[UPDATE: IGN 8/10] First Batch of Sonic 4 Reviews

[UPDATE: IGN 8/10] First Batch of Sonic 4 Reviews

UPDATE: IGN has posted up their review of the Xbox 360 version, in written and video form (see above). They give the game an 8/10. /UPDATE END

The first batch of reviews are in for the iPhone and PS3 versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 and they’re all pretty positive. We’ll focus on two of the reviews here and provide links to others at the bottom of this article.

AppTilt’s Dan Lee gave the iPhone version a 9/10, claiming SEGA has done well in bringing Sonic back to his roots, while still keeping him fresh.

Every level is bright, colourful, detailed and screams ‘Sonic’ at the top of its lungs. SEGA has done a fantastic job of bringing Sonic back to his roots, but also making him feel fresh and modern.

Lee says the game meets the classic Sonic level design of multiple routes, which encourage the various play styles of those who like to speed through a zone and those who like to be more adventurous and explore.

The good news is that the level design is classic Sonic. Each act has multiple routes depending on your play style – so those who enjoy the speed can simply put the hammer down and blast through, whilst the more adventurous can slow things down and eek out every ring there is on offer; just be wary of the ten minute level time limit!

The only complaint Lee had was with the controls. Lee didn’t find the touch or tilt controls to be as accurate as buttons and an analogue stick.

So now for the bad news – the iPod controls aren’t as slick as they could be, and occasionally ruin parts of a level. There are two ways to play the game – ‘Touch controls’ or ‘Tilt controls’. Touch gives you a faux analogue stick in the left hand corner, which controls movement, whilst a circle in the right corner simulates a jump button. This button is far too small and in the full flow of a level it’s very easy to miss – which usually results in death. Both the move and the jump buttons sometimes fail to register as well, which is beyond frustrating.

Tilt controls enables you to move left and right by tilting the iPod in that direction. Jumping is taken care of my tapping any part of the screen. I quite enjoyed the Tilt control as it removed the small jump button – however it lacked the precision of the analogue stick. Neither of these controls schemes are awful; they could have just done with a bit more tweaking. In terms of longevity Sonic 4 is as deep as you want it to be.

Lee finished up by highly recommending the game:

So there we have it – overall Sonics return is a rousing success. The occasional unresponsive controls are not enough to put a dampener on some top notch level design and good old fashioned fun. Highly recommended.

Full review here

GamesRadar’s Justin Towell reviewed the PS3 version of the game and also gave it a 9/10, stating that like most fans, he noticed the physics differences in early footage and had doubts the game would live up to its name, but after playing the full game he says that it surprisingly does live up to the title Sonic 4.

The physics are different, the art design is different… perhaps it was just too different to be worthy of the name ‘Sonic 4’. How could anything possibly live up to that name? To my utmost surprise, it does.

Towell also wasn’t overly bothered by another factor often complained about in the game, the homing attack.

You get the lock-on attack from Sonic Adventure, which threatens to change the game too much, but is actually used sparingly and works well almost all of the time. There are a couple of occasions where you want to use the air dash to power over a spiked enemy’s head, but the game thinks you want to attack it, resulting in a cascade of lost rings.

Towell explains there are new speed tactics not found in the previous Mega Drive classics that he enjoyed playing with and improve Sonic’s speed without having to wait for the next steep hill to come along.

Going back to Sonic 1 after spending hours with its new sibling feels very strange. Sonic 4 handles very differently. It’s more… bold. Clinical, even. Every movement seems more deliberate, and while the finer nuances of low-speed control have arguably been lost, it’s at high speed that it reveals its true depths.
I mentioned that lock on attack can be used as a simple air boost. When running at speed, this has a noticeable acceleration effect, allowing you to reach speeds on open stretches that old Sonic simply wouldn’t be able to do without a hill to help him. Jumps on hills still react as you’d expect, and landing a jump on a decline results in a welcome burst of speed, just like those loop-jumps of Sonic 2.

Towell then goes into the games replayability through various modes like Time Attack and brings good news that Super Sonic’s times will be ranked separately to Sonic’s.

So how much game is there for Sonic experts? I was able to beat the entire game, collected all the emeralds and beat the secret zone in one evening. After that, there are separate score and time attack modes to try for every stage, complete with online leaderboards. These are split into all/friends categories, and scores attained with Super Sonic are categorised separately from regular Sonic.
Add in the countless hidden routes through levels and it’s clear there’s a truck-load of replayability. Finding the fastest routes and mastering them is going to take weeks, maybe months. Maybe years.

Towell finishes up the review with the following positive thoughts and verdict:

A friend on Facebook asked me to sum up the game in one word. It’s a tough thing to do. I wouldn’t say ‘magnificent’ – it’s still a little too unambitious for that. I certainly wouldn’t say ‘disappointing’, because Sonic Team and DIMPS have done the impossible and managed to make this most critical of Sonic fans love a new Sonic game.
So I’m going to plump for ‘deserving’. And I mean that in two ways. 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.

