



– Sonic the Hedgehog (2001 – Sonic Cafe)

The history of Sonic on mobile starts very early, practically along with the history of the first color games for mobile phones. In 2001, the first port of Sonic the Hedgehog for Japanese cell phones appeared. The game was offered as part of the Sonic Cafe service. Made by Sonic Team itself, this "pseudo port" was very short and more resembled minigames with the character.

– Sonic Golf / Speed / Billiards / Bowling e mais (2002 a 2005)

In 2002, the Sonic Cafe service was still in full swing. The service has released several games for users of i-mode 504/505/700/FOMA/900/901/902/903 cell phones with Brew system, which are very popular in Japan.

Foram lançados diversos mini games como Sonic Golf, Speed, Sonic Fishing, Sonic Billiards, Nakayoshi Chao!, Sonic Bowling, Eggman no Kazuate Panic!, Sonic no Jirai Sagashi Game, Sonic Racing Shift Up, Sonic Golf C-Mode Cup e muitos outros.

All in all Sonic Cafe offered around 37 mobile games with the character, but only two of them stood out and ended up also in the west. The original Sonic port from the Mega Drive and Sonic Jump.



– SonicN  / Sonic Advanced N-Gage e Java (2003)

SonicN is a port of Sonic Advance for the first gaming smartphone in history, the Nokia N-Gage. The port was released in October 2003 in the United States, Europe and Australia as one of the device launch titles to date.

The game is an identical version of Sonic Advance from the Game Boy Advance, but the screen cut on the sides bothered some, like me at the time. Yes, the photo above is of my late N-Gage that no longer connects.

A version for Java mobile phones was also released in 2008.

For the time, Sonic Advance was a completely original product. The game had many selectable characters and different gameplay, a little slower. This caused the game to divide opinions, but overall, SonicN is another excellent game in the franchise.

– Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile (2005)

On common, more popular cell phones, the Sonic saga begins with a port of the first game, the classic Sonic the Hedgehog. The game was published by SEGA Mobile but was developed from scratch by iFone (irony).

Due to the limitations of the time, the game was divided into two parts Sonic the Hedgehog Part 1 and Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2. The first game offered the first 3 stages and the second the last stages. The player needed to buy both games to finally be able to beat Sonic on the phone.

The mobile version was very reminiscent of the Mega Drive, but due to the limitations of the Java platform, several things were removed such as bonus stages, reduced sprites and small animals that came out of Dr. Eggman.


– Sonic Jump (2005 in Japan, 2007 in the rest of the world)

Sonic Jump, one of the most iconic hedgehog mobile games.

Still in 2005, Sonic's most iconic mobile game so far was released in Japan. Sonic Jump was made exclusively for cell phones and brought a different adventure. Sonic now had to jump at high speed to reach his enemies and save the animals. A totally different gameplay from other Sonic games until then, vertical scrolling.


Unlike the Sonic 1 port for Java, Sonic Jump was developed directly by Sonic Team, the studio responsible for the main games in the franchise. In Japan, the game first appeared for the following FOMA devices: i-mode 505/506/700/FOMA/900/901/902/903.

In April 2007, Java mobile phones from the West received this excellent game. Sonic Jump would still win an Android and iOS version later, in a remake with 3D graphics.

– Sonic at the Olympic Games (2008)

Very well received on mobile phones, the Sonic at the Olympic Games franchise would be a version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. The Nintendo character was banned from the mobile version.

The game is a collection of mini-games in athletics and other sports. The highlight, could not be another, the presence of fun characters from SEGA.

– Sonic the Hedgehog (iPod 2007)

Although not exactly a cell phone, this is a very interesting curiosity of the year 2007.


Before there was Android and even iPhone, Sonic the Hedgehog, a perfect Mega Drive conversion was released exclusively for some iPods like iPod 5th Generation, Classic and 3rd Generation iPod nano. Attention, do not confuse iPod touch. I meant iPods.

The game is controlled using the iPod's Click Wheel for movement and the center button is used for jumping. Alternatively, there's a second controller setup where players tap the screen to move Sonic around. Any of the control schemes can make the game more challenging than it originally was.

