Sonic 4 Episode 1: It's SONIC on Your IPHONE

Having a real hedgehog in your pocket would be uncomfortable. Thankfully, the first episode of the long-awaited Sonic 4 is now available, letting you spin, dash, and spin dash your way across some heartwarmingly familiar levels.

Sonic 4 Episode 1, the first of four installments, has four zones, each with three acts and a boss. After mashing on that d-pad all those years back, the virtual controls take a little bit of getting used to, and sometimes I found that I had to be pretty deliberate about, say, sliding my thumb over to move Sonic mid-jump. Generally, though, things are just as you remember them—familiar levels, familiar music, familiar hectic Sonic action—aside from a new jump attack that locks onto targets when you're in mid-air and a new kinda-nauseating flourish of rotating the camera when you're going through a loop.

The app is universal, so iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads all get the love (update: deceived by iTunes—doesn't run natively on iPad yet), and TouchArcade says it holds up pretty well on older devices. It'd be nice to see Retina Display support, of course, but what I yearn for even more is an online leader board to see how my Time Attack times stand up against others. Probably not very well.


Sonic 4 is downloadable with some extra levels for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, and the iOS version is live in the App Store now for $10, so spin dash to it. [iTunes]

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As an iPhone purchaser of the game, I feel myself wanting to play this with a physical controller. Maybe I am out of practice with a virtual controller, but there are plenty of times I find myself not being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it with the controls.