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pico sonic

General Information

The 8 Pico Emeralds have been scattered! Sonic arrives on Pico Island, ready to collect them all!

pico sonic is a partial demake of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 made with PICO-8. It features a simplified version of Angel Island Act 1 Part 1, with no enemies. Instead of the usual run to the goal, the objective is to collect all 8 pico emeralds by platforming around the level (you still have to pass the goal plate at the end).

Disclaimer for PICO-8 users: the game runs on a patched version of PICO-8 that doesn't have the original token count limitation. However, I do respect the (compressed) characters limit for each cartridge.



Download the game from the side bar on the right, or from the links below. I preserved the SAGE 2021 version and the additional patches I added starting August 30.


Latest (2021-08-30): v6.1
SAGE 2021 (2021-08-17): v6.0


Latest (2021-08-30): v6.1
SAGE 2021 (2021-08-17): v6.0


Latest (2021-08-30): v6.1
SAGE 2021 (2021-08-17): v6.0


You can play the latest web version on the page.


Controls are standard PICO-8 controls, i.e. you can play on a keyboard with the arrow keys, Z/C/N and X/V/M, or alternatively use a gamepad.


Move: Left/Right arrows
Crouch/Roll: Down arrow
Jump/Confirm: Z/C/N
Open/close pause menu: Enter


Move: D-pad left/right
Crouch/Roll: D-pad down
Jump/Confirm: Face button up/down (button Y or A on Xbox gamepad)
Open/close pause menu: Start

Notable differences with Sonic 3
  • Scale is close to 1:1, but Sonic is slightly smaller, relatively to the environment, than in the original game.
  • There are no enemies, hazards, rings nor item boxes. Rocks are not destructible.
  • Level gimmicks have been removed or replaced with static platforms. Some enemies and hazards have also been replaced with static obstacles.
  • Emeralds have been placed around the level. I changed level geometry a bit at places to make them harder to reach.
  • I implemented physics differently where I found it easier or more fitting.

I originally wanted to make a tech demo in Unity as a personal challenge, but I didn't manage to make the 2D physics work as I wanted. After deciding to go with custom physics, I rebooted the project on PICO-8, aiming at a full-fledged fan game. After 1 year and half of development, I switched to another PICO-8 project, but the incoming SAGE 2020 and a video of the Sonic 2.5 demo, also made with PICO-8, motivated me to finish the project, even if it meant reducing the scope to a single level. Except I missed the deadline for SAGE 2020, so here I am for SAGE 2021!

The project was started as a personal challenge and was meant to be a fully-fledged fan game, but I eventually dropped many features to focus on Sonic's main movements and the exploration of the stage. Consider it a technical demo with some exploration challenge.


Visual & Audio

Of course Sonic the Hedgehog 3, but also sprites from Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2, and the 8-bit games (Game Gear and Master System) which tend to have flatter sprites, easier to translate into PICO-8 (which uses a 128x128 resolution with 16 colors). The GBA sprites also helped as they are very clear-cut. And a little from Sonic CD/Mania.


More information available on the page.

Similar games

After releasing this fan game I found another one focused on collecting emeralds, Knuckles' Emerald Hunt Mania (SAGE 2020), itself inspired by MainMemory's Knuckles Emerald Hunt (also linked on that page). They play in classic/Mania levels but the concept is based on Sonic Adventure 1 & 2's emerald hunting with Knuckles.

Latest reviews

it's quite fun, especially finding the emeralds
A very simple but cute game! That would be such a complete game)


When I first saw this, I fought it was on the sega pico, but then again, there is no good sega pico emulator out there. Still, this is amazing for a pico-8 game!
It's amazing to think how for so many years of Sonic fangame history, nothing had even approximations of loop physics. And now here they are on a tiny little (fictional) console and they play smoothly as anything. Everything in this game dazzles with how well it works and nothing feels extraneous. Plus it's great to see Angel Island after a million Green Hills.
Plus it's great to see Angel Island after a million Green Hills.
Aha, I started with some Green Hill proto tiles () then noticed I had already downloaded Angel Island's spritesheet. I wanted to use Sonic 3 as the main reference as I wanted to add the latest mechanics like Shield special jumps at the time (until I hit code size limitations). In the meantime, I realized the sprites had a lot of depth and shading, so for the character in particular, I moved back to Sonic 1 and 2, with a few guest sprites here and there (like spring jump and braking).

I think I did play some fan games with good loop physics previously, I didn't check landing on ceiling and such, but if they followed the SPG + a bit of improvisation I wouldn't be surprised if they got it running. Once the walls and ceilings were OK, the hardest was to find the right place where to toggle collision between the two layers of the loop (entrance and exit). There are still some cases that might go wrong (if you spin dash from the lower part of the level at the end to go up and reach the final loop, you may hit it and it feels weird), but you can do funny things like jumping mid-way to try to gain some time.

UPDATE: wow, are you seeing a giant Tweet post inserted right between two brackets like me?
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This is really cool, but the spindash take-off sound effect is the *redacted* I've heard in years
Turns out due to some bug, my PICO-8 custom instruments were not working and the spin dash take-off SFX was actually pretty cute (very 8-bit) for a long time during dev. Then I fixed the custom instruments just before release, it became like that and I didn't have time to arrange it... I'll try to tone it down in a future release.
When I first saw this, I fought it was on the sega pico, but then again, there is no good sega pico emulator out there. Still, this is amazing for a pico-8 game!
Thanks! Yes, first thing I did was searching if somebody already made a demake like this (it was before bonevolt's Sonic 2.5 demo), you can imagine I found many pages about Sega Pico...

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