The 10 Best Sonic The Hedgehog Games (Ranked)
What are the best Sonic The Hedgehog games?
There are many games in the Sonic franchise, from main platformer titles to spin-offs in the fighting, party, sports, and racing genres.
First developed by Sega in 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog helped the Sega Genesis compete directly with Nintendo and their mascot, Mario.
While there have been many great games in the Sonic series, today we’re looking at the ones that fans have enjoyed most.
The 10 Best Sonic The Hedgehog Games Ranked
In order to rank the best Sonic the Hedgehog games, we’ve compared the ratings of every game in the series.
By doing this, we have been able to calculate which installments in the franchise are the best and most popular.
So, if you’re ready for some gaming nostalgia, here’s our list of the 10 best Sonic The Hedgehog games:
10. Sonic Unleashed
Sonic Unleashed introduced two distinct playstyles that changed between the day and night time in-game.
During the daytime, the game incorporates traditional platforming with a combination of third-person and 2D scroller viewpoints.
However, at night, Sonic transforms into a Werehog, the gameplay slows down, and the platform play is greatly expanded to include waves of enemies.
The game seamlessly transitions between these two modes, making them feel cohesive and entertaining.
As for the plot, Unleashed follows Sonic as he attempts to fix the world after Doctor Eggman unleashed an ancient evil called Dark Gaia.
Upon release, Sonic Unleashed became one of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, and it received many positive reviews from critics.
The environmental design and graphics were particularly applauded, with many considering the game to be absolutely gorgeous.
While there were some framerate complaints, Sonic Unleashed proved to be an overall solid entry in the franchise.
9. Sonic Advance
Sonic Advance, now considered one of the best Game Boy Advance games of all time, is an absolute classic.
This was the first Sonic game released on a Nintendo console, and it was released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the series.
The plot of this game revolves around Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles trying to stop Doctor Eggman from taking over the world. Basically, the usual.
However, in order to do this, players must take on Eggman’s robot army and collect seven Chaos Emeralds in order to make progress.
At the time of its release, Sonic Adventure received many positive reviews for its animations, graphics, and faithfulness to the original games.
The original music in the game was also highly praised, with critics from GameSpot calling it catchy and comfortable.
It quickly became a commercial success, selling 1.21 units in the US and becoming one of the best-selling games for the GBA.
This game even spawned two sequels, Sonic Advance 2 and 3, thanks to its overall popularity.
8. Sonic Rush
Sonic Rush is a 2005 platformer that was released for the Nintendo DS, and it quickly became a hit with fans.
It was the final mainline game in the series produced by Yuji Naka before he left Sega to form his own studio, Prope.
While the game is similar to Sonic Advance, the boss battles, main characters, and special stages are all rendered in 3D, making them stand out.
The story of the game follows Sonic and a new character, Blaze the Cat, as they battle Doctor Eggman and his doppelganger, Eggman Nega.
There are also some new features, including a grading system that ranks players based on how quickly they can complete individual levels.
A “tension gauge” has also been added, which can be filled by performing tricks and defeating various enemies.
Upon release, this game became the ninth best-selling DS game of 2006, and it received platinum status from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association.
Critics praised the visuals of Sonic Rush, with many calling the graphics gorgeous, colorful, and well-rendered.
However, the relatively short story was not as well received, though this was ultimately considered a minor drawback.
7. Sonic Generations
Sonic Generations is considered to be one of the best PS3 games of all time, and for good reason.
This game was made to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the series, and it features two different modes of gameplay; Classic and Modern.
In the classic mode, players go through the game using the side-scrolling perspective that is common in the older games in the series.
While in the modern mode, players can take on 3D levels that make use of gameplay advancements on newer consoles.
The plot of the game revolves around Sonic and Tails forming an alliance with their modern selves to try and fix time and restore their worlds.
Players loved the ability to take on various levels in classic and modern design styles, and it quickly became one of the most unique games in the Sonic series.
After its release, it quickly sold 1.8 million copies across different platforms, and many critics praised its replay value and level design.
Although there were some framerate issues throughout, this did little to stop Sonic Generations from being wholly enjoyable.
6. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is a re-release of Sonic Adventure 2, but with more detailed textures and additional geometry.
This version of the game also comes with a multiplayer mode, new abilities, upgrades, and brand-new characters that are exclusive to the re-release.
Improvements have also been made to the Chao system, including the ability to transfer Chao from this game to Sonic Advance, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Pinball Party.
The plot of the game hasn’t changed between versions, and it still revolves around Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails trying to save the world from Eggman, Ruuge, and Shadow.
All of the stories are divided into three gameplay styles, including fast platforming for Sonic, shooting for Tails, and action exploration for Knuckles.
This re-release quickly sold 2 million copies worldwide, with critics praising the updates that were made to the graphics and gameplay.
If you missed this game when it first came out, it can still be played using one of the best GameCube emulators in its original format.
