Sonic Origins Plus Review – Rusty Bells and Whistles

Sonic Origins Plus Review

Collections like this one always feel incomplete. You’ve got the big hits, yes. But what about the lesser-known favorites? What about the hidden gems? Sonic Origins Plus is Sega’s way of addressing the gaps in this collection of classics. That was the intention, at least. Unless you’re a huge Game Gear fan, I suspect this upgrade won’t be the hit Sega was hoping for. Growing up, I knew exactly one person who even had a Game Gear, let alone any of the Sonic titles. But wait, there’s more!

Yes, this isn’t just a Game Gear update. Origins Plus also introduces Amy as a playable character. You can now speed through the four main games with Amy Rose. Cool right? She doesn’t control very differently, to be fair. Tapping the jump button while midair unleashes a sort of hammer spin, which is neat. Said move also resembles one that Sonic has in some of these same games. Oh! You also get access to music, wallpapers, Extreme Missions, and Mirror Mode. Plus, Knuckles is now playable in Sonic CD. I’m making this expansion seem like an insubstantial thing, which is not true! It’s just that almost all of the Game Gear games are very bad.

Tons of New Content

Maybe Sega was hoping that volume would make up for the games’ average quality? The important thing is that the games in question are pretty awful. You’ve got twelve to choose from. It’s such a massive, hopeful number. Surely there are a few gems hidden among the dreck? Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is downright decent. It’s a simple puzzle game, well-suited to the Game Gear’s screen size and resolution. There’s also Sonic Spinball, which mostly works. But what about the other ten?

Sonic Origins Plus Review

The various platformers are sluggish, which is bad. But they also make me physically ill. The screen real estate is so limited that you follow Sonic’s every jump arc. I can handle about ten minutes of that at once before I’m ready to hurl. The racing games are terribly dull. Sonic Labyrinth takes away your ability to run in more than short bursts, and the hit detection is abysmal. Tails has two forgettable games in here as well. Sonic Blast has the coveted distinction of being the ugliest Sonic game I’ve ever seen. Yes, even uglier than the one you’re thinking of, I promise. So, not a lot of hits in the Game Gear section.

Ill-Suited For Platformers, Honestly

Of course, the Origins Plus expansion is being layered on top of an existing product. You can read the review for that one here. If you’re buying the whole game for the first time, it’s not all bad news. You’ve still got four classic games to play. Plus, each one has the Anniversary mode, which rules. The Story Mode and the other game modes are also great, if a little repetitive. On the flip side, if you’re just buying the expansion, it’s pretty cheap! 10.99 USD, to be exact.

Sonic Origins Plus Review

Such is the wrinkle here. My final score applies to the expansion in particular. Taken as a complete product, my previous review (right here) is a more accurate assessment. But man oh man, that expansion. If you’ve already got the base game, I can’t imagine you’ll get much out of Origins Plus. If you grew up playing the Game Gear, great news! These are twelve colorful trips down memory lane. Otherwise, I don’t recommend it. Turns out Sega’s first portable gaming experiment aged rather poorly. Sonic Origins is a fun and accessible way to play Sonic’s greatest hits. But Origins Plus spends too much time on bland, awful games.

***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Playing as Amy is fun
  • Ton of new games

The Bad

  • Game Gear games mostly awful
  • Motion sickness somehow
  • Not worth the price