You’ll love
+ The purest Sonic game for ten years
+ Works on so many gameplay levels, like its predecessors
+ So much game to master, despite its diminutive size
+ You’ll hate
– Can be ‘completed’ in one evening
– Physics are different, not necessarily worse
– Visuals could have been even better

Full review here

GamesRadar also shared the completed map screen:

Other iPhone version reviews:
GameShard 9/10
AppAdvice 4/5
iLounge (B)
Pocket Gamer 7/10
TiPb 5/5
SEGABits (B)
AppSpy 4/5

What do you think of the game’s positive critical reception so far? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. i gave the game a 9.5/10, its brillant

    its classic sonic all-new, only flaw for me was too short.

    but still first sonic game in ages that ive loved , it had me smiling and humming the tunes too.

    Plus finally the music sounds like a sonic game ^^

    after all the crap from 2005 to 2010 we finally get a true sonic game, lets hope colours lives up to the hype, even though im not hyping it, i didnt hype sonic 4 so thats probly why im loving it alot.

  2. Nice to see that this is off to a good start! After all the lack of optimism people have been having for it due to the physics problems etc (myself included) it’s nice to see some good reviews for the game.

  3. Wow, such a good reception. Let’s hope that IGN, Gamespot, 1-Up.com, and Metacritic shares the same positive response. 😀

  4. This makes me happy. As much as I don’t usually care about whether something is reviewed well or not, because regardless if I like it, I’m going to like it. But to see others finally like a Sonic game makes me really happy. I love the game and to see others enjoy it like I do… it’s a good feeling.

    Like others, I’m interested in seeing what some of the bigger names think about it.

  5. Certainly is a ‘deserving’ title and to see that the long await S4 is off to a grand start!

  6. Sorry, but I’m not used to seeing a Sonic game recieve really good scores like that.

    But of course, theres also IGN and Gamespot review….

  7. Oh thank goodness! Good to see that the gaming community loves it! Sonic is back on track!

  8. @sonfan1984

    Who care to them?
    If there is a lot of sites that give Sonic 4, 9/10 , then i dont care to what ever GS & IGN says ….
    I mean this is nearly the 1st Sonic game to take a 9/10 in a while!

  9. Im shocked, but at the same time glad that the reviewers are surprised on how well the game turned out. I guess the delay was really worth the wait =D

    Why cant monday come sooner?! lol

    btw about the delay, when they were improving everything on the game, were they only talking about on the 360 and PS3? because after seeing that the iphone’s build being the old E3 version, Im worried that the Wii’s version will be like that

  10. @Dakota Jones

    NO,NO !
    Sonic Team are not that stupid to do that! iPhone version is the old build because its fits iPhone but not Consoles!

  11. @MH MD: I dont care that much either but there’s peope who treats IGNs and GameSpot reviews like their opinions is the ones that really matters. If they give this game or Colors a 5 or lower, watch how people who havent play the game will say that ‘Sonic is dead’ or ‘That reviewer is 100% right, you people are blind fanboys” etc.

  12. Suddenly all those people who constantly moaned and bashed Sonic 4 at every given opportunity, look amazingly stupid indeed.

  13. @Casanova

    Nah, they are just going to accuse the reviewers of being bribed by Sega. They will always put a negative spin on everything. Had the game been given bad reviews, then the reviews would be given more weight. Fans do the same thing when Sonic games get bad reviews by saying the reviewer is just being too harsh.

  14. Wow, I’m actually really surprise by the review. I was expecting IGN to give the game a 6.

  15. Awesome! =D I knew it’d do well! I think the only reason it’d not get more credit than it does is because it was made now and now right after Sonic & Knuckles, and because it was made now some might expect more advanced unimportant things like graphics despite already being better than the graphics of the old game.

    That being said, this is actually a good thing. XD Now all we need is the Wii review. I heard it has the most comfortable controls. =)


    Aknotholeresident doesn’t hate the game. He said that a while back. XD lol


    Whatcha doin’ here? You know they mention Super Sonic in levels right? I thought you didn’t want any spoilers!? JK! XD
    Be sure to lemme know on YT what you think of the game when you play it. =p

  16. @sonicfan1984

    Don’t worry. You know what they say. You can’t spell ignorant without ign. XD So if they give it a bad score, big whoop. If they give it a good school, bring out the choir. lol

    Also, the fans tried to sue IGN for giving Unleashed a bad score (I know it’s stupid but the game was the best since SA2 and still pretty darn good. Just saying, the fans got mad for the low score. XD)
    So if they gave a low score to Sonic 4 and Sonic Colors, just imagine what the fans might do! XD

  17. @Machenstein:
    I think it’s stupid that people will assume that the reviewer is bribed by Sega. I mean, isn’t this the same reviewer who gave the 360 version of Sonic Unleashed a harsh review and a lower score then Sonic 06?

    Ax: I’ve already knew about Super Sonic being in levels thanks to people spoiling the game for me without posting spoilers.

