It was 30 years ago that Sonic the Hedgehog — the blue dude with the most ‘tude — first burst forth onto the Mega Drive in Japan and Sega finally presented a credible challenger for the platforming crown Nintendo’s jumping plumber had been wearing since the mid 1980s. In the three decades since, the blue blur has starred in a host of platform games: some 2D, others 3D, some fantastic, others not-so-much.
Regardless of his myriad hits and misses, Sonic has proven that he has something far more important than merely his speed and aforementioned ‘tude: Sonic’s got staying power.
To celebrate his 30th birthday we asked Nintendo Life readers to rank every 2D Sonic game, and by combining the results with an existing list of the 3D games, we can now present to you the definitive ranking of every Sonic game ever — the ones that appeared on a Nintendo platform, that is (sorry-not-sorry Sonic 2006).
Remember: the order below is updated in real time according the each game’s corresponding User Rating in the Nintendo Life game database. Even as you read this, it’s entirely possible to influence the ranking below. If you haven’t rated your favourites yet, simply click the ‘star’ of the game you wish to rate below and assign a score right now.
So, grab a chili dog and a companion from your ever more ragtag bunch of sidekicks, and let’s check out the best (and worst) Sonic games on Nintendo systems.
Please note: We’re only featuring Sonic platformers that have appeared on Nintendo platforms — be it as part of a collection or as an individual release — so you won’t find Knuckles Chaotix or Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure or anything that’s not a platform game (no Mean Bean Machine or Tails’ Skypatrol shmup action or Sonic Drift karting, then).
Also, the 8-bit Sonics that appeared on both Master System and Game Gear are only featured once below. And finally, Sonic Spinball — or Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, to give the game its full and proper title — was an edge case, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to exclude it. If its presence offends you, just imagine it isn’t there.
Okay, ready now? Prepare for some excellent erinaceidae platforming. Just not at the top…
A WiiWare release with a dozen side-scrolling stages, it satiated a portion of fans at the time. However, basic locomotion was incredibly soupy compared to the 16-bit classics, and the game is tough to return to these days (and we don’t just mean because it’s no longer purchasable via the Wii Shop). Nintendo gamers never got the follow-up, and no Episode 3 was ever produced.
Far from essential, then, but also not the bottom of the barrel.
It’s about as good as that sounds, and while it’s not without moments of charm, the execution here just doesn’t cut it. We’re left with another mediocre-to-poor entry in Sonic’s 3D catalogue.
Don’t get us wrong: the 3DS version is an extremely average experience overall, and we far prefer its Wii U bigger brother, but this is also far from the worst Sonic game you’ll ever play and it contains simple moments of platforming pleasure that are really rather good.