If you look past the misnomer of a name, Sonic CD delivers exactly what it suggests — a faithful recreation of the Sega CD title. That it’s an app and not on a CD at all seems to work for the better, though not everything is peaches and cream when it comes to the update of this classic title.
The controls are about as good as can be expected with an on-screen D-pad and action button. Sonic CD smartly stays away from trying to use the accelerometer for any control scheme, but there’s really no perfect solution to porting a console platformer to the iPhone.
In Sonic CD’s case, the action button seems unresponsive at times, which is irritating in stages where you really need to time a jump accurately to move on to the next section. If you do happen to get stuck for any reason, there is a handy button that lets you restart the level, and thankfully, none of the levels in this game are too long to begin with.
Visually, there are plenty of iPhone games that look better than Sonic CD now, but fans looking for authenticity will find the classic game just how they left it, which is comforting in its own way. As a bonus, gamers can choose between the U.S. and Japanese soundtracks for the game before they start playing. It’s a small bit of fan service that, along with the addition of leader boards and achievements, brings a modern touch to an old favorite.
One thing that hasn’t been added is an ability to save your game. This isn’t a huge issue as long as the app stays open on your iPhone, but if, for some reason, it doesn’t, you’ll have to start over from scratch. I’m not sure why this feature is so often neglected in old console ports, but enough is enough already. Not everyone is sitting around using their iPhone like it’s a Game Gear and playing for hours at a time.
Still, Sonic CD provides a worthwhile Sonic experience from start to finish. If you can handle some wonky controls and the lack of save options, you’ll find an enjoyable and classic platform game experience.