Sonic Origins Plus (DLC) Review

Ned Jordan
In Short
A doubleplusgood expansion to Sonic Origins that brings the Game Gear Sonic experience to the game.

Sonic Origins Plus is either a complete standalone game or a DLC expansion depending on whether or not you own the original game. If you don’t have Sonic Origins, you can jump in now and get an expanded version of the original game. Own Sonic Origins, and the DLC will slide into your game so smoothly you’ll have to look to see where all the new additions can be found. I’ll just focus on what’s new in this review, those in the former group can read my review of Sonic Origins here.

The first update Plus brings to Sonic Origins becomes apparent at the start screens of the main games in the collection: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD. In all of these games you’ll now have the chance to play as Amy Rose. Amy brings more than a female hedgehog skin to the game. When you attack while jumping with Amy, she’ll swing a hammer. Other than an ever so slightly larger attack range than other characters, it’s essentially a cool visual enhancement. Otherwise, Amy is pretty comparable to playing as the other characters.

Amy and her hammer
Amy and her hammer

Sonic Origins Plus also adds Knuckles as a playable character in Sonic CD. Knuckles brings his glide ability with him to the game, and to accommodate this there have been new paths added to the game for him to exploit. It’s cool that there’s now more Sonic CD to enjoy, but this will be mostly appreciated to those who’ve already played a lot of Sonic CD.

Sonic Drift
Sonic Drift

The two additional characters are really more of the expansion’s bonus content. The main attraction here is the addition of twelve new games to play. These new games consist of all of the titles that were released on the Game Gear that featured characters from the Sonic universe. This means that you get more than just the portable versions of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. There are racing games (Sonic Drift and Sonic Drift 2), a puzzle game (Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine), a pinball game (Sonic Spinball), and some adventures for Sonic’s pal Tails (Tails Adventure and Tails’ Sky Patrol). For the sake of completeness, the full list of Game Gear titles included is:

• Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
• Sonic Blast
• Sonic Chaos
• Sonic Drift
• Sonic Drift 2
• Sonic Labyrinth
• Sonic Spinball
• Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
• Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit)
• Sonic Triple Trouble
• Tails Adventure
• Tails' Skypatrol

Tails' Skypatrol
Tails' Skypatrol

Some of these games have held up pretty well, at least the gameplay part. The games only occupy a third of the screen, with a border mat used to fill the rest of the screen. The cutscenes are all static images with a line or two of text and music playing in the background, which I suppose is the video game equivalent of silent movies. The graphics themselves are all 8-bit since that’s what the original portable console was, but it’s hard to list that as a criticism these days when Steam is awash in new releases featuring 8-bit style graphics.

You can certainly have fun with these games, though. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine’s variation on the Genesis’ Columns puzzle game action holds-up quite well, but you can easily find a hundred variations of its Tetris meets match-3 gameplay on your phone. The Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 games are more curiosities than something you’ll play a lot – after all, these games are already a featured part of the original game collection. The other platformers like Sonic Blast and Sonic Chaos can be enjoyable in a retro kind of way. Tails’ Skypatrol is kind of fun, but it’s another game that has modern mobile variations. It’s interesting to play these games that were on the cutting edge of portable gaming technology in the 90s and see how modern phone games may look better, but that they owe a lot to games that came before. I have to give special credit to Sonic Spinball, though. There aren’t really many games like it and it has held up quite well. Of all of the games in the collection, I probably spent the most time with this pinball-inspired arcade game – although fair warning, I’m a big fan of pinball games in general.

There’s even more added here. Also included are the Classic Music Pack and Premium Fun Pack. More game music is not really a draw for me, but I know that some people are really into that sort of thing. The Premium Fun Pack, whose nomenclature makes one assume that it is superior to a run of the mill Fun Pack, adds hard mode to the primary Sonic games and mirror mode, which lets you play the games again, except this time backwards. There are also some new cosmetic things added, such as screen borders and character animations in the menus.

So, in the end, if you haven’t picked-up Sonic Origins, yet, you can now get a lot more for your money. If you’ve been playing Sonic Origins off and on over the past year, the real decision point for you is whether or not you want the additional Game Gear games. Adding Amy won’t mean much to you unless you want to play through the Sonic games again with a new character. And adding new music, backgrounds, and animations to a game that you stopped playing won’t really get you to start playing it again, will it? Personally, I think that there’s enough new here if you’re interested in Sonic Game Gear games to warrant a purchase, though. You probably went for the original game at least partially out of a sense of nostalgia anyway, right?

Final Rating: 80%

Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 5

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Transmitted: 7/14/2024 7:28:23 PM