The main menu, depicting Angel Island for Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
Sonic Origins is presented with an interactive world map that serves as the main menu, depicting 3D animated dioramas of South Island (Sonic 1), Never Lake (Sonic CD), West Side Island (Sonic 2), Angel Island (Sonic 3 & Knuckles), Mt. Mobius (Mission) and Flicky Island (Museum). All of the games in the collection can be played in different modes, with animated cutscenes displayed when starting and completing each game.
The games include additional bonus content, including content previously featured in their respective remasters from 2011 and 2013, including playing as extra characters, the addition of Hidden Palace Zone as a secret stage in Sonic 2, and numerous minor changes and bug fixes included throughout. Super transformations are given their own dedicated button for all games that feature them, allowing players to use character abilities without having to transform. Progress in all modes is automatically saved when passing Checkpoints and clearing levels.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are not treated as separate games in this collection, meaning users can only play the locked-on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 no longer needs to exist as a stand-alone product as Knuckles can be selected at the outset of Sonic 2 in Anniversary Mode, but Blue Sphere does exist, alongside an updated New Blue Spheres, which includes new sphere types previously seen in Sonic Mania and the intial mobile port pitch from 2014.
Sonic the Hedgehog played in Anniversary Mode.
In Anniversary Mode, the games run in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and the lives system and time limit have been removed, giving the player infinite lives. All instances where the player would normally earn an extra life will instead award the player a Coin, and instances that award Continues will award three Coins. Additionally, if the player fails a Special Stage, they are given the option of using one Coin to retry the Special Stage.
Tails is playable in all games, and Knuckles in all games except Sonic CD. Tails may also follow Knuckles as a partner in Sonic 2. Additionally, the Drop Dash from Sonic Mania is added to Sonic's moveset across the four games, though in most games the Drop Dash lacks unique animations and charges up a Spin Dash for one frame before releasing upon landing. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, the Drop Dash behaves exactly the same as in Sonic Mania.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 played in Classic Mode.
In Classic Mode, the games run in a 4:3 aspect ratio with the lives system and 10-minute time limit retained. The sides of the screen will be black, but decorative pillar-box borders can be added via DLC.
Character choices are restricted to those that were available in the original versions of the games (Sonic only in Sonic 1 and CD, Sonic and Tails in Sonic 2), though these restrictions can be circumvented using in-game cheats. Some extra features are still available, such as the Spin Dash for Sonic 1, Hidden Palace Zone for Sonic 2, and Tails assist for Sonic 2 and 3 & Knuckles.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD played in Boss Rush.
In this mode, the player fights the major bosses of a game sequentially as either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles. The player has a limited stock of three lives to defeat all the bosses, and only certain bosses will provide Rings before their respective fights. Completing the mode will award the player with 25 Coins and record their best time.
In Mirror Mode, all levels are mirrored, requiring the player to move left instead of right. This mode is unlocked by clearing the Classic, Anniversary or Story modes, but can be unlocked immediately via the Start Dash DLC. All other features in this mode are the same as in Anniversary Mode.
In this mode, accessible via the Missions menu, all four games are played sequentially in a chronological order. The respective title screens and menus of each game are skipped, and the player's character is restricted to Sonic for Sonic 1 and CD, and Sonic & Tails for Sonic 2 and 3 & Knuckles. All other features in this mode are the same as in Anniversary Mode.
In this mode, the player can play missions for each game in which they must complete specific objectives in altered level layouts. The player's performance is graded with a Rank that determines how many Coins they'll earn as a reward, with the possible payouts increasing based on the difficulty of each mission, and an additional 5 Coins for clearing a mission for the first time. Each of the payouts are listed below:
A Museum is also included in the collection with various content to unlock, such as music and artwork. Content in the "Normal Collection" is unlocked as the player progresses through each game, while content in the "Premium Collection" must be unlocked by spending Coins earned in other modes. The content available in the Museum includes:
Illustrations: Artwork in the Normal Collection includes character illustrations, box art scans, manual scans, 2017 promotional illustrations and cover scans for IDW Publishing's Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special, while the Premium Collection includes illustrations from Harmony, calendar illustrations, album covers and concept art.
Movies: The Normal Collection includes the animated cutscenes for Sonic Origins as well as all six episodes of Sonic Mania Adventures, while the Premium Collection includes animatics for Sonic Origins and Sonic Mania Adventures as well as clips from the Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony.
My Data & Ranking: Lists the player's best times for each game in Anniversary Mode, Classic Mode, Boss Rush and Mirror Mode, and allows the user to compare their best times on an online leaderboard.