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Sonic Lost World Review

  • First Released Oct 29, 2013
  • Reviewed Oct 18, 2013
  • WIIU

A lost cause.

I vividly remember finally nabbing that final star in Mario Galaxy 2. It had taken weeks of planning the perfect route, and timing each and every button press to guide Mario across that agonising collection of spinning platforms and deathly gravity traps. In a way, it was an oddly torturous experience, but--for that feeling of elation upon reaching the glorious golden star--an entirely worthy one. Sonic Lost World so desperately wants to capture that feeling. The trouble is, where Galaxy presented its more difficult challenges only to those who actively chose to pursue them, Lost World bombards you with arduous platforming trials at every turn.

The first level, for example, is a take on the classic Green Hill zones of past Sonic games. Long grass-covered cylinders and floating planetoids are home to complex spring arrangements and rolling spiked balls that leave just the tiniest of gaps for you to squeeze through. Then there are the enemies--some heavily armoured, others camouflaged onto walls--that lie directly in the path of speed boosters and at the end of long spring-aided jumps. It's all the inordinately tricky platforming of Galaxy without any of the gentle trials needed to ease you into it.

No Caption Provided

That's odd considering this is a game that shamelessly lifts ideas from its plumber-fronted rival. Each of its levels are filled with the same free-floating islands and gravity-based trickery that made Galaxy such a success, and even includes those super tricky tunnels and half-pipes that slide you along at a pace while you nudge into rings and avoid deadly spikes. Frozen Factory throws slippery surfaces into the mix, with one wrong move hurtling Sonic off into space, while Tropical Coast throws you into a lush tropical environment filled with some familiar-looking planetoids. Even the boss battles are similar, with one fireball-dodging session an almost like-for-like replica of Mario's Bowser battle atop a small planet.

This is a game that shamelessly lifts ideas from its plumber-fronted rival.

Lost World's copying isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, if you're going to take ideas from anywhere, it might as well be from Galaxy. Sometimes this approach works. You might have to use gravity to guide a giant apple into a mincer on a small planetoid, carefully avoiding enemy fire before leaping into the stream of juice to catapult to another area. Or, you might have to deftly guide a Sonic snowball around a series of intricate platforms, much like the levels in Galaxy where you manoeuvre Mario atop a giant ball.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time Lost World lacks its rival's finesse. Sonic's raw speed sits uncomfortably alongside the gravity-based platforming, making it far too easy to suddenly leap off into oblivion. And while you can at least slow Sonic down to a more sedate pace, his overly twitchy movement makes it tricky to land on certain platforms, or perform the precise movements needed to nab one of the many red coins hidden amongst a level. Plus, a loose sense of depth means it's difficult to jump precisely onto switches to free trapped critters, and line up jumps, making the already difficult levels more taxing.

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Lost World's own ideas often fall flat too. Rings placed alluringly up the sides of walls can be reached with a spot of parkour, but its implementation is clumsy. All too often I found myself cursing at the screen as Sonic failed to leap smoothly from a platform to a wall-run and frustratingly plunged to his death in endless space. The wisp powers of Sonic Colors, such as drill, which lets you burrow through the ground to collect extra rings, and rocket, which lets you jet off to distant planetoids by aiming with the motion sensor, make a return, but they're more of an amusing aside than an integral part of Sonic's arsenal.

Then there are the new powers, such as eagle, which uses the motion sensor to fly Sonic through the air, but does so erratically, with an imprecision that makes collecting the bonus rings it puts tantalizingly within reach a nightmare. Each power is time limited too, and in the case of eagle, if you drift off course because of the frustrating motion controls, you're dropped off the planet to your death. Again.

Lost World fares better in its 2D sections, where some of the classic Sonic platforming magic makes an appearance. Zipping Sonic through loop-the-loops and smashing badniks to free the cutesy animals trapped within is great fun, with the depth and control niggles far less of an issue here. And while the challenges aren't all that imaginative--avoiding falling blocks and navigating banks of bouncy springs--they're way more enjoyable than the frustrating mishmash of speed and exploration found in the 3D sections. Unfortunately, here too a misjudged level of difficulty stifles progress; I defy anyone not to develop an unhealthy hatred of the all-seeing owl that unleashes an insta-death flurry of bats when you wander into its evil, gazing spotlights.

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The fact that these moments are thrown into the main story arc is baffling and immensely frustrating too. At least you're not missing much when it comes to the story, which plays out like a Saturday-morning kids' show, complete with grating 90210 voice acting and a gross overuse of the word "bro." Plus, while it's not going to win any awards for its art style, Lost World's colourful visuals are easy on the eye, and even raise a smile or two during its more esoteric moments, with the candy-based platforms of Desert Ruin being a particular highlight.