5. Sonic Colors
Sonic Colors was released in 2010, and it follows Sonic as he tries to stop Doctor Eggman from enslaving an alien race and, you guessed it, taking over the world.
The gameplay remains similar to prior games in the series, with players collecting rings and defeating enemies along platform levels.
However, this game also introduces some new features, including wisps and powerups that players can use to reach new areas or increase their attacks.
These power-ups would go on to become staples in the franchise and have continued to exist in almost every game published in the series since.
Upon its release, Sonic Colors quickly became one of the best Nintendo Wii games of all time, with critics and fans praising its graphics, audio, and gameplay.
It quickly became a commercial success, selling four million copies worldwide on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS.
Furthermore, a remastered version of the game was announced in 2021, and it is now available on Steam, the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
4. Sonic CD
Released in 1993, this platform game follows the story of Sonic as he tries to save Little Planet from Doctor Robotnik.
In this game, players have to navigate through several themed levels, defeating robotic enemies and collecting rings.
However, what distinguishes this game the most is that time travel is a key aspect of the gameplay, and it allows players to access variations of different stages.
Each variation has its own alternative layout, graphics, and music that make it distinct from the others you can play.
This game was specifically designed to show off what the Sega CD was capable of, and it also served as the debut of Metal Sonic and Amy Rose.
After its release, Sonic CD received critical acclaim, and it is still often regarded as one of the best games in the franchise.
Because of its popularity, this game has also been re-released numerous times, including for the GameCube in 2005.
In 2011, a remaster was released by Sega for the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Android, and iOS, that included widescreen graphics, upgraded collision detection, and refined visuals.
Unfortunately, due to its size, it was not released on the Wii, though it was included in the 2022 Sonic Origins compilation.
3. Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania was released in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the franchise.
This game pays homage to the classic installments by featuring several redesigned levels from past games that each provide a load of nostalgia.
The story in this game follows Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they try to stop Doctor Eggman and his robotic henchmen from, once again, taking over the world!
Upon its release, Sonic Mania quickly became the highest-rated Sonic game in fifteen years, and many saw it as a welcome return to the classic gameplay mechanics.
While some critics disliked its lack of originality, many more enjoyed how faithful it remained to prior installments while taking advantage of modern gaming technology.
The level design, music, and overall presentation were particularly praised, and many proclaimed it as one of the best games of 2017.
In only a year, it sold over one million copies, making it one of the most successful Sonic games of all time.
Sonic Mania is extremely entertaining, catering to both new fans and old, something that has done a lot to breathe new life into the franchise.
2. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the second game in the franchise, and it follows Sonic and Tails as they try to stop Doctor Robotnik from stealing Chaos Emeralds.
Every level tasks players with collecting rings and defeating enemies while moving at high speed.
Building on the foundations of the first game, this sequel also introduces larger levels, special stages, pre-rendered 3D graphics, and a multiplayer mode.
Thanks to the success of Sonic the Hedgehog, there was a light of hype surrounding this game, and Sega even spent $10 million on a marketing campaign.
Fortunately, it was able to live up to and even surpass many expectations to become one of the most popular video games of all time, an honor it retains today.
This game single-handedly solidified Sonic as a major gaming franchise, and it helped keep Sega competitive during the 1990s console wars.
Critics praised Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for its controls, gameplay, graphics, and level design, features that also earned it numerous awards.
While it doesn’t take the number one spot on our list, this game is undoubtedly one of the best in the series and an important part of gaming history.
1. Sonic 3 And Knuckles
This game is one of the most unique in the franchise, and it is created by attaching the adapter from the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge to the Sonic 3 cartridge.
While the two games were meant to be combined into a single game, time constraints and the cost of cartridges forced the developers to split them into two.
When the two games are connected, players can play Sonic 3 levels as Knuckles or Sonic & Knuckles levels as Tails.
There are also new hyper forms for Sonic and Knuckles, as well as a Super form for Tails, and new areas that previously couldn’t be accessed.
These two games sold 4 million copies combined, becoming one of the best-selling Genesis games of all time.
Despite being split into two parts, this combined game received a lot of critical praise, especially for its gameplay and level design.
However, it has also been remastered as a part of the Sonic Origins compilation that was released in 2022, giving modern gamers the ability to play Sonic 3 and Knuckles.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the 10 best Sonic the Hedgehog games and maybe learned something about the history of the franchise!
Sonic has been a staple of classic gaming since the 90s, and he remains one of the most iconic characters of all time.
If you haven’t had the chance to play any of these games, we highly recommend checking out the Sonic Origins compilation, which features many of these titles.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best Sonic The Hedgehog games:
- Sonic 3 And Knuckles
- Sonic The Hedgehog 2
- Sonic Mania
- Sonic CD
- Sonic Colors
- Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
- Sonic Generations
- Sonic Rush
- Sonic Advance
- Sonic Unleashed
What’s your favorite Sonic game? Leave a comment below.
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