Sonic CD [Android Game Review]

Oh, Sonic. How far you've come. Once upon a time you were Sega's champion, vying to be the most popular flagship character in history. Now you're reliving your best days, running around nimby-bimbly, on the most popular smartphone OS around. Good for you, Blue Blur.

There's not much to say about this one, except that it rocks. The gameplay is the same frantic zooming, running, jumping, and boss battling classic Sonic games taught us to love, and Sonic CD certainly delivers.

The controls are pretty tight, giving you only a virtual d-pad and jump button to work with, and I'm pleased to report that the d-pad is large enough on a tablet you shouldn't find your thumb wandering off very often. The jump button also serves as your spin dash button (for when you're stationary and pressing down on the d-pad), and, to borrow a phrase, it just works.

Lots of comments on the video have been more than vocal about how disappointing it is that the original music has been changed, but once you get over it, the background music is still pretty groovin', especially for a video game hero who is pushing 21 years old. (Speaking of the soundtrack, on the main menu, you can switch between Japanese and American soundtracks for Sonic CD.)

If you worry about getting bored with the main game, Sonic CD also has a Time Attack game, accessible from the first time you open the app up. Well, it's accessible in the sense that you can open it up and see the levels, but the levels are locked until you've cleared them in the main game. Pretty tricky on Sega's part!

There's also a super special extras menu, but even yours truly is curious as to what secrets it holds. Everything is initially locked, but you can see two of them: D.A. Garden and Visual Mode. What could these extras be? It's hard to say for sure, but I do​ know you'll have to play to find out!

What more can be said? If you're part of the generation that grew up playing Sonic, this is nostalgia reinvented for the mobile generation, and boy, is it good. Sure, at $4.99, Sonic CD might be a bit pricey, but compare that to what those old cartridges used to cost and you're saving a ton!

If you want to save the world as your favorite chili dog-eating, azure-colored spiny mammal, we've got download links after the break.

Joshua Munoz
  • With emulators and ROMs $4.99 is really pricey.
  • Actually, no it's not. What you don't realize is that this is NOT an emulated game. This is actually a completely rebuilt version using an indie developer's *own custom "Retro Engine"! It was made to be used on multiple platforms: Android, iOS, PC, XBOX360, PS3, etc. and able to be scaled for multiple resolutions cranking out at a buttery smooth 60FPS. Not to mention the fact that the original RedBookAudio tracks (like he says, of both the original JP OST and the US OST) from the original MEGACD/SEGACD version of the game have been reworked to loop infinitely, and the ability to play as Tails (which wasn't even in the original game!) makes this all the more worth the 5$ for the app. The developer and SEGA went all out for bringing this game to the masses. Not to mention, it goes to help support more efforts from Sega working with independent developers like Taxman (the guy behind the Retro Engine) to bring better games in the future.
  • This post was excellent. I need to make one clarification, just for increased knowledge. "...the original RedBookAudio tracks from the original MEGACD/SEGACD version of the game have been reworked to loop infinitely" This is both true and false. The original game already included the audio samples you hear for looping the Japanese soundtrack in PCM format (the same format used for the Past zones' soundtrack) but they were not used, probably because SEGA couldn't get the transition from redbook to PCM and back to redbook working correctly. This looping obviously works on the reworked game engine (no slow CD player ruining the timing), so it made sense to implement it and loops were created for the US soundtrack too. The above info, I learned from the Sonic Retro wiki, where they even have the PCM loop samples.
  • this is an awesome game on android. i was incredibly impressed with the touchscreen controls--they may be the best i've ever used, very tight and responsive. i wish they took these controls and put them on sonic 4 episode 1 because that game is just downright unplayable. sad because it's such a cool looking game.
  • Nice Super Troopers reference Josh.
  • Here are a few additional tidbits based on my experience. 1. The game runs fine on tablets, but I wasn't able to purchase it for my tablet. (Toshiba Thrive) I had to purchase it and install it on a phone and then it appeared in the list of my purchased applications on my tablet and was able to install successfully.
    2. Something I hate about many games: It has to download a TON of content when you first run it. If you are not sure you are going to like the game, don't purchase it until you have access to a good WiFi connection so you can download the additional content and hopefully try out the game before Google's 15-minute refund window expires.
    3. As user moelsen mentioned above, the touch controls are wonderful, but with one caveat... If you have a small screen device, they stop being wonderful. If you have a phone with a 3.2-inch screen or smaller, you better be a patient person or else don't buy this game for your blood pressure's sake.
    4. The first time you complete the main game, you unlock Tails. Playing the game as Tails adds a new spin since you can fly and swim ala Sonic 3 and reach places Sonic can't get to. Don't think you can outrun Metal Sonic just by flying though.
    5. Since this is not an emulated version, the game mechanics have been tweaked a little. For starters, the spin dash is more responsive than in the original game. Also riding some machines that helped you time travel in the original game won't do so in this version. Good luck time traveling in Quartz Quadrant zone... it is possible but much harder now.
    4. For the Americans out there, you can select the US soundtrack from the Options if you prefer. For the international guys, you'll notice some vocals from the Japanese soundtrack are missing, especially during the end credits and the intro.