The Yoke’s On You
Escape from New York
Unwelcome to the Jungle
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
It Takes One to No Place
There’s No ARRGH in “Team”
Since the blue hedgehog sped its way onto games consoles back in 1991, Sega have had their very own mascot but struggled to hit the same speeds Sonic does in his games. There have been numerous failures along the way, almost surpassing the hits, with memorabilia and spin-off material like Sonic the Comic and animated TV shows working to flesh the mythos out further.
Sonic Prime doesn’t reinvent the wheel or offer anything particularly new to this world, sitting canonically between the 1992 and ’93 Sonic games. There’s little mention of Chaos Emeralds or Team Chaotix here, instead playing out a multiversal adventure featuring Sonic and his closest band of heroes as they attempt to save the universe from the evil Dr Robotnik.
The tone is very clearly designed for kids, with plenty of quirky jokes and slapstick gigs, along with a recurring chili dog gag. However, fans of the games will find there are some lovely nods to the original title, with pixelized flashbacks and familiar sound effects (including Sonic collecting rings and the noise of Sonic’s spin)serving as a welcome aesthetic treat.
The story itself is serviceable enough, with a longer opening episode that works to set the scene for the following 20 minute chapters to ease into. Essentially, Dr Robotnik has uncovered the Paradox Prism, which sends Sonic through to a parallels world where Robotnik has taken over, turning Green Hill into a concrete nightmare.
Desperate to save the universe and right the wrongs caused in his own world, Sonic enlists the help of several resistance fighters in New Yoke City (the parallel world), and unwittingly finds himself flung into several other worlds as a consequence.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Sonic Prime is supposedly due to have 24 episodes but only 8 of them are actually on Netflix. The end of episode 8 literally ends right in the middle of a conflict, and there’s no mention on Netflix’s UI that this is part 1. It’s worth noting this because kids and adults alike jumping into the show and becoming enthralled by the action may find themselves confused and questioning this abrupt end.
The animation is pretty good all round though and the characters do resemble their videogame counterparts too. Sonic’s banter is similar to that seen in the latest feature movies, while seeing the alternate versions of all these characters through the multiverse works to get the creative juices going – and they’re brought to life beautifully with some great dubbing.
Despite all of that though, Sonic Prime doesn’t quite do enough to stand out next to so many other shows and movies in the Sonic world. The narrative is okay but given multiversal journeys are all the rage right now, it doesn’t feel all that original. This a nice distraction all the same though, and it’s really kids who are likely to be the ones to get the most out of this.
Verdict - 7/10