Sonic The Hedgehog fans are currently enjoying a cute, miniature version of Shadow The Hedgehog that was recently added to KartRider Rush+. Sonic and his colorful cast of friends and rivals have made many crossover appearances in games like Minecraft and Super Smash Bros. over the years, and publisher Nexon’s free-to-play mobile-based kart racer is the latest to join that list earlier this week on the heels of the worldwide release of the live-action Sonic The Hedgehog 2. This DLC content consists of micro-sized versions of Sonic, Miles “Tails” Prower, Knuckles The Echidna, Dr. Eggman, and Shadow The Hedgehog.
The last name on this list should be readily familiar to longtime Sonic fans, as Shadow The Hedgehog was first introduced to the world of SEGA’s hyper-fast mascot in 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2 as a dark rival to the Blue Blur. Created by esteemed scientist Professor Gerald Robotnik (Dr. Eggman’s grandfather) aboard the Space Colony Ark, Shadow was awakened by Eggman during Sonic Adventure 2 to help defeat Sonic and conquer the world. Initially seeking revenge on humanity for the tragic death of his best friend Maria, Shadow eventually realized that he was meant to help protect the world and became a valuable (albeit uneasy) ally to Sonic and his friends. Since his original debut, Shadow has become a fan favorite and has made several appearances in later Sonic The Hedgehog games.
Fans have begun to see Shadow The Hedgehog in a brand new light thanks to his appearance as a playable character in KartRider Rush+, which renders the typically fierce anthropomorphic hedgehog in a cute chibi form that players have already dubbed “Baby Shadow.” According to The Gamer, fans are already flooding social media with memes and fanart of this adorable-yet-brooding creature, such as Twitter user HRM_ly07‘s colorful rendering of Baby Shadow grumpily strolling alongside floating stars and SapphireDHarris comparing him to the Mini Keanu Reeves meme from Cyberpunk 2077.
Aside from his arrival in KartRider Rush+ and his triumphant return to the silver screen in Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic is having an exciting year in 2022. Fresh off the celebration of Sonic The Hedgehog’s 30th anniversary in 2021, SEGA has announced two major Sonic games for release later this year. The first is Sonic Origins, a remastered collection of several classic 2D Sonic games that will blast onto current-gen systems on June 23 – though many feel that the game’s pre-order options leave much to be desired. The second is Sonic Frontiers, a brand-new 3D title that will see the Blue Blur race across a visually impressive open world and feature new mechanics like fast-paced combat styles. SEGA has promised that Frontiers will take the Sonic franchise in a bold new direction, and series mainstays like comic book writer Ian Flynn and legendary Sonic composer Jun Senoue are returning to lend their talents to Sonic’s latest adventure.
Only time will tell if Shadow The Hedgehog will appear once more in Sonic Frontiers, but his miniature incarnation from KartRider Rush+ is certainly putting the anthropomorphic antihero back into the spotlight. Shadow’s “baby” form brings to mind the equally adorable Baby Sonic from the 2020 Sonic The Hedgehog movie – though Shadow likely isn’t as happy-go-lucky as his blue-tinged counterpart even as a cute infant. All the same, players who don’t wish to spend the hefty sticker price for Shadow The Hedgehog’s DLC character in KartRider Rush+ can still enjoy the large amount of fan art and memes this micro-sized hedgehog has already generated.