There have been a lot of Sonic the Hedgehog games since the franchise began in 1991. Even if you only want to play the main series games in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, it can be difficult to know how to play them in order. However, this quick guide will provide a simple list of all the main line Sonic the Hedgehog games in order of release, including where and how you can play them.
A List to Play All the Main Line Sonic the Hedgehog Games in Order
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Sonic the Hedgehog CD
- Sonic the Hedgehog 3
- Sonic and Knuckles
These five games make up the main line entries in the 2D Sega Genesis era of Sonic the Hedgehog. The easiest way to play all of them nowadays is through re-releases like the recent Sonic Origins collection. It’s got some issues, but in general it’s good enough and can be modded to be better.
- Sonic Adventure
- Sonic Adventure 2
The two 3D Dreamcast Sonic the Hedgehog games are easily bought on PC via Steam in their enhanced editions. Unfortunately, if you want to play them on console, your most recent port option requires breaking out the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
- Sonic Heroes
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- Sonic and the Secret Rings
- Sonic Unleashed
- Sonic and the Black Knight
This is the dark age of Sonic in terms of re-releases, if you are hoping to play every main line game on this list in order. All of these games are technically still available as physical copies for their respective systems, which span a wide array of consoles. However, finding a copy might be inconvenient, and there are no modern ports of any of these games. At least Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Unleashed can be bought digitally for PS3 and Xbox 360.
- Sonic Colors
- Sonic Generations
- Sonic Lost World
These games are all easily available via PC. Sonic Colors also got a so-so 2021 remaster called Sonic Colors: Ultimate for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. However, Generations and Lost World haven’t been re-released on consoles, leaving them stuck on older systems, namely, 360 and PS3 for Generations and Wii U for Lost World.
- Sonic Forces
- Sonic Frontiers
These two are the most recent main line Sonic the Hedgehog entries and are available for modern consoles physically and digitally.
Other Sonic Games Worth a Mention
By focusing on how to play “main line” games in order, this list leaves off some terrific Sonic the Hedgehog platformers. What gives? Well, for this list I included games made by Sonic Team or Sonic Team USA that weren’t obviously spinoffs.
With that in mind, Ancient and Aspect’s 8-bit Sega Master System and Game Gear games were excluded. Shadow the Hedgehog is also excluded since, although it was made by Sonic Team USA and includes a lot of Sonic mechanics, it was made specifically to appeal to an older audience and feels more like a spinoff.
On the other hand, this list excludes all the games made by Dimps, even the ones supported by Sonic Team, because they’re kind of their own little series. Sonic Advance 1, 2, and 3 on Game Boy Advance and Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure on Nintendo DS are all good games, but they don’t feel like main series games and aren’t made by Sonic Team.
Lastly, Sonic Mania is a fantastic 2017 2D Sonic game that revives the mechanics and iconography of the original Genesis games, but it’s made by a completely separate team.
None of this is to say these aren’t Sonic games — just that they aren’t main line games.
That concludes our list for how to play all of the main line Sonic the Hedgehog games in order!