Sonic Origins came out last year to all platforms, and it included a nice collection of four Sonic games from the ‘90s. These games included Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, and even Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles.
To make the collection even bigger and better than ever before, Sega has somewhat re-released the game in 2023 as a fuller package called Sonic Origins Plus. If you already own a copy of Sonic Origins, you can upgrade it via DLC to get more content than last year’s offering.
Sonic Origins Plus not only includes the games I already aforementioned, but it also adds 12 more Sonic titles from the ‘90s. Instead of the fancier Sonic games from home consoles, all of the newer games added were made exclusively for Sega’s old Game Gear portable gaming device.
If you don’t remember the Game Gear, this was Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s popular Game Boy handheld system. However, the Game Gear was arguably a better system because the games had color, and the device also had a backlight.
The 12 games included in this collection are Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Drift, Sonic Spinball, Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, Sonic Drift 2, Tails’ Skypatrol, Tails Adventure, Sonic Labyrinth, Sonic Blast, and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
The first games I decided to play were Sonic Drift and Sonic Drift 2. As the name of the game suggests, this is an old-school kart racing game similar to that of Mario Kart. Sonic Drift kind of made me sick, though, because the road is striped dark blue and light blue, and it hurts my eyes to watch the screen.
Sonic Drift 2 is a little bit easier on the eyes because Sega changed the colors of the road to shades of gray instead. That being said, the game is kind of hard to control because turning has to be so precise. Not to mention the tracks are quite short compared to racing games released these days.
The two Sonic Drift games are also neat because they both offer 2 player modes. This is where you can go up against a friend in classic Versus Mode. You don’t need to own two Game Gear devices like you would have had to do in the past!
Another game that stood out to me in this collection is Sonic Spinball. This is a hybrid pinball and platform game where you control Sonic using pinball-style paddles. The framerate in this game is quite slow, as it doesn’t feel smooth when Sonic is traveling through the levels.
Sonic Spinball can also be a hard game because it can be difficult to navigate through the levels using only the paddles. However, the game is a nice change of pace if you want to try something different from this collection.
One game that I liked a bit more than the other is Sonic Labyrinth. This is a different kind of Sonic game because he’s unable to run like he used to. He can only walk very slowly, or you can use his spin-dash to move around the levels.
In these levels, Sonic is trapped in an isometric-style maze, and he has to escape. The only way for him to escape each level is by finding three hidden keys. Keys are either hidden, or they’re with an enemy. There is a time limit, so you have to be fast if you want to escape Dr. Eggman’s labyrinth!
Probably the biggest disappointment in this Game Gear collection so far is Sonic Blast. This is the first Sonic game on the Game Gear that brings pre-rendered graphics. While the character models look realistic, sadly, the performance of this game is kind of atrocious.
Sonic Blast just feels slow and sluggish compared to any other Sonic game I have ever played. I didn’t really like this one as it didn’t feel as fast as a Sonic game should play like.
Probably the most unique game in Sonic Origins Plus is the weirdly named Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. This is a puzzle game where you have to match the same color of the beans in his machine. You need to match up to four or more of the same color before the beans break apart.
Much like Sonic Drift 1 and 2, this game also offers a 2-player option so that you can compete against a friend. It’s a nice puzzle game to play, although it’s not something that might appeal to traditional Sonic fans.
Most of the other games I did not go into detail about are the more traditional-style Sonic video games you know and love. Some of these games weren’t wildly available around the world, so this collection allows you to play some rare Game Gear titles.
It’s also worth mentioning that Sonic Origins Plus also allows you to play as Amy Rose in some of the games that have been listed. Amy Rose wasn’t playable in the first release of Sonic Origins, so it’s great she has been added back into the fold.
The only real negative thing I can say about Sonic Origins Plus is that the performance and graphics of some of the titles still feel off. Sonic Blast and Sonic Spinball sometimes feel slow, and turning can be a pain in the drifting game. That being said, most of the platform-style games work well.
Sonic Origins Plus Review Verdict
Sonic Origins Plus: While some games can be hit or miss, Sonic Origins Plus does offer a time machine for you to go back and play classic Game Gear games. Whether you are revisiting them or discovering them for the first time, there is a ton of fun Sonic games on offer in this collection. – jbl316