Sonic is dead, it is actually pretty cool

The titular hedgehog Sonic lies lifelessly on the cold, hard ground after being fatally wounded in the game. Photo courtesy SEGA
The titular hedgehog Sonic lies lifelessly on the cold, hard ground after being fatally wounded in the game.
Photo courtesy SEGA

campus editor

SEGA has decided to do the unthinkable: Murder its iconic, prickly blue mascot in cold blood. 

In celebration of April Fool’s Day, the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account simultaneously announced and released a free, Steam-exclusive visual novel game simply titled “The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog.” Despite supposedly being a quick April Fool joke, the game is multiple hours long and is surprisingly high-quality. It’s honestly a million times better than it needs to be.

It’s a creative, silly little side project on behalf of SEGA, and it has garnered tons of positive reception since its release. The game currently has well over a million downloads on Steam and is currently the highest-rated Sonic game on the site and one of the highest-rated games in the entire series in general. A game about Sonic’s murder is the highest-rated Sonic game. Make of that what you will I suppose.

The story sees the titular rodent and his friends partaking in a murder mystery party aboard a highly-advanced bullet train known as the Mirage Express. However, the party quickly goes south, and it becomes unclear whether Sonic’s untimely death is a party trick or an actual side effect of unadulterated hedgehog homicide.

So what can a player expect to be doing? Well, since it’s a visual novel game, the gameplay amounts to mainly chatting it up with the wide array of Sonic cast members as a little self-insert Quokka character who the player can do whatever they want for the most part. Some names aren’t allowed like “Phoenix Wright” and “Amongus” though, so tough luck.

The player travels to and from the various train cars of the Mirage Express, searching for special items and clues that could help figure out who killed the blue boy. One of these special items is a little device known as the “DreamGear,” a handheld gaming system that the player character will pull out to help them think through the mystery. 

When the “DreamGear” is out, the player will need to complete a small obstacle course, similar to “Temple Run” for the sake of comparison, as a virtual Sonic to help progress the story. It’s a fun, harmless detour to help break up the murderous antics of the main story.

The meat of a visual novel, however, isn’t the mini-games, it’s the writing. How does the writing hold up? Is it an intense mystery thriller? Is there some deep meaning to it all? Does the rat actually kick the bucket? The answer to all of these questions is unfortunately a cold, hard no. But, the game is still incredibly charming.

As someone who grew up with these characters, it’s definitely a treat to see them filling these goofy, light-hearted roles. It’s a refreshing change of pace compared to whatever has been going on in the main Sonic games. It’s nice to have a Sonic game that isn’t about nuking the White House, suffering through the horrors of war, or having to stop god monsters from eating innocent baby animals in order to tear a hole through dimensions. It knows what it is and knows how to make people laugh. It’s a good time.

“The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog” is definitely an A+ Sonic game, as weird as it may seem. It’s got plenty of charm. It’s got fun mini-games. It’s got a silly, yet admittedly engaging premise. And it’s also free of charge. If the death of a blue cartoon mouse sounds mildly amusing, then consider giving the game a go.