Mixed or average reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 51
  2. Negative: 4 out of 51
  1. Oct 20, 2010
    The fact is, Sonic 4's first episode is so much fun that it makes you forget about the world and think of nothing but the game. It encapsulates the pure thrill of gaming that many contemporary titles seem to comatosely forget.
  2. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic 4: Episode 1 is the best Sonic game I have played for a long time; and I absolutely loved it.
  3. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic 4 is what fans of the blue hedgehog have been waiting: a lightning fast 2D platform game that recovers what made the original game a true classic.
  4. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic 4 represents everything that any fan of the franchise could ever wish for: a marvelous level design and a gameplay that proves, once again, to be one of the finest examples of intense platforming.
  5. Oct 20, 2010
    It's deserving of your time and your money despite its length. But more importantly, it's deserving of the name 'Sonic The Hedgehog 4'. That was always going to be this game's biggest challenge, but it's succeeded with aplomb.
  6. Oct 20, 2010
    In short, this is the game SEGA should have made 15 years ago. It's just a shame that to be this good took ages.
  7. Games Master UK
    Dec 25, 2010
    No just a rehash, but a brilliant game in itself. Sonic reigns once more. [Issue#232, p.88]
  8. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic is back and is as fast and smooth as ever. Can you download as fast as Sonic can run? If so, get that game now!
  9. Play UK
    Dec 25, 2010
    Forget all those earlier PS3 Sonic games, as we finally receive one that does the blue hedgehog proud. [Issue#199, p.102]
  10. Oct 22, 2010
    Sonic 4: Episode 1 is a short, but well-crafted entry in the series. It's hurt by a lack of innovation and a relatively high price given that it's basically half the length of a regular side-scrolling Sonic, but still carries a pretty hefty $15 price tag. If you're a casual Sonic fan, you're probably better off waiting for it to be discounted at some point on PSN or as an Xbox Deal of the Week, but series die-hards will definitely get $15 out of it between playing through it, then replaying stages for better times and leaderboard scores.
  11. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic is back and is as fast and smooth as ever. One of the best Sonic game in a long time.
  12. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic 4 harks back to the days when video games tested your dexterity, timing and patience. It's challenging, immaculately designed, super-fast, and a fitting return to form for a character who is - next to a buxom archaeologist and that dungaree-sporting plumber - arguably one of the most recognisable icons of all time.
  13. Oct 20, 2010
    Saying it's the most fun I've had in a Sonic game in 15 years isn't actually saying a whole lot, but it's certainly a great start.
  14. Jan 12, 2011
    Sonic goes back to his roots and delivers a fantastic game on the PlayStation Network. This game contains levels from previous 2D Sonic games, but the graphics are now in HD. After a lot of Sonic games that weren't good, this is the one to get!
  15. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Jan 25, 2011
    But for every archaic design choice that's needlessly re-trodden for the sake of sticking to 'the blueprint', Sonic 4 introduces other new features that help to replace the nostalgia with a bit more substance. Just the simple ability to quick-jump to any zone, act or special stage in any order (and to compete with your mates scores and times) makes this instantly better than its predecessors. Long-suffering Sonic fans rejoice; the magic is back. [February 2011 p80]
  16. 80
    Not only is this Sonic as we remember him, with all the familiar powerups and rings to collect, there are also plenty of new additions to keep the experience fresh. It's a fantastic rollercoaster ride, and although it's short, it's everything we hoped for in a sequel to the classic 2D platformers.
  17. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Dec 25, 2010
    After a decade of failures, all those extra lives Sonic's collected over the years have finally come to fruition. [Issue#51, p.119]
  18. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Oct 28, 2010
    Playing Episode 1 felt like hanging out with an old friend who still has all his best moves and looks better than ever. [Dec 2010, p.73]
  19. Oct 25, 2010
    The best Sonic game to come out in the past 16 years.
  20. Oct 20, 2010
    It has the flavour of the original Sonic, but refined. It may result too short for its price, but it is very replayable.
  21. Oct 20, 2010
    It may not be the be all end all Sonic game that professed enthusiasts like myself have been waiting 15 years for, but Sonic 4 is a fun, frenetic download for fans and newcomers alike.
  22. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic 4 is short, but sweet and well worth downloading.
  23. Oct 20, 2010
    It's not a perfect retro revival and can be blown through in a few hours, but this is a much better-and purer-Sonic experience than we've seen in years. The difficulty can range from easy to very hard; the final boss is particularly ridiculous.
  24. Oct 20, 2010
    Everyone involved in this project from greenlight, to the cunning PR strategy, to bravely naming the game Sonic 4, to the polished final product, should be immensely proud – and now, fans who've stuck with Sega and the Sonic series through thick and thin, can be too.
  25. Jan 13, 2011
    Dimps Corporation had the not-so-easy task to release a sequel without making a remake out of it, keeping it trustful to the original game design while adding new features. As a result, Sonic 4 has its ups and downs and does not stand the top quality of the Mega Drive age Sonic. Nevertheless, Sonic 4: Episode 1 is much more "Sonic" than the latest entries in the franchise, a must-have for the hedgehog's fans and all those unlucky players who never ran in those fancy red shoes.
  26. Oct 20, 2010
    Sonic The Hedgehog 4 delivers a thrilling experience: it is a pleasant return to the past. Unfortunately, players will complete this chapter in a couple of hours, and the price is a little bit high.
  27. Oct 20, 2010
    Altogether I feel like it's a great throwback to old Sonic games, but at the same time I wish it was a little more refined and had removed some of the annoyances I had with the previous 2D Sonic games.
  28. Oct 20, 2010
    Most importantly, it nails the fun of hitting springboards, bouncing off enemies, and defying gravity with pure speed. While hardly perfect, it's solid enough that even reviving the old "Se-ga!" before the title screen feels appropriate. After a decade of missteps, Sonic has earned it.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 108
  2. Negative: 31 out of 108
  1. Oct 13, 2010
    Well, well, well here we are 16 years later. What a disappointment. I am saddened playing this game. I understand they have to use PorcupineWell, well, well here we are 16 years later. What a disappointment. I am saddened playing this game. I understand they have to use Porcupine Sonic, by why are they using Sonic Rush type physics rather than building on the Classic physics. The physics in this game are awful. Maybe they should set the next Sonic game on the moon because Sonic plays like a brick.