Sonic Lost World desperately wants to be Mario Galaxy, but in overtly coveting the great Italian plumber, it smothers the talents of its blazing blue hedgehog.

If you opt for the 3DS version of Lost World don't expect a dramatically different, or better experience: both the story and zones are the same. There are some redesigned levels to accommodate the 3DS version's simplified powers (reminiscent of the shield-based power-ups from Sonic 3), but the same design, control, and difficulty issues remain.

That some inoffensive visuals and a few fun 2D sections are the highlights of a largely 3D game is telling. Sonic Lost World desperately wants to be Mario Galaxy, but in overtly coveting the great Italian plumber, it smothers the talents of its blazing blue hedgehog. There were moments when I thought it might all come together, when Sonic's fun, if slightly erratic, speed would be matched to levels that were intelligently designed to make the most of it. There were some brief glimpses of that, but for the most part, Sonic Lost World is confused and derivative, and tries far too hard to be clever without any clever design to back it up.

Back To Top
The Good
2D sections are nostalgic fun
The Bad
Wildly derivative of Mario Galaxy
Painfully difficult levels as part of the main story arc
Way too much "dude bro" in the cutscenes
Often inaccurate handling makes it all the more tricky
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mark spent much of his youth chasing down Chaos Emeralds, just so he could turn a blue hedgehog yellow. He also considers Sonic & Knuckles' lock-on cartridge gaming's greatest technological achievement.
563 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for DARREN636

Oh sonic team.

A lament.

Oh blue blur of coin collecting wonder.

Where did you go?

Absent since 92'

2 dimensional whirligig.

Bouncing, spinning, jumping, running.

Defeater of dr robotnik. RETURN!


If you can hear me, my faithful mascot, REMEMBER MY NAME. Because we loved you then. And we will again.

One day.

Avatar image for YouEnjoyMyFluff

Game does not look very good

Avatar image for fluffy_puppy666

>Way too much "dude bro" in the cutscenes


Avatar image for deactivated-581dd8ca87cd8

@fluffy_puppy666 he must be an old man to think that way too much "dude bro" is a flaw of the game

Avatar image for RichardLG

I've played the game and it's not shit gravy at least. Wouldn't buy it at full price. I don't get the comparison to Mario Galaxy so much since it's like Ratchet and Clank that came before it. Mario did it better though, but even the controls in Mario Galaxy piss me off sometimes. Mario's storyline is pretty much throw-away too. I would give the game probably a 6.5 or 7.0. If you haven't played Colors or Generations I'd pick up one of those instead for cheap until this drops down to maybe $30. Also I think it's funny that Gamespot writes blurbs about the reviewers who give these longtime franchise games low scores to let us all know that they enjoyed the series as children. As if that's going to help justify the score or make anyone reading feel like they're connected in some way. Everyone enjoys Sonic as a child. Children will enjoy this game more than me likely. No offense, but Sonic's lock on cart the greatest technological achievement in gaming? I don't know if that's him being a try-hard hipster gamer or just being funny but it made me laugh either way. If he doesn't like the game that's fine, I'll accept his number rating. 5 is the new 6-7 anyway so he's about right to me. All Sonic games should have the option to turn off voices too. I'd rather read it than listen to that. Anyway, it's not a bad game, just not a particularly great game. At $50, may as well get Mario 3D World if you want a great Wii U 3d platformer.

Avatar image for klonoa53

The run down:

Only a handful of good levels

Wall running transitions are fun

Color powers are shit

Expectations set high then shot down

Good Story, Funny scenes, beautiful environment, good voice acting.

Would recommend? NO. Watch someone else play it or barrow it from some sap.

Avatar image for VenkmanPHD

...Why can't I find the 3DS review? WTF...

Avatar image for deactivated-581dd8ca87cd8

@VenkmanPHD I reviewed the 3DS version myself if you wanna see it. Here's the link to it:

Avatar image for saverain

@VenkmanPHD Don't know but I really hope they do. I would be disappointed.

Avatar image for Wingus-T-Dingus

The learning curve when it comes to the controls of this game initially had me frustrated. Then I eventually sorted it out. Once you figure out how to effectively use the spin dash the game really opens up. My main knock of the game is the colour powers. They just do not need to exist in this game. Aside from the drill they all really break up the games flow.

This game is not a 10 but it's definitely not a 5 either. 8

Avatar image for Fate_00

It doesn't take a fanboy to acknowledge a good game.

Avatar image for deactivated-581dd8ca87cd8

@Fate_00 True. Even people who aren't fans of certain franchises can enjoy the games. Also, fans of franchises can say that certain game were bad or average too

Avatar image for Fate_00

For a game that:

1) Has challenging designed levels (the way it should be / was).

