DLC Review – Sonic Origins Plus
Sonic Origins was released last year to some controversy. We found it to be good, don’t get us wrong, but there’s no way to deny the complaints regarding its pricing, missing tracks from Sonic 3, and some bizarre DLC packs offered at launch. Sonic Origins Plus is, well, another DLC pack, but one that’s considerably meatier than others. Think of it as an expansion of sorts. Why would a retro collection requre an expansion is beyond me, considering there’s not exactly a LOT of new stuff being offered, but I would say that having the option to upgrade it instead of buying a hypothetical Sonic Origins 2 makes this cheap offering feel less egregious.
So, what to expect from this short package of goodies? You get the chance to play as Knuckles in Sonic CD, for starters. Given the sheer insane size of each level in CD, being able to play as Knuckles, a slower-paced character tailor-made for exploration, whilst not a revolutionary game changer, is neat indeed. It’s quite odd that this very specific feature wasn’t present in the original release of Sonic Origins, but hey, better late than never, I suppose?
The second inclusion is Amy Rose being playable in the classic Sonic games for the first time. I grew up playing Sonic Advance, so having Amy as a (terrible) playable character isn’t new, but I never understood why it’s taken so long for her to finally be included in an older Sonic game in the first place. Again, just like with Knuckles being playable in Sonic CD, this isn’t the single greatest idea in the world, but I appreciate the inclusion. Neither of these two features are the main selling point of Sonic Origins Plus, though. They are, technically speaking, the best, but not the most interesting.
Let’s face it, most die-hard Sonic fans will purchase the Sonic Origins Plus expansion for the twelve Game Gear games that are added to the collection. Yep, you read that right, TWELVE games. Considering the small price tag for this expansion, that alone would be considered a steal, and that’s what makes this worth grabbing. But let’s be real here: they are not particularly great games. I just find it great that they have now been preserved for posterity, but most of them are quite one-note. However, there are exceptions.
I’d say that Tails’ Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble are the highlights. The former is a bona fide metroidvania, whilst the latter is possibly the only traditional 2D Sonic game in this library that feels fun to play. It doesn’t suffer from the Game Gear’s small screen size, it doesn’t look utterly horrendous like Sonic Blast, and it runs quite well. Granted, all twelve games in this collection warrant a few minutes of testing at least, just for fans to get a hold of a good chunk of an otherwise overlooked section of the hedgehog’s catalog, but these two in particular are actually fun to play for more than that. They aren’t merely curiosities.
I feel I should also mention the Sonic Drift games, which were the predecessors to what would eventually become Sonic‘s long-lasting (and surprisingly positive) history with racing games. Are they dated? Yes. They are nowhere near as deep as even Super Mario Kart on the SNES, but for the Game Gear, sure, I’ll take them.
Of all the ways Sega and Sonic Team could have failed when making an expansion for a collection of old games, I’m just glad to report that Sonic Origins Plus wasn’t one of them. I don’t particularly think any of the inclusions in this package are game changers, be it the inclusions of new characters on older games or the many, many emulated ROMs of Game Gear titles, but the overall package is quite good. Considering the price tag and amount of content on offer, I’d say this is an easy recommendation.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Sonic Origins Plus is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC ,and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Sonic Origins Plus was provided by the publisher.