Before Sonic Adventure, Sega’s blue mascot made his first foray into the third dimension with 1996’s Sonic 3D Blast for the Sega Genesis and Saturn. It wasn’t great! But now we have a 2D total conversion thanks to independent developer Sotaknuck, which takes the story and aesthetics of Sonic 3D Blast and reimagines them in a more traditional side-scrolling game.
Sonic 3D in 2D is what it says on the tin, but that doesn’t really do Sotaknuck’s work justice. Enemies unique to Sonic 3D Blast have been recreated in the style of classic side-scrolling Sonic games, and Sotaknuck even created new bosses that better fit the project’s straight-on 2D perspective. Certain mechanics, like having to unlock portals by collecting a certain amount of birds, didn’t make the cut, and that’s honestly for the best.
My only gripe with Sonic 3D in 2D is that it feels very much like a fan game. The level of polish one would expect from an official Sonic release just isn’t there. Some of the physics feel wonky compared to early games in the series and it’s often difficult to figure out where you need to go next in its expansive levels. It’s not something I expect to spend a ton of time with, but I imagine there are some Sonic fans who might want to give this a go to see how the strange Sonic 3D Blast could be adapted into a classical side-scrolling platformer.
This was all made possible by Sonic Worlds, an open-source Sonic engine that gives developers the ability to make their own Sonic games without having to worry about getting the underlying mechanics right on their own. I haven’t been able to play through the whole thing, but Sotaknuck promises that Sonic 3D in 2D includes all 15 acts from the original game. And while the final product might not be as tight as a real Sonic game, it’s clear this is a work of love from someone deeply invested in the series.
Sonic 3D in 2D is available for free on itch.io.