Sonic CD is the single best Sonic experience on the App Store

Retro games on mobile have been something of a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes bringing a classic to the iPhone can be a flawless celebration of everything that made the game great 20 years earlier. Other times it can be a total disaster. But for the most part, Sonic’s experiences on smartphones have fallen somewhere in between. Competent, but never feeling quite right in terms of gameplay.

All of that changes with Sonic CD – a game that’s easily one of the best old school mobile ports we’ve seen to date.

Originally released for the Sega CD back in 1993, Sonic CD is generally considered by fans to be the crown jewel in the Sonic franchise. Not only did it introduce series favourites like Amy Rose and Metal Sonic, but the level design and gameplay were out of this world.

Like all Sonic games, Sonic CD tasks the little blue hedgehog with traversing a gorgeous 16-bit world at top speeds. You’ll run, jump, and bash your way to a goal, encountering a boss battle at the end of every world, just as you have in countless Sonic games before. But while the experience is a familiar one, there’s just something about how brilliantly designed the stages and how unique the boss fights are that puts Sonic CD head and shoulders above the rest of the series.

In addition to what you already know from past Sonic games, Sonic CD also introduces a neat time travel mechanic. Spread throughout the level are signposts that say “Future” and “Past.” If a player runs past one of these, and can continue running at top speed for a bit without much interruption, they’ll travel through time to a different version of the same stage with different layouts and enemy placements. This gives the game a great deal of replayability, since each play through won’t necessarily take you on the exact same journey to the goal.

Sonic CD

As an added bonus, if you destroy a robot generator in the past, you’ll get to travel to an alternate future with no bad guys, making levels a little easier to complete.

One of the biggest complaints that gamers have had about past mobile ports of Sonic is that, no matter how faithful the translation, the gameplay always seemed to suffer with touch screen controls. As simple as Sonic is in terms of gameplay design, somehow the folks at SEGA could never quite figure out how to get the little blue speed demon to act exactly as you’d want him to. The games were never unplayable, mind you – but they definitely suffered here. We’re delighted to report that as of Sonic CD, they’ve finally figured it out. This game plays like a dream.

With a game that’s as fun as Sonic CD, it’s hard to find anything to complain about – either now or in 1993. Sure some elements, like the happy-go-lucky soundtrack that sounds like C&C Music Factory for Kids, feel a little dated – but Sonic CD delivers everywhere that it counts. If you’re a fan of the Hedgehog from way back, but have had your heart broken by other mobile ports, fret not – Sonic CD is the game you’ve been waiting for.