– Sonic Jump 2 (2008)

Sonic Jump 2 followed in the footsteps of the first game and delivers an adventure that mixes casual fun with a good story. Dr. Eggman intends to destroy the planet, and to stop him, the player, as Sonic, must jump from platform to platform, climbing the screen to the top.


There are 7 levels of increasing difficulty. With the right to bosses and everything. New to this game is a Chaos Emerald shard in each level – to collect it you must finish the act with at least 50 rings. One of the best Sonic games in Java.

Sonic Unleashed (2009)

Sonic Unleashed is a mobile game based on the console game of the same name. This Java mobile version was 2D and was published by Gameloft.

Unlike its 3D counterpart, the mobile version of Sonic Unleashed is a side-scrolling platformer, with underwater sections that the player can enter (without falling into a bottomless pit) and walk through, though playable characters eventually drown if they stay underwater for a long time. Abilities like Boost and the grinding maneuver return from the console version of the game.

This is another Sonic game that was very poorly received on consoles, but found its audience on mobile.

 

– Sonic the Hedgehog 1 e 2 para iPhone (2009)

In 2009, the first hedgehog game was released for iPhone. This time, the game wasn't actually made for iOS. In reality, the “game” was a rom running on the iGenesis emulator.

SEGA's partnership with iGenesis developer Stephen Broumley would take place again in 2010 with the release of Sonic 2 for iPhone and iPad Touch.

These ports of Sonic using emulator would only come to Android in 2011.

– Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I (2010)

First released for iOS in 2010 and Android in 2012, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I is one of the most controversial Sonic games on consoles. A lot of people didn't like and don't even want to remember this game.

But for us mobile game lovers, seeing a hedgehog game in 3D for the first time was impressive. Sonic 4 on mobile was very similar to the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I takes place right after the events of Sonic 3 and Knuckles and takes place before the events of the next part, called "Episode 2". After Sonic manages to destroy Doctor Eggman's space station, he decides it's time to take a well-deserved break. After becoming separated from his companions Tails and Knuckles, Sonic sets out to explore new territories alone.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II and Episode Metal would be released in 2012 for iOS and also for Android.

– Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (2010)

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball also appeared on iOS in 2010. Like the first “port” of Sonic for the iPhone, Spinball is actually an emulated game with on-screen buttons. The version was exactly the same as the one released for Mega Drive in 1993.

Despite having history, Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball was basically a multi-stage Pinball game where Sonic was the ball. The game was heavily inspired by the Spring Yard Zone and Casino Night Zone stages, present in the first two Hedgehog games.

– Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2011)

The kart-style racing game featuring SEGA and Sonic characters was released in 2010 on iOS and on Android in 2013.

Again, the mobile received a port very close to the console versions. Easy to play and with many challenges, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is an addictive racing game that can still be found on Android out there, on those very “dubious” websites.

Sonic 20th Anniversary (2011)

Yes, there was an app to celebrate Sonic's 20 years on iOS.

Sonic 20th Anniversary was a free app developed and published by Sega for iOS devices. It was released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Sonic the Hedgehog game in 1991. The app consisted of a Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I demo, the 2D Sonic the Sketchhog minigame, and various wallpapers.

– Sonic CD (2011)

In 2011, Android and iOS received a port of Sonic CD. This game is considered by many to be one of the best games in the entire franchise. It was the first time Android received a hedgehog game simultaneously with iOS.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD is a port developed by a fan, Christian Whitehead, also known as “The Taxman”. He became famous for creating a widescreen port of Sonic 1 known as Retro Sonic.

With the “Retro Engine”, which would later be dubbed the “Retro Engine Nexus”, The Taxman released Sonic CD for various platforms, including Android and iOS.

Featuring some of fan-favorite characters like Amy Rose and Metal Sonic, Sonic CD has become something of a cult classic, in part because of its release on the ridiculously clear accessory, the SEGA CD. But its success is also due to its visual style and gameplay that stands out from the other classic games in the series.

