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The Virtual Hedgehog's appearance is near identical to Sonic’s, with several additions in robotic features. In Sonic Colors, it has a red antenna sticking out of its head, no pupils, and its eyes glow according to its color. It wears white gloves and identical replicas of Sonic's shoes. A metal covering encases its upper torso, and it has a circular light on each hand and its chest (that too depended on the color). Instead of Sonic's white folded cuffs, it has a gray metal ring on each of its ankles and wrists.
The color of the Virtual Hedgehog's eyes and the lights on its chest and hands vary; it depends on the color of the robot:
Blue: Cyan eyes and bulbs.
Red: Yellow eyes and bulbs.
Pink: Purple eyes and bulbs.
Green: Orange eyes and bulbs.
Black: Light blue eyes and bulbs.
In Sonic Lost World, the Virtual Hedgehog looks exactly like Sonic, save for its antennae and varying colors. The sphere of its antenna is now larger, and is now pink rather than red. It has white cuffs on its gloves and shoes instead of metal rings, and the lights on its hands and chest, as well as the metal covering around its upper body, are absent. Across both the HD and Nintendo 3DS versions, the Virtual Hedgehog comes in three different colors; green, red, or cyan. The Virtual Hedgehog's eyes are always the same color as its body.
In the Wii version of Sonic Colors and it remaster Sonic Colors: Ultimate, the Virtual Hedgehog appears as a playable character along with the Mii in Eggman's Sonic Simulator, located in Game Land. In the 1-Player and 1.5-Player modes, two Virtual Hedgehogs can swap roles by using the Assist move. In 2-Player mode, another player can choose to play as a Virtual Hedgehog or a Mii, allowing the pair to cooperatively complete a level. They can also merge both their currently held Color Powers to execute a simultaneous Combined Form with varying effects.
As a robotic replica of Sonic, the Virtual Hedgehog's abilities are near equivalent to Sonic's. It can run at speeds as fast as Sonic's average, as well as jump to exceptional heights. The Virtual Hedgehog is also quite powerful, able to send enemies and crates flying with swift Boosts, Homing Attacks, and Flying Kicks. While it is unknown if the Virtual Hedgehog can swim, it can surface above water through successive jumps.
The Virtual Hedgehog can also team up with another Virtual Hedgehog or a Mii to use the Assist, where one of the two enters a levitational Spin Attack while the other returns to their regular physical form. In its spinning state, the Virtual Hedgehog hovers in place, following behind the other Virtual Hedgehog or Mii until the Assist is used once more.
By harnessing different variants of Hyper-go-on from Wisps, the Virtual Hedgehog can use specific Color Powers to transform into a certain form, such as a drill, a laser or even a fireball, each one possessing its own unique abilities. It can also join Color Powers with a Mii or another Virtual Hedgehog, resulting in a Combined Form with the effects of both. However, these transformations require a steady supply of Hyper-go-on to be maintained.
While the Virtual Hedgehogs do not normally appear in the PC version of Sonic Lost World due to the removal of multiplayer, they can still be played by re-enabling multiplayer mode through hacking.
When using a Color Power in Sonic Colors, the Virtual Hedgehog stays the same color as its dominant color, unlike Sonic who changes into the Wisp's Color. The hedgehogs, though there are not super forms of themselves, will instead transform into the usual Super Sonic, being able to break any blocks without Wisps; in some stages however, would be impossible to complete as a certain Wisp is required to advance a certain situation. The emerald icon, and an unknown bonus bar are also un-textured.
In Sonic Colors and the Wii U version of Sonic Lost World, each Virtual Hedgehog's Heads-Up-Display Elements vary in color depending on the color of the hedgehog. Example being the Homing Attack indicator which varies between blue/cyan, red/yellow, pink/purple, green/orange and black/blue instead of the default red color scheme in the game's main Zones when in control of Sonic.