Top 8 Sonic the Hedgehog Games for Android

From classics to modern games, here are the ones you need to play.

Sonic's 25-year history is full of both games that are brilliant and otherwise...lacking. If you're a long-time fan who wants to rediscover the series' glory days, you can do that. If you were a Nintendo kid growing up, time to see what the fuss is all about. If you were born after the 16-bit era, you can play some of the series' highlights on Android. The modern games take a bit of a downturn – the worst of which aren't mentioned here – but there's still a few decent games to be had.

01
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Sonic CD

Sonic CD for Android
Sega
What We Like
  • Large scale game with tons to do.

  • Excellent soundtrack.

  • Awesome time travel mechanic.

What We Don't Like
  • Game might be too involved to Sonic newcomers.

This is perhaps Sonic's magnum opus. This platformer does things with time travel that few other games accomplish. Each act has a past, present, and future that you can reach – but only by going fast enough to trigger the time travel. And then, you have to find certain destructible objects in acts 1 and 2 to trigger the good future in act 3, a boss fight. Do all that, and you can get the best ending possible. As far as Sonic games go, it's surprisingly involved, and its levels have a sense of massive scale that the Genesis games didn't have. It's a challenging game, but a great one, and perhaps the pinnacle of the series. There's also the amazing soundtracks – both the original Japanese one​ and Spencer Nilsen's US soundtrack that so many Sonic fans are fond of.

Not a whole lot of people played this one because it was on Sega CD, the add-on to the Sega Genesis. There's actually a really cool story to how this game made it to mobile. Christian Whitehead – aka "Taxman", a long-time member of Sonic communities – created the Retro Engine, and used Sonic CD to demo it. Eventually, he and his working partner Simon "Stealth" Thomley – also a member of the Sonic community – crossed paths with Sega and they made Sonic CD in the Retro Engine for desktop, consoles, and mobile. Not only is the game ported over to Android, but it's in widescreen, adaptive to multiple screen resolutions, features Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, and has both the Japanese and American soundtracks. This is by and far the definitive version of the game.

02
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Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic 2 Hidden Palace
Sega
What We Like
  • Fantastic classic game.

  • Comes complete with add-ons and extras from the classic.

What We Don't Like
  • Touch screen controls might be jarring for classic gamers.

Stealth and Taxman were commissioned to bring this classic Sonic game to Android as well, updating the iOS version in the process. Many of the features that made the Sonic CD port great are here as well, but this game was already very full-featured. After all, Knuckles had been added into Sonic 2 through the Sonic and Knuckles lock-on cartridge containing what was essentially a ROM hack to add Knuckles in. They added the ability to have Tails fly, which he couldn't in Sonic 2. So, the big addition to the game was Hidden Palace. This level is based on cut content from the game only available in leaked beta versions of the game. Accessible through Mystic Cave act 2, this level doesn't have any significance beyond being a cool Easter egg, but what an Easter egg it is. Oh, and the game's art, music, and level design is still stellar for the series. This classic stands the test of time.

03
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Sonic the Hedgehog

Tails Sonic 1
Sega
What We Like
  • The game that started it all.

  • Fun and simple gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacking some of the features and additions of later games.

This is the most famous and iconic game in the franchise, in large part because it defined Sega way back in the day. Millions of Genesis systems came with this game, after all, and it provided the attitude that allowed Sega to compete with a then-dominant Nintendo. The game lacks a lot of the features that make later games great – the 2-act zones instead of 3 like in this game, and Sonic's lack of a spin dash felt limiting. Thankfully, the Christian Whitehead port goes a long way to fix a lot of the issues, adding in the spin dash and characters from later in the franchise to make the definitive version of the game. The series improved in later entries, with better game flow and more fun to be had, but this is still an iconic game for a reason.

04
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Sonic 4 Episode 2

Sonic 4 Episode 2
Sega
What We Like
  • A modern 2D Sonic game.

  • Feels like a classic.

  • Great level design.

