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Best Sonic Games of All Time, Ranked

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Over the past three decades, Sega has graced gaming platforms with Sonic games. If you’ve not played the game, you may have seen the movie or its sequel. Though hard to believe, there was a time when Sonic games gave Mario a run for its money. In the 2000’s Sonic released some disappointing games. When we thought all hope was gone, new Sonic games were released in recent years to great success.

In this article, we are going to rank Sonic’s main releases of all time. Based on the game’s reception on its release, and the success of the newly introduced features, we’ll see which games top the list of the best Sonic games of all time.


5. Sonic & Knuckles (1994)

Sonic & Knuckles

Sonic & Knuckles was an add-on to Sonic 3. To spice up the Genesis story, Sega introduced a cartridge with an adapter to connect to the Sonic 3 cartridge and create a combined game. Pretty cool actually, as fans enjoyed Knuckles’ abilities to glide and climb walls, imported from the older games. 

Gamers could not get enough of Sonic & Knuckles. It was such a solid platformer that it stood out as its own edition. Most of all, critics and players alike commend the coherent story that is surprisingly well-told without any dialogue or text. The sound capabilities were that good. And the game’s design is far much better, making you replay it over and over without getting bored.  

In many ways, Sonic & Knuckles paved the way for what Sonic games should feel like. It marked a solid end to the release of quality 2-D Sonic titles. Even if you’re not one for old-time side-scrolling games, you can look out for an enhanced Sonic & Knuckles game made for the modern age.


4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

In 1992, fans witnessed the historic introduction to Sonic’s sidekick, ‘Tails’, in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. More than that, it was considered a great hit for its intricate and colorful game design. Sega took all the pros of older games and amplified them. They also added new features making this sequel a spectacular success. 

Compared to the previous release, you’re bound to explore more ideas and varied zones. Given that the game was released way back in the day, the introduction of a split-screen two-player mode surely added to its critical acclaim. If you had a Genesis/Mega Drive back in the day, then you would have (most likely) had Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Moreover, the final Super Sonic bonus rounds set the stage for 3D technology that would go on to influence future games.


3. Sonic Adventure 2 (2001)

Sonic Adventure 2

As the final release game for the Dreamcast, Sega went out of its way to amplify this sequel. Sonic Adventure 2 did not disappoint and made all the positive wishes for sequels come true. From Sonic Adventure’s graphics and gameplay, Sega went a step further to improve on all things Sonic. 

Sonic Adventure 2 features improved graphics, additional characters, and an extensive world to explore. Despite its kitchen-sink approach, players enjoy the fun affair of trying all things new. Here, you get to virtually raise a pet in the form of a mini-game. Or, you can go treasure hunting with Knuckles and Rouge. If that doesn’t spike up your kind of fun, you can dive into more mechanical combat with Tails and Eggman. There is something for all tastes and a scattered but quite addicting fun game as a result.  

With regards to 3D platforming, these are the times when Sega outdid themselves. It is said to be the peak of 3D Sonic with the design and gameplays that it entails.


2. Sonic CD (1993)

Sonic CD

Throwing it back to the ‘90s, here’s a game most gamers have not played. Sonic CD features a disk-based side-scrolling game that follows Sonic’s quest to save the world. While the concept of time travel is somewhat confusing and takes time to learn, we commend the ambitious move to explore time travel.

In Sonic CD, gamers collect “Time Stones” that have the ability to cause good or bad endings. To put it into perspective, you may collect stones all the time and have enemies disappear from levels. There’s also a nice touch to adding brighter colors. Perhaps releasing the game to a more popular platform would have helped skyrocket its ratings. However, it still serves as an original and has gone on to feature in Android and iOS. Some of the ideas actually go on to feature in our best ranking of all Sonic games: Sonic Mania.


1. Sonic Mania (2017)

Sonic Mania

A look back into the original old-school Sonic games gave rise to Sonic Mania. Think of the classic side-scrolling platform games in 2D, only remixed to how they would look if they were made today. The result is a perfect bridge between the past and present, somewhat like a love letter to old-school Sonic games. 

Created by a team of fans led by Christian Whitehead, Mania toned down the present graphics to make it similar to the old-time classics. And as it turned out, the game managed to gain more critical acclaim compared to more recent releases.

It features collaboration, bonus rounds, and adds new levels that are inspired by previous releases. The success of this fan-made game was so great that Sonic Mania Plus was released in 2019. While Mania held solid ground on its own, the reception to Mania Plus’ release proved its worthwhile take on Sonic games. One can only hope that the vision behind Mania, and what makes Sonic games a load of fun to play, keeps Christian Whitehead working on the Sonic games series moving forward.

So, there you go, the five best Sonic games of all time, ranked. Do you agree with our listing? Let us know in our socials here or leave us a comment below.

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Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.