Sonic 4 Episode 1: It's Sonic On Your iPhone

Having a real hedgehog in your pocket would be uncomfortable. Thankfully, the first episode of the long-awaited Sonic 4 is now available, letting you spin, dash and spin-dash your way across some heart-warmingly familiar levels.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, the first of four instalments, has four zones, each with three acts and a boss. After mashing on that d-pad all those years back, the virtual controls take a little bit of getting used to, and sometimes I found that I had to be pretty deliberate about, say, sliding my thumb over to move Sonic mid-jump. Generally, though, things are just as you remember them - familiar levels, familiar music, familiar hectic Sonic action - aside from a new jump attack that locks onto targets when you're in mid-air and a new, kinda nauseating flourish of rotating the camera when you're going through a loop.

The app is universal, so iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads all get the love (update: deceived by iTunes - doesn't run natively on iPad yet), and TouchArcade says it holds up pretty well on older devices. It'd be nice to see Retina Display support, of course, but what I yearn for even more is an online leaderboard to see how my Time Attack times stand up against others. Probably not very well.

Sonic 4 is downloadable with some extra levels for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, and the iOS version is live in the App Store now for $13, so get to it. [iTunes]