IGN: Sonic 4 iPhone’s Minecart “more fun than the universal stages”

IGN: Sonic 4 iPhone’s Minecart “more fun than the universal stages”

Well, here’s something that will give you a shock. In a preview of the latest build of the iPhone version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, IGN’s Levi Buchanan has stated that the controversial minecart Act in Lost Labyrinth Zone (that has been removed from console editions), “was actually more fun than the universal stages I tried.”

The reasoning behind Buchanan’s statement is that he feels Sonic runs too fast and he can’t progress through a stage without fear of falling or hitting spikes and losing all of his hard-earned rings.

Here’s why: Sonic has a tendency to get away from himself. Granted, that’s by design. Sonic is all about speed and you’re supposed to get going as fast as you can, blasting through stages with the constant fear that one false move will send your 112 rings into the gutter. But that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me anymore. In fact, I’m sure I groaned aloud many times at SEGA’s office when I was cruising toward the finish line only to fail a small jump and drop onto some spikes. My rings scattered and any hopes of enjoying a bonus stage (more on those in a moment) were dashed against the rocks.

Buchanan goes on to say that the minecart stage has less chance of death, so you can relax and enjoy the ride(pun intended).

But the mine cart stages are more measured than that. There is a sense of exploration as you tilt Sonic through the maze in his cart, looking for bumpers to blast you across chasms or finding the switch to open a sealed door. Death is not as ever-present here, which lets you relax and appreciate a few things. One, the tilt controls in the mine cart stages are well done. I felt like I had complete control over Sonic’s plight. Two, the art work in here is really nice.

As for the Sonic 1 inspired Special Stages, Buchanan finds the new control method of tilting the maze to move Sonic much better than manoeuvring Sonic himself in the Mega Drive/Genesis iteration.

So, bonus stages – they’re back in Sonic 4. Remember the spinning labyrinths you had to guide Sonic through to capture the chaos emeralds? The bonus rounds in Sonic 4 are very similar, but now you tilt the device to rotate the maze rather than control Sonic. This is a big improvement and cuts down on frustration. Easing Sonic through the maze toward the chaos emerald is still tricky (there’s a time limit and plenty of opportunities to drop out of the stage), but at least you feel in control rather than swimming upstream through an auto-rotating screen.

What do you think of these statements? Discuss in the comments.

For the full preview, head over to IGN.


  1. As an iPod Touch owner, I get what he’s saying. I’ve played a good deal of tilt controlled games (Katamari, Monkey Ball, Toy Bot, De Blob), and more often than not they are very intuitive and responsive. The problem is, too many people have seen the failure that was the mine cart stage being play haphazardly with 360 triggers rather than precise tilt detection. They’re two different beasts and I think the iPod version deserves a chance.

  2. Well, that’s what we (i.e. you all) get for complaining about the minecart stage without any information about it.

  3. I… REALLY wasn’t expecting the minecart level to be that good, or just better than the regular stages! XD
    I do hope the rest of the game is fun though, on all systems 🙂
    the demo I played at SOS was pretty enjoyable actually 😀

  4. I should add that I actually intend on buying the iPhone version and I don’t doubt that the level works pretty well on it.

  5. @sonfan1984: I don’t see anyone complaining about it right now. None of the posts on this article are bashing that level as of yet.

  6. Its the Rush engine Monty, all Dimps had to do is use the Rush model of Sonic for the iPhone/iPod Touch version. Since, the iDevices perhaps cannot all do the high poly model of the console versions, wich is not a bad thing, as long as it runs well. 🙂

  7. @Lieutenant Goomba: I know that but I was talking about before. When there were leaks of it, people’s reaction of the minecart level is really negativite.

  8. @sonfan1984
    People complained cuz they cant stand to see something new and diffrent and give it a chance, maybe it will come as DLC after

  9. O_o
    Course it works better with the iPhone, but better than the rest?
    I love the thrill Sonic gives you when you run fast.
    Classic case of different opinions.

  10. Yeah, here we basically have someone saying that the classics’ gameplay “doesn’t necessarily appeal” to him anymore, while trying to preview a new game based on this “classic” gameplay.
    Oh no, how dare he lose all his rings right at the end of the goal. You can die or fail at the end of any stage on any game.
    This preview sucks and obviously people are going to disagree with his enjoyment of the most controversial thing about this game so far.

  11. @Burtzman:
    Yeah, that does seem strange that he likes the minecart more then the actual stages.
    I’m glad that the preview on it is positive but I hope that SEGA dont get the wrong idea where you ride on minecarts in Sonic games now.

  12. I’m not really surprised that the minecart level works on a tiltable handheld, but not on the console. It’s really whatever feels natural to control.

  13. tbh this guy is saying “i don’t like classic sonic, but I like a level which is nothing to do with sonic”

  14. From what he’s said, it seems he’s just over Sonic games. Which is sad. I mean, the blasting through stages and the suspense of losing your rings or falling into a pit suddenly.. it’s kind of the point. All games can get frustrating, if they don’t, then they’re just too easy. I respect his opinion, of course. It just seems he doesn’t like classic Sonic (perhaps anymore) and wants something new. I can understand.

  15. I never expected something like this from IGN, but still it seems odd. But at least he’s not completely sh*tting on it either.

  16. Honestly in a way it’s true, we’ve all seen this done multiple times maybe Sonic Team was bored with the formula too and that’s why they added all those gimmicks and made the 2d games so fans can stopping bitching about getting a game like this.

  17. ORLY? I’ll have to see if there’s a free version on the app store and give it a try, once I get my new iTouch.

  18. I’d prefer it if the mine cart stage and the newer console version of the act were in every version of the game, myself. While the stage looked like it took some getting used to, I thought it was an interesting idea. The new version looks more fun to me, but since I don’t have any Apple products, I won’t be able to try the other, fun-looking act.

    I’d love to see this make it into the game as DLC for the console versions (and likewise the iPhone/iPhone/iWhatever version should get the console stage as DLC, if possible), but as I said before, I’m ultimately more interested in running around in the dark with a torch.

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