    People are saying that this is the best Sonic game in years and it is. But that really isn't saying much.

    The modern fanbase will lap this up - but they will buy anything Sega produces. Which is why the Sonic games are in such a mess - point proven.

    All eyes are on Episode 2, hopefully with some new ideas???

    I would have enjoyed this game more if it wasn't called Sonic 4. But we know Sega like milking the most popular Sonic series.

    I'm off to play Sonic3Knuckles.......maybe todays Sonic Team should play it too.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 13, 2010
    This is easily a personal 'Worst Sonic game of all time'. The way I can best describe it is as follows.

    To begin with, Sonic is controlled
    This is easily a personal 'Worst Sonic game of all time'. The way I can best describe it is as follows.

    To begin with, Sonic is controlled like a cinder block covered in melting tar. He seems to accelerate as though he completely forgot how to walk, let alone run. The physics are the fundamental part of any good Sonic game. Here, you can walk on curves that he can probably touch with his hands, rolling doesn't give you any speed boost down a hill, and jumping in the air at speed just feels completely off. Second, the level design itself. The levels are adequatly designed for the most part, but then some absolute blunders make you wonder what they were thinking while making them. They all have some incredibly huge danger preceding the finishing post, more often than not stripping you of your rings to enter the special stages. That is actually a blessing, the special stages in Sonic 4 Episode 1 are the most frustrating ones in a Sonic game to date. You do not control Sonic, you control the stage itself, with extremely badly placed objects constantly throwing you into 'GOAL' blocks. Super Sonic cannot be worth this much anger.

    The music is composed of what seems to be the exact same synths over and over again, and not even the melodies are memorable. On a personal note, I am a huge fan of Sonic. I have studied the original games and understand what makes them so good, so memorable today. If you are the same, or have never played a new Sonic game after Sonic 3 and Knuckles, do not waste your time with this. The things that made the originals so great is not present in this game, and SEGA are clearly using the name for profit alone. I just wish the Playstation Network allowed for refunds.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 23, 2010
    This game is a lot of fun. Does it play exactly like the old games? No. Does it matter? Unless you're too anal about the changes to enjoy itThis game is a lot of fun. Does it play exactly like the old games? No. Does it matter? Unless you're too anal about the changes to enjoy it for what it is, perhaps... But this is honestly the best Sonic I've played. It's not really all that shocking over how many people are upset over the game considering how long it's been since there's been a real 2d game. The kids have grown up, and like most people who age they lose their ability to adapt to change. Ok, so about the game.. the controls are somewhat different, but they're NOT bad, just different. The game is a hell of a lot of fun, especially once you unlock Super Sonic. My only complaint is that it's too short, but considering it's only 10 bucks it is WELL worth the price. Also, there's going to be an Episode II... sweeeeeet. Full Review »