One of the core gameplay elements in Sonic CD is the unique time travel mechanic. For the first two zones in each level, four different time periods can be visited: the present, the past and two different futures – good and bad.

Always starting in the "present", the player can make Sonic jump between the "past" and the "future" by running on signs with the description "Past" and "Future". Each of the four potential time periods will be reflected in the combination of choices. The result can be seen in the following zones with changes to the layout of the stages.

– Sonic Jump (2012)

In 2012, Sonic Jump was released on Android and iOS. This is a remake of the classic Sonic Jump from old Java phones.

The game was first released paid and then it was free for a while, but in the end, it was paid again, when it was renamed Sonic Jump Pro.

Sonic Jump for Android and iOS can still be found in app stores today, the game is offline.

– Sonic the Hedgehog 1 e 2 para iOS e Android (2013)

In 2013, the “Taxman” struck again with another Sonic port all reworked in Retro Engine.

As with Sonic CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 arrived on smartphones with reworked graphics and commands to be better adapted to mobile gaming. In addition, this version has native support for physical controllers or Bluetooth.

Both games can still be found in the app stores and have earned the subtitle “Classic”.

– Sonic Dash (2013)

Perhaps because the gameplay of games like Subway Surfers have become very popular on mobile, Sonic Dash is the most successful Sonic franchise on mobile.

The scheme is simple: Sonic runs automatically and it's up to the player to just dodge obstacles. At the time, the game brought as a novelty the battle with bosses, something that several other games of this genre copied.

In addition to Sonic Dash, Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom and Sonic Forces: Speed ​​Battle were also released.

– Sonic Jump Fever (2014)

After the success/failure of Sonic Jump – a game that apparently had good potential to be free to play – but it didn't work out too well, SEGA decided to release Sonic Jump Fever.

Sonic Jump Fever follows the same principles as Sonic Jump, a vertical platform game that sought to be the sequel to the first game.

The big problem with Sonic Jump Fever was that it was a free to play game with in-app purchases and energy meters. The game was very poorly rated by critics and fans. Just a year later, SEGA decided to take it out of the app stores.

– Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2014)

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed also won a mobile version in 2014. The racing game features cars that could be transformed into boats or planes.

Unlike other kart games that seek to be easy, Racing Transformed had a bit more difficulty and maybe that's why it didn't please the public very much. Especially on cell phones, where the difficulty is increased due to the touch controls that can annoy some players.

Racing Transformed was also quite “heavy” for cell phones at the time, the game only ran well on high-end devices.

– Sonic Runners (2015)

Similar to Sonic Dash, Sonic Runners is an infinite runner game. But this time in the classic “side roll” pattern.

It was also another free to play game that was not well accepted by the public. SEGA removed it from the app stores a year later.

But it wasn't the end of the Sonic Runners idea, which would return as Sonic Runners Adventure in 2017, a paid, offline game. That's right!

– Sonic Racing (2019)

Released in 2019, along with the Apple Arcade service, aimed at iOS devices like iPhone and iPads, Sonic Racing is a simplified version of the console game, Team Sonic Racing.

The game is the sequel to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, a car racing game featuring Sonic's characters. This time, other SEGA characters were left out. For now, the mobile version is iOS only.

– Sonic at the Tokyo Olympics (2020)

And we finish with another game in which SEGA bet on premium content, showing that Sonic lives a dilemma on cell phones, not knowing if it pleases the public looking for free to play games, or fans who want premium and offline games.

The 2020 version of Sonic at the Olympics surprised many gamers for the quality and price. Despite being free to download and test, the game is paid. After the first 10 stages, you must pay to continue the blue hero's athletic journey.

Just like the first Sonic Olympics game, Tokyo 2020 brings several challenges with sports that will be present at the event.

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Regardless of the style of play adopted. Sonic has always had a strong presence on cell phones. With official ports and many exclusive games on the mobile platform, the blue hedgehog has a guaranteed place on cell phones and in the memory of those who followed it over these 30 years!

 

Happy birthday Sonic!

 

With information from: https://info.sonicretro.org

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