This game is both what the Sonic franchise needed and what it didn't need all in one package.

What it needed: 2steps forward
A reboot on the console front.  Lets face it all the previous Sonic games on the consoles were not real Sonic games. They had sonic on them. But thats like Mario Party isn't a real Mario game.  He's just there.  However when nintendo made New Super Mario Bros they did it right mixing the right amount of old school gameplay and new innovations, like the small mushroom, blue shell, and a few other things here and there.

Sonic 4 similarly does the same in taking it back to old school side scrolling fun trying to speed through the stages.... However thats where it comes to a disappointing STOP.

What it did NOT need: 4steps back
Was the bare bones game play of the very first sonic game.  That is all you have here.  Sonic himself running around. Jumps and spin dashes.  Yeah he has the homing attack but that is such an old ability its hardly worth considering new or innovative.

What happened to all the things that made the GBA games so great or the Sonic Rush games on the DS??? Sonic can't grind anymore, perform tricks. or have that power meter with which he could do powerful burst of speed!!  SEGA would have been better off simply porting those games over to the online stores of the consoles.  Any true sonic fan knows that in the past years the place to get your Sonic fix was on the handhelds.  Sega's attempt to bring that home is in vain.

Even in the last DS title you could play as sonic or that purple catgirl which offered a distincly different approach to playing the stages but still fun... You could try to blast through the stages in your fastest time with sonic or find the opportunities to score high amounts of points with catgirls tricks.

Sorry for the huge comparisons but when a franchise like Sonic The Hedgehog as been going downhill since the dreamcast days on home consoles you gotta compare how this is going to hold up to past titles. While the simplicity is still fun and arguably better than the Werehog from a recent title the game simply disappoints if you look at the handhelds which were made in recent years yet less known for being handheld games.

Its great their putting the effort in making console version Sonic games good again. But they need to get whatever team it was that made the GBA and DS titles to make the next episodes.

Nostalgia is good. But they should still be trying to move the franchise forward. 2 steps in the right directions but 2 steps back in execution.