What We Don't Like
  • Controls can be clunky.

  • Only the second part of a two-part game.

Sega brought back some of the original Sonic staffers and modern 2D Sonic game developer Dimps to make some new games that follow the acclaimed original games. Episode 1 is fine, but if you have to play one of the episodes of Sonic 4, the second episode is the way to go. Sega fixed a lot of issues that were readily apparent in the first episode of the game – the physics actually feel like a Sonic game and not a pale imitation – and made an actually good Sonic game. It feels like a lot of what's great about this game is imitating the classic games, perhaps to an excessive degree. And the homing attack is a controversial addition to the 2D games. Dimps' love of bottomless pits in Sonic game design is well on display, too.

Regardless, it's hard to complain about this game too much if you're a Sonic fan because it's a fun way to sit down and enjoy a legitimate new 2D Sonic game. Do play with a gamepad if possible – touchscreen controls are always going to feel less responsive to classic gamers. There is a free trial version available if you want to see what the fuss is about.

05
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Sonic Dash

Sonic Dash
Sega
What We Like
  • Good for fans of the endless runner genre.

  • Solid game with smooth gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Feels a bit like Sega's trying to cash in on a trend.

  • Nothing really stands over others in the genre.

This lane-based endless runner feels a lot like the Sonic franchise trying merely to chase popular trends, but it's not a terrible game. It's a good-looking game, it plays well compared to other endless runners, and you can get it for free without IAP on Amazon Underground. Hey, not having to spend any money at all isn't bad, not to mention that Amazon and Sega have had a contest to get $10 Amazon.com gift cards by collecting Amazon boxes in the game. ​There is a sequel featuring characters from the Sonic Boom games.

06
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Sonic 4 Episode 1

Sonic 4 Episode 1
Sega
What We Like
  • Feels like a classic.

  • Modern 2D Sonic game.

What We Don't Like
  • Physics engine is a disaster.

  • Game is buggy.

  • It's only the first part of a game.

If you grew up with Sonic, this one will feel like playing a direct sequel to the Sonic games of your youth. However, the physics were a disaster: Sonic should not be able to stand still on a vertical wall. On top of that, the console versions underwent significant revamping with a big delay that replaced a couple of levels that otherwise remained in the mobile versions. Several mine cart levels where you tilt back and forth were found in leaked builds of the Xbox 360 version but were left in the mobile versions. It's not a terrible game, but a severely flawed one that got this new series of games off on the wrong foot. This is worth picking up mostly as a curiosity, and also because it helps unlock some extra levels in Episode 2 with Sonic CD villain Metal Sonic.

07
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Sonic Jump

Sonic Jump
Sega
What We Like
  • Can be fun for a while.

  • Has a free sequel that also has some value.

What We Don't Like
  • Gets old fast.

  • A mediocre game at best.

A jumping Sonic game is kind of silly, but it interestingly precedes even Doodle Jump, which you would otherwise assume inspired this game. Somewhat surprisingly, this one winds up being pretty fun. It even has a free-to-play Fever sequel, with constant jumping and bouncing against a time limit being fun to play with. It won't light your world on fire, but at a certain point with the Sonic franchise, "this isn't terrible" is okay. Remember, the series has seen great lows.

08
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Emulate the Classics

Sonic 3 and Knuckles
Sega
What We Like
  • Play nearly any classic Sonic game you want.

  • Play even more classic games.

  • Loads of options and configurations.

What We Don't Like
  • Downloading ROMs comes with legal concerns.

  • Emulators aren't always perfect.

Sonic 3 and Knuckles might never make it to mobile due to issues over the music licensing and the game not being as popular as other entries back in the day. Sega has yet to bring some games like Sonic Adventure to mobile. These games can be emulated, with the Genesis games that can be played with roms that can be extracted from the legally-purchased Steam versions on an emulator like RetroArch. There isn't much to play beyond the Genesis games, but if you have the discs backed up, Reicast and Dolphin can play Dreamcast, and GameCube/Wii games respectively.