2) A supporting story that shows/reveals more about the characters that we know have done some crazy things.

3) An 'enticing' re-playability factor that should remain in games like Sonic and etc.

4) Beautiful worlds, aesthetically -- accommodating the fitting musical themes. \

5) Natural U-Gamepad features, and an on-the-side, co-op feature. As well as Online (competitive) leader boards.

6) Smooth, 60 Frames Per Second, for such fast paced gameplay.

7) Although the mechanics are new, like all games, you get used to them! And they add a sense of strategy, instead just 'driving' through at blazing speeds blindly. What we're talking about, a racing game? haha

All for $49.99, EXCLUSIVELY on the U (and only on the U), sounds amazing to me. Content fits the price, to me.

Avatar image for Teufelhund84

This game is great. Not the masterpiece I was hoping for but it's still worth picking up if you can throw around the cash. Nintendo and its third party partners need to release more demos for games they want to see succeed.

Avatar image for likelakers2

Eep, even I haven't played the game, and I can still tell Mark here is just trying to bring any point he can to knock this down to a bad review.

"Wildly derivative of Mario Galaxy." While I will admit this is true you yourself said that sometimes said borrowing isn't always a bad thing. But you never pointed out what exactly was good borrowing and what was bad borrowing.

"Painfully difficult levels as part of the main story arc." You want painfully difficult levels? Go back to the NES era, Mark. You're relying WAY too much on the game handholding you throughout it.

"Way too much 'dude bro' in the cutscenes." It's Sonic's style. Ever heard of consistency?

"Often inaccurate handling makes it all the more tricky." I was watching your video review, and even if I hadn't watched cobanermani456's Lets Play of this, I could still tell that either you were having trouble controlling your own arms, or that you were intentionally trying to make it look like it had bad controls. (You want to fake bad controls, you shoulda rendered that video review at 30FPS instead.)

Avatar image for kbaily

I hate being one of "those" Sonic fans who screams bias when bad reviews come out but I was at Walmart and they had the demo out and I honestly don't see the issue. This game dropped the "boost to win" game play of games like Unleashed in favor of more platforming like Colors. Go back and play Sonic 1. It's not all fast all the time. The biggest adjustment is getting used to Sonic having a "run" button and as someone who loved Sonic Colors, while it's nice to see the wisps back, I do feel like they were brought back just because. Some complain it's too similar to Mario Galaxy but I'd rather Sonic copy Mario then go back to bad anime furry melodrama and horrid gimmicks (werehogs, swords, guns, annoying friends) of the past. I've long accepted that Sonic will never return to his greatness of the Genesis days. At least he's still around and Sega's at least trying to make the series good again rather than remove him entirely (like Crash Bandicoot) or repurpose him into something else (Spyro). Also Sonic fans complaining this is "too kiddy" Sonic, like Pokémon and Mario is and has ALWAYS been for kids. Doesn't mean you can't enjoy it but enough of your Sonic Adventure nostalgia already. Those stories had their share of bad writing and plot holes too.

Avatar image for xspboy06x

There is... so much wrong with everything you said here...

Avatar image for razzle0227

@Cheddarchet @chieflion This one has far better cameras and controls than SA2. I liked SA2 (I collected the 180 signs), but this one is far better in my opinion, and is a mix between Megadrive and Dreamcast ones.

Avatar image for razzle0227

@MooncalfReviews @jacksamuk It's not poor controls, it's just not well explained (lacking tutorials and explanations for the Parkour moves and Whisps). But when you know it, you master it in ten seconds.

Avatar image for razzle0227

I think this is one of the best Sonic of all times (I mastered every
Sonic game released, even the 2006 and Kinect ones) in the Wii U version
(the 3DS version is behind, but not very far), and I think the mixed reviews came from the harsh learning curve (hell, I suppose reviewers don't have enough time to 100 percent finish their games, EDGE is mistaking buttons A and B in its review hahaha). It feels clunky and complicated at first and it lacks tutorials (especially for the Parkour moves), but when mastered, damned ! It's the Sonic game I enjoyed the most for S-ranking all the levels in time trial and collecting the Red Rings, and levels like Frozen Factory that disgusted you in the first run is VERY fun to rush when understood (somewhat like Sandopolis in Sonic3Knuckles).
I think the main problem of this game is that it had been thought for gamers that will S-rank the game, but it forgot the beginners on the side of the road.

I really want that Sonic fans tell SEGA that the reviews are shitty and didn't understand the gameplay for the most part, it deserves a sequel or at least recognition.
It reminds me of reviews of Smash Bros 1 and Melee that said it was a confusing and messy game, or Wonderful 101 the same way hahaha

He didn't even mentionned the "third level of speed", the infinite spindash :D
The level design appears random when you're playing as a Mario Game, but is brillant when you rush for Rank S (i.e., spin dash ain't working on ice or green sticky ground, you try to avoid it)

Avatar image for deactivated-581dd8ca87cd8

@razzle0227 You are a master at Sonic games if you mastered Sonic 06!!!

