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The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is way better than it needed to be

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Imagine if they killed Mario.

In fact, try to imagine it. can you? I mean: can you really? Does it seem like Nintendo can push through, greenlit by each essential department in its complex, multinational corporate structure? And does this seem like something that might not only get greenlighted, but actually produced, marketed and shipped? and released free?

because that’s what sega did The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog,

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it would be too easy to be cynical about The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog On both the critical and creative front. It would be tempting to see that what we have here is a glorified infomercial meant only to grab our accumulated attention on social media and channel that attention into a positive brand identity. Such a view would be warranted if the game was equally cynical in its construction: a hasty and malicious meme of a game, without love and with only IP reinvention in mind. But both postures are conceivable before actually playing The Murder of Sonic the HedgehogWhich is far better and far more generous than is needed.

The premise of the game is simple: Amy Rose is throwing herself a birthday party, and being a fan of true crime podcasts, she decides to book a murder mystery party on the Mirage Express, a train that seems to specialize in such things. Is. You play as a new character who I immediately named “soldier” when given the option, taking an ironic stance toward the game that I would eventually come to regret — but more on that later.

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Amy Rose tells the conductor about her true crime hobby in The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

Image: SEGA via Play Gamez

“Soldier,” or whatever you choose to call him, is a new employee of the Mirage Express. In fact, it’s his first day at work. As Sanic, you have a clear role: keep Amy Rose, Sonic, Tails and the rest of the group happy during their experience on Mirage. You get this task from the train’s conductor, a friendly gentleman who is retiring after this one last trip.

Things are quickly set in motion. Too soon, really. The train swings into action so fast that Tails, Amy and the player are trapped in a small room, where you are tasked with solving your first mystery. It’s not that difficult: a huge chunk of a filing cabinet is missing and Amy has the broken handle of a giant hammer, which she swears she did nothing to in front of you and Tails wakes up. You then present him with the evidence you’ve collected, which you piece together through a platforming minigame played on “Sanix Dream Gear”, or whatever you’ve named your character. Amy surrenders again: yes, now she remembers – she Did Hit that filing cabinet with a hammer.

This is the crux of the gameplay loop. enter a room, collect evidence, and interrogate a Sonic character as their alibi, a loop that is immediately given narrative weight when mere minutes into a two-hour game, you find that sonic is murdered,

in The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog

Image: SEGA via Play Gamez

Amy, being the hardcore true-crime fan that she is, gleefully takes the news: “Somebody murdered my beloved Sonic!” The party is off to the races. It’s all for fun. or is it? When the soldiers approach Sonic’s body (dearest reader, please make better naming decisions than me), they discover that Sonic is either a convincing fake, or that something is seriously wrong.

The question of whether Sonic is really dead or just play-dead hangs over the game’s runtime, and I won’t spoil it for you here. Is this the most original game plot in the world, worthy of steam, it was relevant for me to say because I played disco elysium And papers please, No. Have I had my disappointments with it, including its simplistic linearity and the somewhat baffling increase in difficulty of its Dream Gear minigames at the end? Sure, yes. But does any of that matter in the face of the sheer improbability and quality of this game? No,not at all.

The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog features an impressive rebuttal to a series of jokes about rummaging through garbage cans for clues, as well as a reflection on the nature of retirement and our relationship to the labor that defines our lives. I’m serious. It didn’t necessarily have to be these things, but it is! In fact, the game is so uninhibited in its approach to its silly concept that I felt like a total ass for naming my character “Soldier” like I was on top of it all.

against all the odds, The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog The April 1 release on Free Ninety Nine has a more honest script than you’d expect. It’s a fun game with genuine laughs, awesome art and a killer soundtrack, and you don’t have to pay a dime to play it. I could talk about the little things if I wanted to, but at the end of the day, I’m glad it exists at all, and that it not only exists, but it’s enjoyable.

So, kill Mario, you coward. Missing won’t cut it in 2023.

the murder of sonic the hedgehog Released March 31 on Windows PC. Vox Media is an affiliated partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Play Gamez’s ethics policy here,

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