Sonic Colors promised to return to 2D Sonic's roots while embracing the 3D gameplay of recent years. And it almost worked. It was a shame it was only released on Wii, as the standard def resolution didn't make the wonderful levels look their best. The physics were off, too, which was something I was moaning about on GamesRadar at the time. Especially when fan-made games were moving more like Sonic than Sonic himself.
All this came to a head with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. The first numbered Sonic game since 1994, it was really an amalgamation of best bits from the old 2D games. Me? I loved it. The depth of control those crazy physics offered made for one of the best speedrun games I've ever played. The nuance of control remains sensational. Not that anyone else saw it that way... But anyway. Sonic also appeared in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, which was ace. So things were looking up all-round.
Finally! This is more like it! Finally it felt like being a Sonic fan was being rewarded, as Sonic Generations embraced everything that was great about the last 20 years of Sonic. The opening 'modern' version of the Green Hill Zone remains possibly Sonic's finest hour, combining razor-sharp 3D gameplay with jaw-dropping 3D sections. OK, so the control still wasn't great at low speeds, but once the game hit its stride, Generations was legitimately sensational.
2011 also saw a sensational port of Sonic CD that finally brought a classic Sonic hardly anyone played back into the spotlight. Magical stuff, whether on iOS or console. Easy to recommend.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 was released in 2012. I played through it and enjoyed it, but I doubt we'll be seeing Episode 3 any time soon. Or ever. After clamouring for Sonic 4 for so long, I'm sorry to say I no longer really care. Odd.
I do care about Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, which I finished on PS3 and then played through again when Wii U came out. After keeping his finger in so many gaming pies, it seems like the best ingredients have stuck to old Sonic's fingers. Except, perhaps for Doodle Jump clone 'Sonic Jump'. Which is OK. Still, solid-to-great isn't bad at all for a year of releases.
How things change in 22 years, eh? Look--now Tails is in the title barrel too! No, really, this is one of the highlights of a Sonic fan's 2013, seeing the iOS version of the game completely overhauled using Christian Whitehead's Retro Engine. A wonderfully gentle yet barnstorming conversion and one that makes Sonic the Hedgehog still feel fresh after all these years.
But of course, the year is not done. And in a scant few hours, we will discover how well Sonic Lost World fares on Wii U and 3DS. Me? I already know. So make sure you check GamesRadar for the definitive verdict.
But how has it been for you?
Are you a long-term Sonic fan? What's been your highest high or lowest low? Maybe you remember the first time you ever played Sonic, or the biggest argument you ever had about how great he is compared to Mario? Let us know in the comments. Don't worry, you're among friends.