The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog | game review
Sega wouldn't really do it... would they?
Game summary: It's Amy Rose's birthday, and she's hosting a murder mystery party on the Mirage Express! When Sonic the Hedgehog becomes the game's victim, everyone is off to get to the bottom of things. However, something feels a bit off - is this really an innocent game or is something more sinister afoot? (Steam)
It's not often you get to play a game based on a major publisher's company mascot created as a genuine release for an April Fool's Day joke. Did I say 'often'? I meant ever. I honestly can't see Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft or any other big name in the industry releasing a game like this, never mind one with that title! Sonic's targeted at kids after all - how many times do you normally see his name in the same sentence as the word 'murder'?
And I'm not even a Sonic fan! I had a Mega Drive when I was younger, but the last time Sonic was relevant to me was probably the very early Nineties and this free - yes, FREE - game reintroduced me to characters I recognised, namely Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, as well as all the others I didn't, and the writing is so great and so much fun that I didn't feel left out or lost even once.
It's quite frankly ridiculous how much fun The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is and just how much it feels like you get through in the space of a couple of hours. It is a visual novel, so there's a lot reading to be done, but the writing is so good that you don't really care, and each section - with it's own bit of story - never outstays its welcome, never making the larger plot feel like it's taking longer than it should.
There are also isometric platforms where you have to dodge and/or jump over a variety of obstacles while collecting rings which are fun to play, but even these can be simplified to the point of being almost impossible to fail if you want to just keep to the visual novel side of things. This design choice works perfectly, along with the lack of any cost, to introduce or even re-introduce people to these characters and not have to worry about missing the ending because you reach a point beyond your skill level.
Downsides? It's only a couple of hours long, it's not going to challenge you at all, and it would have been nice to have some more animation to the visuals. On the other hand, it's short enough that it won't go on longer than it should, the lack of challenge means that anyone can play and, most likely, complete it and, oh yeah, it's FREE and filled with loads of great art, even if it's not animated.
I think The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is about as good as it could possibly have been and is one of those games that again highlights the inefficiency of giving games scores, which is why I have the descriptor next to the number every time. This is a very good game that, along with the also free original release of Doki Doki Literature Club, makes me wonder how annoyed developers who charge for visual novel games must feel when something this good is released for no cost at all.
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog might only be a couple of hours long, but the writing is brilliant, it looks and sounds fantastic, and it's bloody free! Even if you're not a Sonic fan, it's still a funny and enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours with a company's mascot being used in a way that most companies wouldn't even dare dreaming of doing.