soniciconAt GDC back in March, Sega announced they were remaking and rereleasing the original Sonic the Hedgehog [Free], and that it would be coming as a free update to the existing game on the App Store. Today, that update has gone live. For the nitty gritty behind the Christian Whitehead/Sega saga, refer to our previous post on the remake, but to summarize: Christian Whitehead, who is responsible for the sublime Sonic CD [Free] remake on iOS, was commissioned by Sega to give a similar treatment to the original two games (and hopefully Sonic 3 & Knuckles too!). This means proper widescreen and Retina Display support for Sonic 1, Universal iPad support, vastly improved virtual controls, 60 frames per second, a new Time Attack mode, unlockable playable characters Tails and Knuckles, and I'm sure tons more little goodies.

I've given just a quick run through the updated Sonic 1 and it's everything I dreamt it would be. This is what it feels like when doves cry. Right from the moment you boot it up, you realize the kind of care that was put into this port as a 3D rendered Japanese Mega Drive game case pops up on the screen. You touch the screen to play and the case opens up, revealing the cartridge itself. You have the option of choosing the Japanese, American, or European versions of the box art and cartridge. It's those little touches that tell you this is by fans, for fans of Sonic The Hedgehog.


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It also plays like a dream now, or at least as much of a dream as virtual controls can be. If you have no problems with Sonic CD on iOS, you'll be more than happy here. I can't wait to beat the game yet again today, hopefully unlock a new character, and mess around with Time Attack mode. Oh, and there's Game Center leaderboards and achievements, too. Seriously, if you've suffered through the shoddy original port of Sonic The Hedgehog on iOS for the last several years, this is a handsome reward. Head to the App Store immediately and update, and drop by our forums for discussion from the community.

Update: Here's an official trailer!

  • Ahiru Nakamura


  • BipolarByDesign

    Fav game currently on my iPad. Loved it on genesis!

  • cobbyco

    1. After unlocking Tails, choose 'No Save' mode, then the plus for both Sonic and Tails, then at the Sega screen tap the letters in order: 'A G E S' which changes Tails' name to 'Miles'.
    2. During cheat 1., a screen in Japanese briefly appears. Could someone translate it?
    3. Do the same as cheat 1. but tap in order 'S E G A' and a chime will sound as before. I have no idea what this does, so lets have fun finding out!
    4. After unlocking Tails, choose a new game, then the plus for both Sonic and Tails. When in game, hold up and press jump and again in mid air to initiate Tails' flying mode! Jump at Tails to hang on, then use the D-Pad and jump button to fly.

    And according to Whitehead on the Sonic Retro forums there's more to be found! Maybe there's a super peel out mode from Sonic CD?

    • Karzay

      I miss old school game cheats. I'll buy this game just for that.

    • Liam Nunes

      How do you unlock tails? Is it just a complete the game thing? I hope not - I've completed the game a trillion times already in my life. I don't wanna have to do it again!

  • Brad McNally

    I bought this game previously, now it's saying 2.99 instead of install 🙁 Are you sure it's a free update?

    • Dueler

      As far as i'm aware its using the same app id as before so you should still have it as purchased. If not make sure your logged into the correct itunes account or check your purchase history to be sure.

    • krazyk095

      I was able to install it for free again.

    • Brad McNally

      Fixed it, I had to quite the appstore after logging into my other apple id

  • denisvjcr

    Downloading right now.

    My first console was a sega and came with this game.

  • dancj

    What does it mean when a game that is still running at the old Megadrive (aka Genesis) resolution has been given "retina support"?

    Surely that would make no difference.

  • sonicandfffan

    Where is the UK version? 🙁

    • Kane

      You can change it in settings, from JAP/US/EU, and you can turn spindash off.

  • ODMay

    I like the music in those old Sonic games.

  • nini

    I'll hold out for Sonic 2 and 3, those were my childhood. Hope this extends to the other Sega 16-bit releases they have out there.

  • Doctorossi


  • jbaker1225

    Odd that they added the spin dash to Sonic 1.
    Also of note, on the first world, in the original game, you are able to hit Robotnik a few times as he descends from the top of the screen. In this version, he is invincible until he busts out his wrecking ball.

    • dwx882

      I noticed that too! And the boss stage in Scrap Yard Zone has 2 new columns that line the edge of the screen. All in all I like this version better though!

  • Nada Tosnas

    How on earth is this game retina. It looks exactly the same as in an iPhone 3GS!!!

  • Jerutix

    This game is tougher than I remember. I cannot get through Marble Zone Act 3. Still, super fun.

  • Sean Magnoni

    This is a really great port and just about perfect. My only request would for iCade support but I'm actually little to no problems with touch controls. I'll get all of Sega's ports if they get this treatment.

  • BulkSlash

    Nice! Fair play to Sega, most companies would have withdrawn the old app and made people buy it all over again, I'm very impressed they've gone the extra mile and made this an update to the existing app.

    Sonic 2 next please! 🙂

  • Inaba-kun

    Very nice update, and hopefully Sonic CD will get a widescreen update soon too.

  • SupersonicSu

    Oh please please, can you make this icade compatible??! If that happens- woo- this is what I've been waiting and looki g for since I bought my first iPad (now on 3)
    Love Sonic but would LOVE Sonic with icade abilities!!! Pretty please

  • putermcgee

    I hope they give Sonic Spinball a similar treatment!

  • Mekklesack

    The app icon is enough to make me press purchase.

  • Kane

    I played this and everything is awesome, from GFX to sound, all the way to the settings. Hope they give Streets of Rage franchise the same treatment.

  • Yale Kolin

    I am done with the unlocking. I've unlocked Tails, Sonic and Tails, and Knuckles. That doesn't mean that I'll stop playing.! Now people can play as Tails, Sonic and Tails, and Knuckles in Sonic 1 without hacking!

    • Dave

      I unlocked Tails, but how do you get Knuckles?

  • Yale Kolin

    I want a Sonic 2 port with Sonic, Tails, Sonic and Tails, Knuckles, and Dr. Eggman!

  • taytay

    how do you get sonic and tails?

  • taytay

    sorry I mean knuckles and tails