Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice Stars An Empowered Party of Five

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Now Playing: Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice - E3 2016 Trailer

Given the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise’s rocky output these last two decades, it’s become all the easier to appreciate the few times when the series has been more than serviceable, whether it’s Sonic Generations or Sonic Colors. And the next game, Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice shows some promise in spite of the negative reception of the two prior games in this spin-off series.

The game’s subtitle is related to the polarity gameplay component, which is new to the series. Similar to critically acclaimed games like Outland and Ikaruga, specific areas of Fire and Ice can only be traversed by infusing Sonic with one of the two titular elements. It’s to either complement or counter an incoming obstacle, whether it’s to freeze a blob of water into a frozen platform or to conversely melt a similar cube to create a passage. All the while, you’re engaging in familiar Sonic traversal challenges and addressing those hurdles with his spin dash, rope swings, varying speeds, and an enemy-homing air dash attack.

And as with prior Sonic Booms, you’ll have access to the unique skills of his friends including Tails, Knuckles, and Sticks, all of whom are unlockable fairly early. New to this side series is Amy, who is adept with a hammer, useful against Fire and Ice’s many frozen barriers.

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If you haven’t touched the prior Sonic Booms, consider it a blessing as you don’t need to have done so to play Fire and Ice. While acknowledging the shortcomings of, a Sega spokesperson was optimistic about Fire and Ice’s back to basics design working in conjunction with the new elemental mechanic. Expect each level to maintain a sense of focus while also presenting worthwhile opportunities for exploration.

Moreover, the special abilities of each supporting character create replay opportunities as their talents open parts of levels that Sonic can’t access. Adding to Fire and Ice’s replay potential is an endless runner minigame, which is unsurprising given Sega’s success with Sonic Dash on mobile. Another notable improvement to this latest Sonic Boom installment is the effort made to build a stronger connection to its TV counterpart.

Unlike the previous game, Fire and Ice is voiced by the program’s voice cast as they recite lines that are more in tune with the tone and spirit of the show. And while the evolving character designs of Sonic and his buddies has long since been a divisive topic, its of some comfort that the cast’s proportions will be more faithful to the Sonic Boom show.

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