I imagine Sonic Labyrinth got a really bad rap when it released on the Game Gear all those years ago, and I can only think it was warranted. However, this release comes with an emulator that allows you to get rid of the image blur that was so pervasive on the Game Gear. For me, that one difference turned the gamed into a wasted failure to a redeemed little curio. It's true it still has the mind-boggingly bad design to use the Sonic IP in a game where the main character walks at the speed of a turtle and only gets fast if you make him bounce off things like a ping-pong ball, on a system where such movement would clearly render the screen a blurry mess of pixels. |
However, because you can actually see what is going on in the 3DS version, if you ignore the fact that the Sonic character is utterly inappropriate for this game, this is an addictive action puzzler that is pretty much extinct these days. This game right at the end of an era where game design was more about design interesting rules to make clever games that reflected the virtues of the most popular real-life games. So in several areas, actually, Sonic Labyrinth is way more impressive than a modern game.
The controls are very tricky and a little unsatisfying -- they could be better, but this is partially what makes the game compelling. Modern game design tells us our character should never be as hard or as tricky to get a grasp on as Sonic's slow-as-molasses-while-walking, but demonic-virtually-uncontrollable-pinball-of-doom when spinning. Getting good at the game and solving the increasingly clever stage designs is a real eye opener. You begin to realize just how much games may have lost by falling over themselves to be easy to understand these days.
Playing and doing well in this game was a great deal more fun than what I would consider by today's standards better-designed downloadable action puzzlers. This will probably put me in quite a few people's taste shit list, but I like this game way more than the very similar Marble Madness.
So my recommendation of late is Sonic Labyrinth, especially if you loved games like Solomon's Key, Equinox or the Megadrive game The Immortal.