Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 tries to bring back the Genesis/Megadrive style of gameplay from the older Sonic the Hedgehog games, with not only 2D gameplay, but the physics and movement of the older games, albeit with modern influences like the homing attack. Unfortunately, while I found a lot to enjoy in the game, it doesn't quite capture the things the Genesis games did right, and in some places seems to miss the point. Take the physics. Sonic accelerates oddly and slows down quickly. It feels very unnatural, and it takes away from the fun of making Sonic move and using the physics and momentum that you've earned and built up. When rolled into a ball, I jumped, causing Sonic's momentum to stop as he practically curved right upward. One segment inside a U-shaped area required Sonic to run back and forth up the walls to build up speed and rush up the right wall in order to escape. Well, I tried doing that while rolled into a ball, but Sonic failed to gain anywhere near as much momentum as he logically should, or would have in, say, Sonic 2. I switched to just plain running, and somehow he gained a surprising amount of speed and rushed right up the wall. It didn't make sense. Finally, any object that propels Sonic into the air, such as a cannon seems to cause him to lose forward momentum in mid-air for no apparent reason, unless you're holding forward. The older games didn't do this, and it also makes no logical sense. The momentum is just plain broken. I could overcome these flaws, and Sega has said they are planning to fix the physics for episode 2, so I have to give them a lot of credit there. The next issue is the level design. Overall, it tends to do a very good job of mimicking the style of the Genesis Sonic games, with similar styles of obstacles, some outright lifted wholesale from previous games for that nostalgia factor they seemed to be going for. There were times when the difficulty spiked frustratingly, which really caught me by surprise considering this is episode 1. Some obstacles also felt awkward, like having to "uncork" water in a room by tilting the entire screen (it's really hard to explain until you do it) and avoid bumping into spikes. In short: a decent first effort, with some frustrating flaws, and I hope the sequel is better.
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