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Review: Sonic Spinball - You Spin Me Right Round

Review: Sonic Spinball - You Spin Me Right Round

January 27, 2011


Sonic Spinball is another in the long line of Sega iOS ports. Many of these ports have been less than stellar, so does this port of a 1993 Genesis game buck this trend?


Sonic Spinball features the entire original version of the game, but no added features of any kind.

The Good

Sonic Spinball was a radical departure for the Sonic series. Rather than the traditional Sonic run and jump gameplay, Spinball had Sonic acting as a pinball in a giant pinball machine, purportedly Dr Robotbik’s new pinball defence system. Right. Along the way you’ll find plenty of stock pinball elements, such as ramps, targets, warpholes and so on. The game also has enemies and bosses thrown into the mix, creating an odd hybrid of gaming styles. This port lives up to the original better than most other ports. The controls are fine and the game looks and sounds exactly like the original.

The Bad

Spinball mainly suffers from the fact that the original game was an average cash-in on the Sonic name. The original game had lousy controls, poorly thought-out tables and unfair deaths. It was rarely, if ever fun, because of the mind numbingly repetitive gameplay and lack of variety. There were far better Sonic games to port than this dull mess. While SS looks fine, it runs very slowly. The whole game feels like it's taking place underwater and seemingly easy tasks take forever to complete because you are moving so slowly. This is particularly bad when you’re running and jumping in traditional platformer fashion, as Sonic controls like a fridge sliding on a greased floor. SS has exactly the same control layout as every other Sega port on the system, but thankfully this style of game is not affected much by the giant on screen buttons, or your fingers getting in the way. SS is just as unforgiving as the original was. This game is quite hard and it resets all your progress every time you die, which is very irritating. Enemies are placed in exactly the right spot to repeatedly block shots at ramps and pipes and it’s all too easy to spend 5 minutes trying to shoot a ramp. Flipper physics also seem quite off and some ramps seem to be placed purposely to kill you when you exit them.

The Verdict

Sonic Spinball is a very average port of a forgettable game. If you loved Spinball back in the day, this port is good enough to relive the glory, but if you never played the original, you’d be much better off with Sonic 4.

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