Metascore
72

Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 43
  2. Negative: 5 out of 43
  1. Oct 26, 2010
    91
    Even though Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a short ride, it's a fun one.
  2. Oct 21, 2010
    90
    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.
  3. Oct 21, 2010
    90
    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.
  4. Dec 25, 2010
    88
    No just a rehash, but a brilliant game in itself. Sonic reigns once more. [Issue#232, p.88]
  5. Oct 21, 2010
    85
    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!
  6. Oct 21, 2010
    84
    A joyous return to form for the series that makes us very excited about what's in store for future episodes. It's great to have Sonic back, it's just a shame it's all over so quickly.
  7. Oct 21, 2010
    84
    Whether or not this means the triumphant return of Sonic, this game is worth your time if you can appreciate classic gameplay without the classic frustration it usually brings.
  8. Oct 22, 2010
    82
    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.
  9. Oct 21, 2010
    82
    Sonic is back and is as fast and smooth as ever. One of the best Sonic game in a long time.
  10. Oct 27, 2010
    80
    Sonic 4 is a return to the 2-D style of Sonic gameplay with redone stages from older games and an overall compilation of gameplay from Sonics 1-3.
  11. Oct 25, 2010
    80
    The best Sonic game to come out in the past 16 years.
  12. 80
    Sonic returns to his back-to-basics best.
  13. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    Sonic 4 is short, but sweet and well worth downloading.
  14. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    Sega has taken the classic Sonic formula and finally repeated it with success. In this case "less is more". Once you add in some small additions that were developed during the 3D era you get a solid entry in the sonic franchise.
  15. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    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.
  16. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    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.
  17. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    Oh, and the "physics" are absolutely fine, you whiny bastards.
  18. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    Sonic is back, and it feels like 1991's Sonic The Hedgehog. SEGA and Dimps worked together to bring back the best platforming game of the golden era of the character. Impossible jumps, terminal velocities, and a blue shadow that spins and rotates while collecting rings and freeing the animals of the forest held by Dr. Eggman.
  19. Oct 21, 2010
    80
    It has the flavour of the original Sonic, but refined. It may result too short for its price, but it is very replayable.
  20. Oct 21, 2010
    75
    Potential replay value is fairly high.
  21. Oct 21, 2010
    75
    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.
  22. Oct 21, 2010
    75
    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.
  23. Dec 25, 2010
    70
    A good, if unspectacular, platform outing. [Issue#66, p.104]
  24. Oct 24, 2010
    70
    Sonic is finally back. Not that he was away, but he hasn't been in this sort of shape since the Genesis-days. That is not to say that he's completely like the old Sonic, because there are plenty of little niggles here for the fans to get irritated from. Still, he's fast and runs from left to right, just the way we like him.
  25. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    This isn't the sequel we've been yearning for all these years. It's a fancy looking homage; a game that regurgitates old levels with shiny new visuals. Sonic 4 does a fantastic job of recreating the retro Sonic experience that defined many a childhood, but ironically this could be considered its biggest shortcoming.
  26. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Quotation forthcoming.
  27. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Regardless of its faults, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a fun, frantic game that redeems The Fastest Thing Alive in a way that was drastically needed. If you're a Sonic fan who doesn't mind parting with the points, this is one download you certainly won't regret.
  28. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    The game still feels a bit light on content at $10, but Sonic fans will still find it a worthy investment.
  29. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Some may say that there is no place for Sonic in 2010 and that that the game is dated and boring by today's standards. But I say Sonic should be given a chance, and that there are plenty of people out there who have never played a Sonic game the way it was meant to be played.
  30. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    With a toe-tapping soundtrack, glitzy presentation and obvious accessibility, Sonic 4 Episode 1 has much to be proud of. Gamers who recall the early nineties and yearn for a simpler time when true 3d was restricted to bad sci-fi movies should lap this title up, but there's definitely a sense that it could, or indeed should have been more.
  31. Oct 21, 2010
    67
    You've come a long way, made some mistakes, and now you're trying to make amends for them. It shows a great amount of maturity on your part to admit that you're flawed and can be better a perso-er-hedgehog, but you've still got a long way to go before things are back to the way they were between you and me.
  32. Oct 21, 2010
    65
