Review: Sonic Generations (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

First appearing 20 years ago was a blue spikey ball named Sonic The Hedgehog. Two decades later we have the game that takes you back to the beginning while also celebrating the new and updated versions of Sonic and his friends.

Designed as a 20 year birthday tribute, the game essentially pairs up the original Sonic (small, blue, spiky hair in 2D) with modern Sonic (taller, blue, spiky hair in 3D) in a mission to save their friends from the previous Sonic games. These friends have been imprisoned in three main levels, which each have 2D and 3D versions for the respective Sonic to race through to the end, thereby saving the associated friend. Confusing? It’s not supposed to make sense; it’s the nonsensical whimsy that has made a racing hedgehog so entertaining all these years.

Each of the first main levels has two variants. The first a side-scrolling version and the second is a 3D forward-motion version. Each level has to be bested in each style to unlock the 15 side missions, which are re-runs of those levels in different challenge modes. The challenge may be enemies or helpers or just out-and-out races, but all are built for speed not guile. It’s head down, feet spinning as Sonic races at the highest speed possible to win the day.

Once you best the challenges you unlock bosses. Boss battles are races, and again the speediest wins; you can probably see the theme here. It’s bright, cheerful nonsense that’s fun to play and cracks along at high velocity though cartoon backgrounds and non-threatening villains that are ultimately beaten by – you guessed it – speed. There’s much more to see and do in the form of unlockables and bonuses, and while it is generally about one thing – racing to the end of a level – it has enough variety and twists to carry itself as a full and good value-for-money game.

For a game that has basically three levels revised, rewound and rerun in various guises and styles, it has tremendous replay value. There are plenty of hidden objects, challenges and time trials to beat in a game that literally spans 20 years of design and gameplay. If you were a fan of Sonic in the past, then this will be right up your alley. If you’ve never played his games, then this is a good place to start and to see what all the fuss is about.

Pros: Variety of style and challenge; fast paced; colourful and entertaining design; high replay value
Cons: It’s all about speed; limited original levels

4 Shacks Out Of 5