In a shot heard around the world, Sonic the Hedgehog was murdered last week. The blue blur was found twisted and bloody in the dining car of the Mirage Express, his shocked expression mercifully masked by a jauntily placed sailor's hat. It all took place in The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog, a Sega-made visual novel that was—despite its tragic and unconscionable subject matter—something of an April Fool's gag.
Well the joke goes on, because The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog is now the highest-rated Sonic game on Steam. In fact, it's the 62nd highest-rated game on the entire platform (it was briefly 61st), and has netted itself over a million downloads since its release last week.
Over 1,000,000 of you have grabbed The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog and it's currently the #61 highest rated game on Steam of ALL TIME.Absolutely unreal. Thank you all so, so much. 💙 pic.twitter.com/Cy2cIo2AHlApril 5, 2023
The game is sitting pretty with over 11,000 Steam user reviews at time of writing, 98% of which are positive. That puts it ahead of fan favourites like Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Collection (94% positive with over 10,000 reviews), Sonic Frontiers (94% with over 13,000), and Sonic Mania (93% with over 18,000).
It's pretty funny that Sega's best-received Sonic game in years is a jokey, Poirot-esque visual novel about the main character's brutal assassination (though whether Sonic is truly dead is a mystery you'll have to resolve for yourself), but it makes sense. The game is genuinely funny, and its writing goes far beyond what you'd generally expect of a quick April Fools' gag.
Plus, I defy anyone to say that they didn't do a double-take when a game titled "The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog" manifested on Steam with full Sega branding, and the fact that it's totally free meant our curiosity was easily sated. It's a quality product with a great hook, so no wonder it's won people over.
God willing, this will encourage Sega to pour effort into a new game in this mould. Let me investigate Tails for tax fraud, Sega, you just know that little guy is fiddling the figures somewhere along the line.
I have to wonder how Sega feels about its top-rated Sonic game being fundamentally a joke, and one that centres around its iconic mascot's murder, no less. There could be some mixed feelings there, but when it comes down to it, I imagine the company is just happy for Sonic to be getting so much positive buzz.