Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog are some of the most iconic video game characters from across the globe. As someone who grew up predominantly playing Sonic games, I have only recently started to explore the world of Mario. This got me thinking, which franchise produces the best games? Both make games that are visually appealing with fun soundtracks, but which game is really worth your money?
In terms of popularity, Mario certainly seems to be favoured over Sonic. I have always wondered why this may be and it was only a few weeks ago, when I revisited some of my childhood sonic games, such as Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations, that it finally made sense.
Firstly, the storylines of both games utterly confused me and I was not entirely sure what the aim of either game really was. However, in what is a huge contradiction, I also felt that too much time was dedicated to the telling of these overcomplicated storylines. For me personally, I would much rather just get to the actual gameplay, which is a benefit of Mario.
Another key point that struck me was how difficult certain Sonic games actually can be! Considering they are targeted primarily towards children, both games managed to thwart me and my father, who is no stranger to video games. It soon dawned on me that in all the years I have owned Sonic Unleashed, I had never actually made it past level one because it was much harder than any other game I owned. Likewise, I have found this same problem with Sonic Rush, which I have had for many years on my trusty old Nintendo DS. Even now as an adult, I still have yet to see all the levels and different areas that these games have to offer, which is disappointing because it would be great to experience all the zones and characters.
This leads me to one of the beauties of Mario games, their simplicity. Whilst you may have to replay some moments a few times to retrieve every item you want, it is not often you struggle to actually reach the end of a level. These games are easy to follow and accessible to all ages, which I feel is a key factor as to why they are more enjoyable to play than the sometimes frustrating Sonic games. Nintendo appears to have mastered making both 2D and 3D Mario games. Both are equally fun and their truly iconic games, such as Mario Kart, are yet to be defeated by a Sonic rival.
In spite of my complaints regarding some of the more modern, 3D Sonic games, I feel that older Sonic games are classics that cannot be ignored. There is something that is still so exciting about hearing the word “Sega” as your screen loads, as well as the music from Green Hill Zone. In my opinion, the best of the newer Sonic games are the games which revisit their predecessors, such as Sonic Mania and Sonic Generations. These have essentially reconstructed zones, such as the Chemical Plant Zone, so that players can experience them in a more modern way and play in 3D.
Overall, I would argue that Mario is rightfully more popular. Whilst Mario games can be more costly, they are exciting and have not lost their charm over the years. The same cannot be said for Sonic games. I am a big fan of games such as Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario 3D World and ultimately, would much rather pick them up than a 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game (despite the iconic blue hedgehog once being a favourite of mine). Mario games have remained consistently as engaging and visually pleasing, which is what I would argue enables them to trump Sonic in most cases. Mario for the win.