Pity poor Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy is basically the Dallas Cowboys of the video game world: after gaining almost universal appeal in the 90s, his victories over the last few years have been few and fleeting. But SEGA isn't giving up on its blue mascot, if only because he's probably the only marketable franchise that isn't a Kickstarter campaign or a hyper-sexualized murder machine. So here we are, with a new Sonic game that sees one of the most iconic platforming stars in the world... aping mobile endless runners.
To be fair, Sonic as an endless runner makes a lot of sense, and Sonic Runners (a bit on the nose, ain't it?) does a good job blending the genre's standard single-tap controls with classic Sonic elements. You play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles (and Amy, and some of the post-Saturn weirdos) as they fly through procedural stages based on classic game levels. The simple graphics are 3D while the gameplay is 2D, and the visual style and speed are appealing. Tight controls and regular boss fights with Doctor Robotnik help keep things fresh.
Sonic Runners has been available on iOS and in a few international markets before, but now it should be worldwide on the Play Store. The game is a free download with the usual in-app purchases for currency (the premium "RSR"), but the basic endless gameplay doesn't really require any extras. Unfortunately the initial Android releases have given Sonic Runners very poor reviews due to crashing and compatibility issues, and some users are having trouble with server authentication even today.