With the announcement of the ‘Sega Forever’ program, the house that Sonic built has been releasing classic games from their library, for free, on phones.
Initially there were problems with frame rates, cloud saves, and the advertising part of ‘ad-supported’ was a little overwhelming. Thankfully, Sega updated the games, fixed the frame rate in many cases, and the advertising is…still pretty annoying. But what do you expect for free, right?
Thus, presented for your consumption are the best free Sega games available on phones (and a list of the rest, too).
1. Crazy Taxi
The only thing you need to know about Crazy Taxi on iOS is that it holds up. It’s still as colorful, silly, exciting, and insane as it was at your local arcade, movie theater, or pizza place – but in your pocket.
If you’ve never played before, Crazy Taxi is an over-the-top taxi simulator where you take passengers from one location to another as quickly as possible as time ticks down. The faster you go, more jumps you hit, and chaos you cause, the better your score.
Control is solid, and the game remains a delight and a late-era Sega classic.
2. Sonic CD and Sonic The Hedgehog
What more can be said about Sonic The Hedgehog? The iconic blue rodent has graced countless screens in countless games of varying quality; from pinball to racing to the Olympic games, and through it all Mr. Sonic has endured.
And you can experience the days that made him such an enduring figure. Both Sonic The Hedgehog, and Sonic CD are available on iOS – for free.
Sonic The Hedgehog is an absolute classic, introducing the world to the notion of rings, chaos emeralds, and Dr. Robotnik. The speed of the game is matched by some light puzzle solving and jumping puzzles that slow things down in a way not typically associated with Sonic.
Sonic CD, on the other hand, is a bit of a trip. Each level features a ‘past’ and ‘future’ iteration that you can only access by meeting certain speed requirements in certain areas.
Both are must-play classics.
3. Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star II is regarded as an all-time RPG classic. One of the first games to focus on an epic storyline that tackled themes of genetic tampering and human greed (among others), it was a forbearer to RPGs that used social commentary to engage players in its plot.
Clocking in at around 30 hours for a play through, the length of the game may seem intimidating for phone players, but for the price of free it’s absolutely worth checking out to see if it might be worth playing on a platform better suited to long-term play.
4. Comix Zone
Comix Zone is a tough-as-nails side-scrolling beat-em-up taking place inside of a superhero comic. Celebrated for its unique premise, environmental interaction, and astounding graphics and animation – Comix Zone has earned a reputation as a cult classic.
Why cult? The game is tough-as-nails. You’re constantly losing health, enemies take multiple hits to fall, and a player needs to be focused and patient in order to progress, because you will die…a lot.
The issue of control can pose a problem on iOS, as Comix Zone does not suffer fools lightly, and it could be considered quite fool hearty to attack this game without a controller.
If Comix Zone is a cult classic, Ristar was a nearly forgotten one. Developed by the legendary team that gave us the Sonic The Hedgehog series, Ristar was a departure from the typical speed gameplay, instead focusing on directional movements – like some something out of a primitive Spiderman game.
Released in 1995, Ristar came out after the N64, Playstation, and Sega Saturn made their debut – and 3D graphics were all the rage. As a result, the game faded into relative obscurity until recently where it was championed as ahead-of-its-time.
6. Golden Axe
When it came out, Golden Axe must have felt like a dream come true for Dungeons and Dragons players, and fans of couch co-op alike. With glorious graphics, magic spells, upgrades, and distinct characters that all felt different to play, the Golden Axe series became a fan favorite on the Sega Genesis.
And now it has the chance to become one on mobile, as it’s the most recent Sega Forever release – and the reviews are positive. As the Sega Forever program has continued, it’s interesting to note how the sentiment has shifted to positive so quickly.
Whereas the initial releases were plagued with bugs and hiccups (and their appstore rating shows it) Golden Axe, released August 31st, has quite a bit of positive energy, review wise – though the lack of co-op gameplay is moderately devastating.