June 23, 2021 marks 30 years since Sonic the Hedgehog’s release on the Sega Genesis. Instead of the typical party with karaoke, he’s celebrating his 30th birthday with an anniversary concert and new game announcements.
For our part, we’re running down the best games from the Blue Blur’s generation-spanning history.
Here are the
8 best Sonic the Hedgehog games, ranked
8. Sonic Spinball (1993)
Sonic’s heyday was also an era of bizarre video game spinoffs and tie-ins. Case in point: Sonic Spinball. It exists just because Sonic can curl into a ball, and it’s known as much for its quality as its novelty.
7. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (2012)
Why Sonic even needs a car remains a mystery, but Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformedjustifies its premise with some excellent racing. It digs deep into the Sega roster for characters for the best arcade racer outside of Mario Kart.
6. Sonic Adventure 2 (2001)
Sonic Adventure 2takes the kitchen sink approach with platforming, treasure hunting, mech combat, and a virtual pet raising mini-game included. The result is a scattered but fun affair that’s a major improvement upon the first Sonic Adventure.
5. Sonic Colors (2010)
Sonic Colors doesn’t stray far from the franchise’s platforming formula with its blend of 2D and 3D stages. Its biggest addition is the Wisps that Sonic collects to gain new abilities, which shakes things up just enough to feel fresh.
4. Sonic & Knuckles (1994)
There was simply nothing cooler in video games in 1994 than being able to plug Sonic 2 and 3 into the Sonic & Knucklescartridge and inject Knuckles into the older games. Even without the killer gimmick, it’s a solid platformer up there with Sonic’s best.
3. Sonic Generations (2011)
Sonic’s transition to 3D was awkward, but Sonic Generations makes the most of it. Split between 2D and 3D levels, it adds just enough modern gameplay to mix things up, while remembering that the 2D levels are the reason you’re here.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
When you think of your favorite Sonic the Hedgehog levels on the Genesis, you’re probably thinking about Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It’s a perfect example of a sequel that improves on the original without throwing out what made it work.
1. Sonic Mania (2017)
Directed by a Sonic fangame developer, Sonic Mania is a love letter to old-school Sonic games. With remixed classic zones and new additions, it’s a perfect bridge between Sonic’s origins and current games.
What are your favorite games and platforms of 2021, and what future releases are you most excited about?