These baddies fly by rotating the wings that jut from their sides like a propeller. That said, fly is all they do. Seeing as how they don't attack, they're actually kind of cute. — Description, Sonic Unleashed
The Spinners' overall resembles bats, but their design has been rather inconsistent. In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, the Spinners have a hemisphere-shaped purple head with pointy yellow ears and menacing black and cyan eyes with white sclera. Below their head they have a conical frustum-shaped gray body, and on the bottom of it they have two cylinder-shape attachments. On the bottom and the upper edge of their body they have a line of black and yellow hazard stripes. Between their head and body, the Spinners have a pair of giant hook-like blades spinning around them like a helicopter rotor.
In Sonic Unleashed, the Spinners received a noticeable redesign. In this game, their entire body is orb-shaped with purple still being their dominant color. They have yellow drill-like ears, empty cyan eyes and a row of cyan lights on the front, resembling a mouth. Around the middle of their body, they have a yellow ring with a transparent cyan semicircle (reminiscent of wings) attached on a purple point on each side.
In Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, the Spinners received a merge of their earlier designs. While their upper head and wings resemble those in Sonic Unleashed, their lower body look like they did in Sonic Adventure. Other changed details include their ears which look more like they did in Sonic Adventure, their cyan eyes have black pupils and sclera, their mouths are white, their wings are now solid and are colored purple, white and cyan, and they lack the hazard stripes.
In Sonic Lost World, the Spinners look more like they did in Sonic Unleashed in overall shape, but have more realistic ears, non-transparent wings, cylinders on the bottom of their body, and big, cartoon-like eyes.
In gameplay, the Spinners' attack patterns differs between one another, depending on the situation: some stays in one place, others fly around in circles, and some others will move towards the player once they spot them. When attacking a Spinner, the player has to hit the Spinner either from above or below, as hitting them where their blades are spinning will damage the player. In Sonic's scenario, the player can use the Spinners to access hidden areas or paths by using the Homing Attack to skip across them (like stepping stones).
Sonic Advance series
The Spinners reappeared in both Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3. In these game, the Spinners look almost identical to how they looked in Sonic Adventure, except that they have bigger wings.
In Sonic Advance 2, the Spinners appear only in Egg Utopia, while in Sonic Advance 3 they appear in Route 99, Ocean Base and Chaos Angel. In the gameplay of these games, the Spinners remain stationary in one place in mid-air where they spin their blades. Like in Sonic Adventure, the Spinners can only be successfully damaged on the top or bottom, and attacking them head-on where their blades are spinning will damage the player.
In Sonic Unleashed the Spinners are some of the most common enemies in the game and can be encountered in nearly all the game's daytime Action Stages/Stages. In gameplay, the Spinners are virtually harmless, as they only hover in mid-air and have no attack patterns, though the player can still take damage from them by touching their spinning blades. Instead, they primarily serve as stepping stones which the player can use to cross grabs and reach alternate paths by skipping across them using the Homing Attack. In some chases, when a Spinner is destroyed, another one will appear to take its place.
In both the the Wii and Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors, this enemy is once again referred to as the Spinner (スピナ,Spina?). In this game, the Spinners received a new redesign, which resembles a hybrid of both their Sonic Adventure and Sonic Unleashed designs.
In Sonic Colors, the Spinners are once again one of the more common enemies encountered in the game. In gameplay, they have the same behavior and attacks patterns as they had in Sonic Unleashed. They also reprise their role as stepping stones for the player to cross to reach other paths by using the Homing Attack on them in a chain. They are also very useful for advancing upwards in the 2D side-scrolling sections of the Acts.
The Spinners reappeared in both the console/PC version and Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, where they are again referred to as Spinners. In this game, they feature the same design they had in Sonic Colors.
In the console/PC version, the Spinners appear in Speed Highway, Seaside Hill and Rooftop Run. On the Nintendo 3DS version, however, they only appear in Tropical Resort. Like in Sonic Colors, the Spinners in this game have the same behavior and attack patterns as they had in Sonic Unleashed. Also, on the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, a statue of a Spinner will appear in the secret Statue Room if the player enters the right code.
Sonic Jump series
The Spinners appeared again in the 2012 version of Sonic Jump and Sonic Jump Fever. In this game, they behave in the same way as they did in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors. Like all the other enemies in the game, the Spinners can only be destroyed from below. They can be encountered in Blue Sky Zone.
Sonic Lost World
The Spinners reappeared exclusively in the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Lost World. In this game, they have a design resembling the one they had in Sonic Unleashed, but with a more cartoon-like look. During the events of the game, the Spinners and the other Badniks got hijacked by the Deadly Six when Eggman lost control over the group.
In Sonic Lost World, the Spinners can be encountered in both Windy Hill and Desert Ruins. In gameplay, they display the same behavior and attack patterns they had in Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, and again mainly serve as stepping stones for the player to cross gabs by using the Homing Attack on them in a chain.
In Sonic Runners, Spinners are one the most common enemies in the speed type characters' stages. In this game, their pattern varies, either hovering stationary or flying back and forth, and are placed either separately or in groups. Unlike in previous games, their spinning blades don't regularly hurt the player.
Spinners in Sonic Runners come in three types. In addiction to the regular Spinners, there are golden ones which grant 300 more points when defeated, and black ones called Super Spinners which only Color Powers and power type characters can defeat. All variations contain Animals inside them.
Powers and abilities
The Spinners have the ability to fly in midair by rotating their wings like propellers. They are also able to use their wings as blades to slash their opponents.
The Metal Spinner is a Spinner clad in steel armor, making it virtually indestructible. They appear in Sonic Colors.
These type of Spinners are composed of the material that prisms are made of and have a sharp point on their bottom. These type of Spinners periodically disappears and can function as a regular prism when using the Cyan Laser on them. They only appear in the Nintendo DS version of Sonic Colors.