Title: The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog
Release Date: March 31, 2023
Available on: PC
Reviewed on: PC
In an unexpected turn of events, SEGA announced in a tweet on March 31, that a new direction for Sonic the Hedgehog is coming, and lo and behold, a brand new visual novel game was released. It is not an April Fool’s joke, as some fans would say, but SEGA gifted a brand new Sonic game titled The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Being a fan of true crime podcasts, Amy Rose is throwing herself a birthday party aboard the Mirage Express. As Sonic the Hedgehog becomes the game’s victim, everyone is determined to find out what happened.
As a new employee of Mirage Express, you play as a new character whom you can name however you like. It’s their first day on the job. As you play as the new character, your job on the Mirage is to keep Amy Rose, Sonic, Tails, and the rest of the group happy. The train’s conductor, an amiable man retiring after this trip, gives you that task.
However, something feels off. Is this an innocent game, or is something more sinister afoot?
Despite its title, the tone of the game remains lighthearted throughout and doesn’t take itself too seriously like Sonic Frontiers. Rather than focusing on saving the world, the game allows the characters to casually hang out and have fun with silly interactions, each playing their given role with varying levels of commitment. For instance, Tails is a detective, Knuckles is a sheriff, and Amy is a journalist.
However, as a mystery game, each character is hiding something, which leads to some nervous and exaggerated defenses that wouldn’t feel out of place in an Ace Attorney game. The game’s core loop is straightforward — you move from train carriage to train carriage, examine each one point-and-click style, gather evidence, and interrogate whoever’s around using said evidence to uncover their lies.
Despite being a murder mystery game, there is no real punishment for failure, and novice players will find it easy to complete the game. The game also has bite-sized auto-runner levels that offer a little bit of challenge for Sonic fans, but they are still relatively easy to complete.
While the game’s mystery is not particularly gripping or complex, it’s a free April Fool’s gag that can be completed in an afternoon. In spite of that, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog clearly took a lot of effort and care. The writing is amusing, and there are some enjoyable running gags, including Espio’s bad poetry and a cute reference to inspecting every bin you come across. The artwork is also pretty good and feels right at home in the IDW comics. Even though there are some Easter eggs and references that only avid Sonic fans will catch, the character writing and interactions are relatively faithful to the original Sonic games. Overall, the game is a fun diversion for Sonic fans looking for a lighthearted and casual experience.
FINAL SCORE (5 out of 5 stars)
Overall, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog was a fun and colorful visual novel game that everyone would enjoy, whether canon or not. Its art style, charm, and straightforward gameplay make a Sonic fan crave more stories to tell. The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is heading in the right direction by becoming such a refreshing game for fans.
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