Why it's on the list: It seemed cool. I like those early Sonic games.
How I played it: Nintendo Switch, mostly handheld.
When I played it: August 2017 - July 2018
How far I got:
Finished the main game
Got two Chaos Emeralds
What I thought:
I've always had mixed feelings about the Sonic games. I finished the original Sonic the Hedgehog (on my iPod Nano, no less), played pieces of the 3D games (I've finished the reviled Shadow the Hedgehog more than once) and got almost all the way through Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (I got tired of starting the whole game again and again; I didn't realise there was a 'continue' cheat).
Speaking of continues: that's something that makes this game rather frustrating. No, it doesn't reset you back to the start of the game when you run out of lives, but it does take you back to the start of the Zone. This led me to put my Switch down more than once - especially around certain bosses. But once you push through it isn't so bad, and it's just about worth it for the game itself.
The gameplay is full of neat twists on original Sonic gameplay, new and surprising mechanics - shrinking, going into the background, getting frozen in ice, and so on. Each Zone seems to have its own gimmick, keeping the game nice and fresh.
The music is awesome, as Sonic soundtracks usually are. In the Zones returning from past games, the first level is scored by a fairly straightforward port of the track from the originating game. But then the second level does a sick remix of that song. The other Zones also follow this pattern, but with original tracks.
Story-wise, there isn't actually a whole lot in the game itself, which again hews back to original Sonic. However, a little wiki-diving revealed a fun little touch. This game is actually a weird prequel to the lesser Sonic game of 2017 - the events in 'Classic' Sonic's dimension lead to the Phantom Ruby falling through to 'Modern' Sonic's dimension and causing all the trouble in Forces. It's a great weird bit of cross-marketing which I'd love if Sonic Forces didn't suck.
The multiple routes through levels, the bonus stages, the aesthetic - it's all 90s Sonic, albeit with some twists. If you like those old games, you'll like this. If not, ditto.