“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is a free murder mystery adventure starring Sonic and friends! Players take on the role of detective’s assistant and help Tails piece together the clues by playing mini-games and ultimately solving the crime!
Released: 31st March 2023
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Available on: Steam
Narrative and Gameplay
As a trainee train conductor during their first day aboard the Mirage Express, the player must attend to the needs of the passengers, who happen to be Sonic and his friends, attending a murder mystery party for Amy’s birthday! As things progress they are roped in to help Tails, who has been given the role of detective. The pair must find clues and interrogate the other passengers in order to discover who the murderer is.
The murder mystery aspect of the game is quite straightforward, with very little to challenge the player who must travel through the train’s coaches, look for clues and then decide what to ask the characters about. It is not possible to miss clues as the game will not allow the player to progress without them and wrong decisions in selecting clues are completely unpunished. The dialogue and story are both fairly simplistic and not overly engaging though there are some fun dialogue choices and the content is quite family friendly overall. While the narrative doesn’t really provide much nostalgia it does offer something new for fans of Sonic games, creating appeal.
Interrogating suspects requires thinking, which involves playing a minigame on a handheld Dreamgear. The minigame is a 2D isometric, endless runner in which the player must collect rings and avoid pitfalls and enemies. There is a definite difficulty curve as the player progresses through the game and things get pretty tricky towards the latter stages. The game also culminates in a boss fight of sorts that requires doing multiple levels of the minigame in a row, with the difficulty increasing each time, proving quite the challenge.
Unfortunately, the minigame crops up far too often and becomes repetitive and frustrating with the eventual over-the-top difficulty clashing with the calmer visual novel-type aspects of the game. To add to this, the game has no controller support and keyboard controls, especially pressing space to jump can be unresponsive causing the player to fail through no fault of their own. On the plus side, failure simply results in restarting the level and has no further consequences. In addition, there are a range of options to assist the player such as altering the speed or amount of rings needed and even invincibility!
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog uses a cute, colourful 2D, cartoon art style with a grey texture over the top giving the impression of playing on an old TV or monitor. The background art has a slightly softer feel to it whereas the characters have bolder black outlines that make them stand out.
The music is varied and ranges from light, upbeat tracks to the much more energetic and dramatic music that fills the minigame sections and the more climactic moments of the story. The menu music is a highlight, featuring a range of instruments to create an ominous and crescendoing track that is befitting of a murder mystery game. It has a slightly retro feel to it but with much more depth and variety of sounds to give it a modern touch.
The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog will take anywhere from 2-4 hours to play and offers fun cartoon visuals, a varied soundtrack and a mix of visual novel and endless runner gameplay. The narrative and murder mystery aspects are somewhat lacklustre and the minigame occurs far too frequently to be enjoyable, often breaking the flow of the story. The two styles do not complement each other and provide a bizarre mix of relaxing story-focused gameplay and frantic, repetitive challenges. The experience could easily be half the length and more enjoyable with some of the slower content and excessive minigames being culled but ultimately Sonic and friends overstay their welcome. It is of fairly decent quality for a free game that was released largely as an April Fool’s joke but has too many shortcomings and design flaws for me to recommend.
Looking for more free mystery games? Take a look at these reviews:
Karisvale – Free Top-Down Detective Game with a Dark Twist! – How We Know We’re Alive – A Free Melancholy Mystery – Delores: A Free Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure