Review – The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog

What do we usually expect from April Fool’s in the realm of gaming? Some silly emails sent by PR companies? A bunch of doofuses teasing Bloodborne 2? Well, what about an honest-to-goodness free game by Sega available on Steam? Yep, not unlike their barrage of anniversary titles released a few years ago, such as Streets of Kamurocho, the house of the hedgehog decided to publish a completely free, but featured-filled murder mystery visual novel starring their main mascot. The most shocking aspect about it is that The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog ended up being quite fun. Not just “fun for a free game”, even though that’s a major plus. A fun game, period.

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog Deviantartoc

The most fitting name possible.

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog is a whodunit visual novel, but one with a particularly lighthearted twist. Sure, it’s all about investigating a murder, but it’s a fake one. You and the rest of the franchise’s cast are role playing as classic whodunit figures (the journalist, the detective, the socialite, the butcher, etc) as part of Amy Rose’s birthday celebrations. Yep, instead of asking for a cake, or a trip to Atlantic City with the gals, she decided to bring everybody over to a train in order to pretend they were in the set of Knives Out. Can’t say it isn’t an intriguing way to celebrate your birthday.

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog Amy

I guess she wanted the insurance money.

You play as a brand new character (memories of Sonic Forces immediately came to mind), a butler/concierge of sorts in the train, who teams up with Tails (the one pretending to be the detective) in order to solve the “murder mystery” of who “killed” (very heavy quotation marks here) Sonic. It’s all lighthearted, simplistic, but at the same time, surprisingly well-written. The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog might be an April Fool’s joke, but it’s also a fully functional homage to other detective-driven visual novels, with some good dialogue and funny bits.

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog Dream Gear

The only visual novel in the market that features platforming sections.

It’s a very linear game. Go through each train wagon and solve what little mystery is available there. No need to backtrack. You will be done with everything in about two hours. The thing is, the game isn’t simply a bunch of text boxes and the occasional point and click section. Sure, it’s like 90% of what you’ll do, but every now and then you’ll be told to access your mind palace in order to figure out a hint or a line of thought. You do that by partaking in a small platforming minigame, where you’ll control Sonic, being told to collect a specific amount of rings before the level ends. Super simple, but it’s fun and responsive. A nice change of pace.

As for the rest, well, don’t expect replayability or the fanciest of art designs. It’s a mostly static game, save for the occasional isometric minigame (all presented in 16-bit pixel art), with some excellent hand-drawn character portraits. Not a lot of music, just some passable background tunes, but just par for the course for a game like this. Remember, it’s free. Older Sega Steam freebies were about fifteen minutes long, so the fact this is well-written, well drawn and polished is already a big plus.

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog Rouge

It’s like they know a part of the Sonic fanbase feels, uh, “excited feelings” for Rouge, the oddly breasted bat.

Despite being originally released as some sort of April Fool’s prank, The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog is not a joke. Sure, it’s silly as hell, but it’s a pretty decent and lighthearted visual novel with some clever writing and a unique premise. Even if it was released as a paid product, I’d call it worth your time, but as a Steam freebie? Just go for it, we’ve all gotten worse stuff on that platform for free.


Graphics: 7.5

Static, as are all visual novels. Thankfully, the art style is actually pretty good. The only instances of moving assets are seen during the mind palace minigame sections.

Gameplay: 7.5

The visual novel sections, which are 95% of the game, are simple, intuitive, and presented with a good UI. The minigame controls are equally good, despite being basic.

Sound: 6.0

No voices, very little sound effects, but the music isn’t bad. It’s just nothing special.

Fun Factor: 7.5

For a free game released as an April Fool’s joke, The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog is actually quite meaty and well-written. It’s a fun little game with way more care put into it than its origins would make you think.

Final Verdict: 7.5

The Murder of Sonic The Hedgehog is available now on PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.