    This faithful but inconsistent throwback to the earliest Sonic games mingles high-speed thrills with a few too many frustrations.
  33. Oct 21, 2010
    65
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a fairly good Sonic game that brings the franchise back to school, but several shortcomings prevent it from reaching greatness.
  34. Oct 21, 2010
    62
    If you like your gameplay oldschool and you still harbor a crush for Sonic in his most primitive form, this is the closest you'll come to a Sonic 4 for Genesis. For everyone else, save your points and avoid this game like it's got the monkey-flu.
  35. Oct 21, 2010
    60
    Sonic 4 is neither straightforwardly heinous nor a glorious return to form. It's a beautiful homage, and on balance an enjoyable one, but things aren't as uncomplicated as you might hope.
  36. Oct 21, 2010
    60
    Not the triumphant return we was hoping for. It's a big no-no with so-so controls in a Sonic game.
  37. Oct 21, 2010
    55
    Sonic 4: Episode 1 is a train wreck for Sonic fans. It makes Mario look good, and remember, Sonic was a character made to compete with a short, fat, ugly plumber.
  38. Oct 21, 2010
    50
    It's a brief, underwhelming and unchallenging experience that never really gets up to speed as a sequel -- never mind a particularly good platformer.
  39. Oct 21, 2010
    45
    If fans would like to hear a mockery of Sonic name, then Sonic the Hedgehog 4 should be at the top of their list for soundtracks to listen to.
  40. Dec 22, 2010
    40
    Sonic The Hedgehog Episode 4 seems to be more of a Sonic the Hedgehog 1.2 (calling it "A.5" would put it too close to the brilliant Sonic 2...). The levels don't surprise, the soundtrack bores, and more importantly the blue hedgehog's inertia and dullness make it a real disappointment in 2010. We'll try not to resent it too much, since it's a rather cheap downloadable game, but it's still a very short game as well. Love is blind, so some may still enjoy it, but we'd rather advise them to try out the DS games, which are closer to today's expectations of a 2D journey with the supersonic hedgehog.
  41. Oct 21, 2010
    40
    Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is more than a below-average platformer. It feels like the last nail in the franchise's coffin. If this game couldn't take the series back to its glory days, it doesn't seem like it'll ever get there.
  42. Oct 21, 2010
    40
    Sonic 4 is an utter mess of a game, cobbled together in a manner that puts the entire franchise to shame. It feels sluggish, broken and lazy, but at least it only lasts a couple of hours!
  43. Oct 21, 2010
    40
    Platformers shouldn't have half-arsed interpretations of physics. They shouldn't have a continue system which is for all intents and purposes simply an inconvenience generator. And they shouldn't have half-thought out continue systems, designed solely to annoy.
User Score
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 44
  2. Negative: 20 out of 44
  1. Oct 13, 2010
    3
    Sega managed to almost make me cry - with sadness. I've been longing for a real 2D Sonic since Sonic & Knuckles came out. I even had a name for it: "Sonic 4". Well, years later they came up with Sonic 4. Let me break it down here: Sound FX: 10/10. They are the actual Genesis-Era blips. Music: 10/10. Superb work, kept the spirit of the original catchy songs. Level Design: 10/10. It really feels like a Sonic level, after all this years. Graphics: 5/10. Level graphics are good, but Sonic's model looks dumb, and didn't quite match the games graphic style. 2.5D didn't do the trick, this time. Finally, Controls: 0/10. It's just wrong. There is no inertia, especially when jumping. It doesn't control like Sonic. In fact, it doesn't control like anything I ever played. You release the D-Pad, Sonic stops. Like Pitfall. Nothing should control like Pitfall in 2010, let alone a game in a franchise know for its high quality gameplay.
    I really hope Sega fix that. I could also ask for some vintage skins for Sonic's model, but that would be just a fluff. The important thing here is the controls, and Sega managed to destroy the whole thing with a few lines of code.
    Score: (10+10+10+5+0) / 5 = 7
    7 * how bad the controls are = 2
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 21, 2010
    3
    I have been dying for this game for a long time... I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. However... it sucks. It just sucks. I played the original Sonic 1, 2, and 3. I played Sonic and Knuckles. They were fun, and part of it was the freaking controls and sense of speed. Now? Not so much. Those reviews that are defending so harshly... I literally can't imagine why. At best it is an average experience. Most of the time? It is almost unplayable and boring. Oh well. Back to fire up my Genesis collection on my 360. Full Review »
  3. Oct 18, 2010
    3
    Sonic 4 is a great error. There is more to do real benchmarking and reviews on youtube, phisics are bad, boring music, recycling levels and very few ideas. If we look at Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic CD and Sonic & Knuckles see that there is a positive progression. Great levels, great difficulty, secrets ... all that is lost completely. Sonic 4 is a remix of the classics without any funding as a continuation of a legendary saga. A Sonic 4 is not as bright as Sonic 2D platform deserves nothing. Bad, bad, bad, VERY BAD Sega.

    Autotarget + wrong phisics + no new ideas for a new sonic = Fail

    Mediocre for a game with a name like Sonic 4.
    Full Review »