  18. There we have it, people. It’s official. Sonic 4 is a great game. Can we stop complaining now?

  19. @sonicfan1984
    Even if you didn’t, it’s still in the article. XD

    Besides, I think it was common sense that Super Sonic was gonna be in the game. What I WASN’T expect was for him to have his own seperate scores. That’s cool. =)

  20. the sonic stadium sure is loving the review’s WAY more than teh sega forms. those people just call the game shit and saying it doesn’t deserve these reviews.(although i’m pretty surprised ign gave it a 8 i was thinking 7.0-7.5).

  21. Well, what do you expect over there at the Sega forums? The Sega forums is where all the Sonic 4 whiners hangs out and they hated the game before it came out and they still hate it now. I stopped going to the Sega forums cause all they do over there is bitch.

  22. IGN gave Sonic 4 Episode I an 8 out of 10. And it was Hilary Goldstein of all people (the same person that gave a crappy review of Sonic Unleashed).

    The written review itself is well-written and less biased. The only problem I saw was the fact that he didn’t even mention the physics of the game. Most of his complaints were that there wasn’t much new in the game and it was “half sequel, half remake”, which is very understandable.

    Either way, the sayings “IGN hates Sonic” or “You can’t spell ignorant without IGN” is officially dead now 🙂

  23. i know those fans will never be pleased unless sega probes their minds to think that the sonic 4 game there playing is the one they’ve dreamed for! (:

  24. but i’m still going to judge the game myself even if the game gets positive reviews. but i think i’ll like it! plus i get to dress as sonic with a spartan head! go sonic 4 and colors! show the fans and critics “what your made of”!

  25. Yeah like the saying goes: Haters is gonna hate. If they’re already set to hate on Sonic 4 WAY before the game is released and say they’re upset cause it recieves good reviews then there’s nothing we can do to convince them otherwise. Let them be bitter bastards if they want to.

  26. @sonicfan1984

    Actually, IGN’s rating for Sonic 06 was a 4.0
    Sonic Unleashed got a 4.5, so it got 0.5 points higher than Sonic 06. However, I still disagree with Sonic and the Black Knight getting a 3.9. Yes, the wagglefest was annoying, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Sonic 06.

    Either they have to rate SATBK higher, or rate Sonic 06 lower. Unfortunately, neither one will actually happen.

  27. well when you think about it it’s been 16 years most of the people who played sonic as kids and teens are grown up and have matured.i don’t think that anyone has been able to keep that essence of complete nostalgia when they were like 8. people are older and therefore expect more. the same with sega. they’ve changed. people have quit new people have come. few know what the originals were. it’s 2010 and making in a true sequel to s&k is way more difficult (fan wise). making it literally like the original would piss off fans by saying they haven’t changed anything. but same goes for modern sonic.”What happend why isn’t it like the classics!?” now physics are a definetly a problem but it depends on how you saw sonic as a kid.

  28. While I’ll admit there are a few recent Sonic games that I think were unfairly bashed, it makes me really happy to see a Sonic game that so many people love!

    I don’t see the problem with being able to complete the game in one night. You could do that with any of the Mega Drive Sonic games. Heck, you had to with Sonic 1 and 2! The fun is in the replayability, and memorising the levels, and finding the secrets.


  30. Sweet. Now can we expect the game for PC??? I sold my PS3 and I am missing it this much more now. I don’t think people hacking the game in order to get it for free could/should be a problem. Please, Sega!?

  31. Wow, this is awesome news for this game. It goes to show Sega is serious and doesn’t want to f around anymore.
    Also, I’m pretty sure I could beat the classics in one evening..

  32. This is to every single person who has hated on this game since the debut trailer of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1…don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

  33. IGN reviewer said it was a little too easy… I certainly hope it’s just more stupidity on IGN’s part, as opposed to being a fact.

  34. @Anonymous

    Well it IS Sonic 4. So I’m sure it’ll be pretty easy. I’m sure the classics only felt harder because we were younger, and I STILL beat it by the time I was 4. I bet Sonic 4 is still difficult to 4 year olds and those who haven’t played it before. =)

  35. Wow.. IGNorant.. an 8!

    I bet the part of SEGA that wanted Sonic 4 out asap are glad they considered the delay 🙂

  36. Who wants to bet Sonic 4 episode 2 will have co-op and a easier last boss?

    It was a really good idea making into smaller episodes.

    Now instead of having 1 long mediocre game
    We get 2-5 better smaller games (too bad it costs so much.)

  37. I’ve been told, alternately, that this is a good game, and that this is a terrible game.

    The first opinion has come from the paid reviewers who are known to usually score a game two points lower than the normal gamers around them. The second opinion has come from fans who still own a Mega Drive, have been playing the original games over and over, and would much rather me shell out about a hundred quid trying to find one and a copy of Sonic 2, instead of letting me buy the Wii version of the game for less than twenty.

    I am still wondering who’s right – the fans who are weighing it against the old Sonic games they are familiar with, or the paid reviewers who are weighing it against hundreds of other games currently at retail.

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