Sonic, Tails and Knuckles have adopted an animated, cel-shaded look and are bringing back fast-paced, side-scrolling action in this gameplay trailer of Sonic Runners.

Sonic has unraveled the athletic tape, ditched the scarf and returned to the form we remember him most in Sonic Runners. Knuckles has apparently quit the roids and shrunk down to his normal size as well. Sonic Runners features the speedy gameplay we were hoping to expect from the likes of the Sonic Boom series. While this trailer is in Japanese, "Sonicuuu, Tailsuuu and Knucklesuuuu" are back and ready to hit the iOS and Android formats. Apparently the Ciao critters introduced back in Sonic Adventure are back, and they look playable during some portions of the video. You can't have Sonic without Eggman, so Dr. Robotnik is there to wreak havoc on the Blue Blur and his friends.

Since Sega is downsizing its work on high end console releases and focusing on digital and mobile titles, it's no surprise that Sonic is leading the company's ventures onto the smartphone format. Of course, this has us worried, as the chili dog-loving hedgehog has always had a home on home consoles since 1991. We hope that the Sonic squad won't be destined to small smartphone games. At the same time, Sega certainly has to take a step back from the franchise and decide how Sonic should recuperate from his lackluster entries over the past decade and regain his rings.

Sonic Runners is expected to debut soon in Japan whereas its Western release is expected to happen this spring. The game will be free-to-play, but as you can tell by the provided gameplay trailer, there will definitely be micro-transactions and freemium content involved.