Sonic Lost World greatly deviates from the previous 3d sonic formula, ditching the high speed, boost oriented gameplay, for a greater balance between speed and platforming, which I can say certainly works well, moving the sonic series in a positive direction.
Sonic Lost World Begins with our spiky blue hero, Sonic the Hedgehog and his sidekick tails, giving chase to the evil dr Eggman (or Robotnik if you prefer), as he is up to his usual nefarious self, abducting innocent woodland creatures to use as an energy source to power his badniks in an attempt at building a robotic army to bring him one step closer to world domination. After an unsuccessful attempt at freeing the helpless animals, sonic crash lands on a mysterious new planet, dubbed the lost hex which is split up into multiple segments, featuring a frozen winter wonder land, a tropical beach etc. after venturing though the green hill style windy hill zone, sonic eventually meets up with a new, literally deadly threat, that go by the name of the deadly six, who after being freed from Eggman’s control , proceed to swear vengeance on Eggman and the rest of the planet for their temporary imprisonment; through turning Eggman’s robots against him with their mysterious mechanical controlling prowess. The story won’t wow you, coming off as the standard, “bad guys want to take over the world”, but it is aimed towards a younger audience, as it’s more reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon, but it does a good enough job to hold the game together! Now with the story out of the way, let’s get to the meat this review, the gameplay!
Sonic lost World introduces a drastic change to sonic’s control scheme, since he will now no longer speed forward like the majority of sonic colours, and modern generations, but instead requires the use of the R button to reach higher speeds. Although it may seem odd at first glance to limit the blue blur’s signature feature, it all becomes clear as you venture through the more platform dense stages, which better compliments sonic’s ability to take his speed down a notch. Sonic still has his homing attack, which now targets multiple enemies when sonic gets close enough, enabling you to take out a bunch of enemies in a single homing attack, as opposed to tapping the button multiple times like in previous entries. This can have its downside, as sonic may sometimes target far off enemies that you never intended to attack, but it works for the most part. Exclusive to the 3ds version, sonic can initiate a somersault "wave attack" when in the air and locked on, which can be used to stun certain enemies, and Is even required to take out some enemies completely, making you think more about the means of approaching the situation, as opposed to the standard “homing attack it if it moves!”, and when not locked on can use a bounce attack, much like the ability granted by the bounce bracelet of sonic adventure 2, allowing you to attack enemies, whilst simultaneously reaching higher ground to continue onwards.
The final and most noted change about sonic’s movement is the introduction of his new parkour ability, which allows him to scale walls in order to gain horizontal or vertical distance depending on the situation, in which a wall jump can be activated by a simple tap of the jump button allowing sonic to maintain his speed. It is also accompanied by a spin dash move, which can be used once per wall allowing sonic to regain any lost speed. In my opinion, the introduction of this mechanic Is a smart way of adding a new dimension to the game, since it allows for different routes to be taken, alongside allowing more skillful players to smartly maneuver their way across the map to avoid enemies that would otherwise hinder your progress. It can also act as a means of creating shortcuts so you can swiftly speed through the stage, which really separates the beginners from the more skilled players.
Throughout the game, you will travel across 7 diverse zones each with very aesthetically pleasing environments, complete with bright vibrant colours, with stages such as a tropical beach and an arid desert just to name a few, each complete with 3 acts and a boss stage (there are also special stages exclusive to the 3ds version, where you can collect chaos emeralds through using the 3ds’ gyroscope controls, meaning you will be moving the 3ds all around (and in my case having your friends walk in on you while spinning around, making you look like a right lunatic!)). Some of the stages feature short puzzles which are vital to progress to the next area, such as pushing snowballs to fill in holes, or using the new and returning wisp abilities to move about, which can sometimes slow down the pace but doesn't usually last for too long. If you're finding the game too difficult, there's a "hold your hand" type feature if you die enough times, where you'll get an item that will help you through the stage, such as invincibility or a flying hover craft! You can also create those said items and more in Tail's workshop which can be accessed via the overworld, in exchange for the materials found after completing a stage; these can then be activated during stages via a simple touch of the 3DS' touchscreen, making it quick and easy.
Throughout the series, sonic has been well known for its spectacular music, and this installment is no exception! The music is fantastic, catchy, and fits the theme of the stage well in more cases than not, further adding to the joy of the experience.
Although I believe sonic lost world has a multitude of positives, the game still has its faults such as, very underwhelming, boss battles, which can usually be completed in a few minutes (if that) and present little to no challenge. The controls may also take a bit of time to get used to, as they don’t feel nearly as sharp as the Wii U version’s controls, which might cause a few problems earlier on when trying to perform parkour, and other intricate platforming techniques (although believe me, the controls are fully functional and feel great once you master them). Some levels can also grind you to a near complete halt, with some confining you to a small room until you to take out X amount of enemies before it lets you move on, or even in some instances where the use of a particular wisp is essential to move on, where it may result in making awkward jumps to far off platforms (looking at you asteroid wisp), both of which I consider to be more of a pace killer than anything else. While it is more than clear that the previously canned sonic game “Sonic X-Treme”, was a source of great inspiration for lost world (regardless of how many times some of the developers say they’ve never heard of it) alongside some of the stage designs in the sonic adventure 2’s space themed levels, it is undeniable that some concepts were taken from Mario galaxy, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can end up feeling too familiar at times!
Positives and Negatives summary:
All in all, without giving away any spoilers, Sonic Lost World is a very enjoyable game, which has a great balance between speed and platforming with some key positives including:
+ Great use of the R button to adjust Sonic's speed
+ Parkour system allows for greater exploration
+ Still very fast gameplay when using all of Sonic's abilities
+ Wisp abilities are well integrated into the gameplay (for the most part)
+ Online multiplayer racing, battle mode and time attack adds to the replay value
+ Nice colourful in game graphics, alongside once again spectacular music
But still has its faults such as:
- Easy, Underwhelming Boss battles
-May take a while to get used to the controls (Feels a bit slippery compared to the wii U)
-Stages not as diverse as the Wii U version, and sometimes lacking in layout
-Some mechanics feel directly taken from Mario Galaxy
-Some levels can really slow down the gameplay grinding you to a near halt
After seeing so many negative reviews, I kept having that "am I playing the same game that they're talking about" feeling, and felt that I had to give this game the credit it's due. I can say that this is a fantastic Sonic game although dissapointing in some areas, with a game style that I would like to see more of in the future, albeit more finely tuned; and is a great addition to anyone's 3ds game library!
My overall score 8/10 uh… gold rings
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