Mixed or average reviews - based on 51 Critic Reviews

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.
  29. Jan 15, 2011
    Sonic 4 is a good first episode.
  30. games(TM)
    Jan 11, 2011
    It's the level design that saves Sonic The Hedgehog 4 and elevates it above the more recent but inferior 2D entries like Sonic Advance. [Christmas 2010, p.116]
  31. Dec 22, 2010
    It's a solid game regardless of its franchise, and for Sonic that's as much of a breakthrough as anyone could hope for.
  32. Oct 27, 2010
    What I can say is that I had a blast with it, and those who remember where Sonic came from probably will too.
  33. Oct 24, 2010
    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.
  34. Oct 21, 2010
    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.
  35. Oct 20, 2010
    Quotation forthcoming.
  36. Oct 20, 2010
    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.
  37. Oct 20, 2010
    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.
  38. Oct 20, 2010
    It may stimulate nostalgia glands just as intended but this is the best modern day Sonic game by only a surprisingly small margin.
  39. 70
    Those who are new to the Sonic series, or are just looking for a game to shoot through in under 2 hours will find a good bit of fun here. However, those who have played past iterations of Sonic, preferably the Genesis classics, should proceed with caution, as many of the things that made Sonic great are absent in this latest outing.
  40. Oct 21, 2010
    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.
  41. Oct 20, 2010
    This faithful but inconsistent throwback to the earliest Sonic games mingles high-speed thrills with a few too many frustrations.
  42. Oct 20, 2010
    To have waited for this long though... we probably should have gotten a little more polish and originality for the price tag.
  43. Oct 20, 2010
    There is little doubt that many fans have been calling for this kind of Sonic the Hedgehog game for a long time. If you are one of them, it'll leave you happily wallowing in nostalgic bliss. Or, if you're like me, the frustrations and the annoying bloody music may just be enough to convince you to give up on the whole retro gaming thing for good.
  44. Oct 20, 2010
    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.
  45. Dec 22, 2010
    Sonic is still straight up one of the most aggravating characters in any game on any platform.
  46. Oct 20, 2010
    Not the triumphant return we was hoping for. It's a big no-no with so-so controls in a Sonic game.
  47. Oct 25, 2010
    Rather than representing a revitalization of the Sonic brand, Sonic 4 is a failed, desperate grasp at recapturing its former glory.
  48. Oct 20, 2010
    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.
  49. Dec 22, 2010
    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.
  50. Oct 20, 2010
    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!
  51. Oct 20, 2010
    The new title feels like it was made by someone who has only ever seen Youtube videos of the 2D Sonic games and taken a very poorly educated guess on how it should control.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 122 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 122
  2. Negative: 36 out of 122
  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 »