Back in 2009, Sega began releasing Sega Genesis games for the iPhone. And what better mascot to inaugurate the (at the time) speedy iPhone 3GS than Sonic the Hedgehog? As you can see from our review, we thought Sonic 1 was a bomb, due to the sluggish frame rate and unnecessary onscreen controls. Nearly four years later, Sega is finally rectifying the situation with an update that makes Sonic the Hedgehog a worthwhile port.
Sega announced at GDC that Sonic the Hedgehog on iOS would soon be receiving a major update that will fix all of these issues. The new engine, which is similar to the revamped engine that made Sonic CD so much fun on iOS, has the game running at a smooth 60 frames per second.
Additionally, the large, visible buttons of the Genesis controller have been replaced by one tiny jump button in the corner. The joystick is now a virtual stick that feels much more natural and suitable for touchscreen gaming.
These enhancements aren’t the only things to make Sonic the Hedgehog worth a re-download. You’ll also get a new menu screen, which lets you toggle Sonic’s spin-up move from the later games on or off (it didn’t appear in the original game at all). You can even switch between the cartridge art from the UK, US, and Japanese versions of the game.
If you downloaded the original Sonic years ago, this will be a free update. When asked if they’re eventually upgrading other disappointing Genesis iOS games like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and Gunstar Heroes, one Sega brand manager wouldn’t reveal any new details, but a Sega executive we talked to casually indicated “that was the plan.” The Sega Genesis lineup on iOS needs improvement, so hopefully this major update to Sonic the Hedgehog is just the first in a series of tune-ups.