Avatar image for xspboy06x

Huh. I must be a master of everything Sonic, then. Because I mastered Sonic 06 more times than I can count. Collected every silver medal and everything, at least once on both consoles. Played several copies of it, at friends' houses and at a couple parties. Nailed it down.

-_- It's so time to let go of the Sonic 06 nonsense now.

Avatar image for razzle0227

@mariokarthero @razzle0227 Hahaha,2006 was more a "dodge-the-bugs" game than anything else :p it's the St-Anger of the series, you see what they were trying but it failed.
Sonic Lost World is more like "..And Justice For All", complicated at first but better play fater play.

Avatar image for Wingus-T-Dingus

@razzle0227 Hilariously awesome comparison!

Avatar image for LiveandLedZep

I wonder how many of these fan boys would be defending the game and calling the reviewer crap at games if it didn't have Sonic in the title

Avatar image for laladidoa

@LiveandLedZep It it didn't have Sonic in the title, the score wouldn't have been so low in the first place.

Avatar image for deactivated-581dd8ca87cd8

@LiveandLedZep None

Avatar image for LiveandLedZep

@toddx77 @MooncalfReviews That's the point he was making

Avatar image for AQWBlaZer91


Avatar image for uncha1n3d

I thought Sonic Generations was a great game. I dont know how they could screw this one up so bad when taking so many ideas and concepts from Mario Galaxy

Avatar image for flameon12346

I like how some people can respectfully disagree with his opinion. It really shows, how muture you people are.

Avatar image for BradBurns

I don't really like the tone that a lot of reviewers have. Especially this one.

Why do they always have this strangely condescending tone towards the game for its Galaxy inspirations?

You guys do know that Nintendo published this game in some regions themselves? It's only natural that it would have some Nintendo influences.

It could even be seen as a homage to Nintendo. Why the insults?

It's basically a Nintendo game.

Avatar image for razzle0227

@BradBurns Baby Mario in Yoshi's Island has a "Sonic" feeling :D

Avatar image for luffy_d

@MooncalfReviews @jacksamuk That is simply not true. The reviews are all over the place! Famitsu game it a 36/40 (4 reviewers each gave it a 9), Destructoid game it a 7.5, praising it's controls and it's level design. In fact, every bad review I have seen of this game really does seem to come from one of two factors:

1- The reviewer said that it wasn't fast enough;

2- The reviewer didn't like the control and did NOT try to learn them.

Really, the most fair review I have seen of this game is the one from Jim Sterling on Destructoid. And man is he a hard men to please. xD

Go read it, it really does a much better job at reviewing the game then those so called review at Gamespot and IGN....

Avatar image for MooncalfReviews

Hard game on purpose = great game.
Hard game by accident, due to poor controls or tediousness = bad game.

Look at 80% of the other reviews for this game on other sites and you'll see which of those this game is. Sonic fanboys are the worst.

Avatar image for xspboy06x

Problem is, "poor controls and tediousness" is a matter of opinion.

And no, hard games aren't always "great". They tend to drive people away, after a certain point, actually.

Not to say challenge is a bad thing. But that's a separate issue from being "hard".

Avatar image for laladidoa

@MooncalfReviews You forgot one:

Hard game because the reviewer doesn't know the controls = Shitty review.

That's what this and 80% of the other reviews for this game are.

Avatar image for razzle0227

@MooncalfReviews I played the game, I bet you don't.
This game is easily one-lifeable if you play it correctly. In fact, it's even easy to speedrun !

Avatar image for BradBurns


That's a fair statement, but you better not be fanboy yourself (judging from your avatar).

The sheer irony might kill you.

Avatar image for toddx77

@MooncalfReviews To be fair though a game that is hard because it was made that way is different then a game that is hard because of bad controls. Games like Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, and Catherine (minus some camera angles) all have good control so the difficulty comes from the game itself. If bad controls and equal a good hard game then Sonic 06 would be up there with Dark Souls lol.

Avatar image for luffy_d

@MooncalfReviews Can you honestly say by looking at the video review that when he dies it is because of the game and not his poor talent as a player? It almost looks like he TRIES to die on purpose only to prove his point....

Avatar image for MooncalfReviews


Give it a rest. Everyone gave this game a low score, because it's crap and has poor controls. The difficulty is only a negative because of the poor controls, and it has many other faults.

Avatar image for jacksamuk

@Zevvion Have you played the game already? Do we really know if its that difficult? I wanna try, back then the games had poor design like you said , but were challenging , which made you stay for hours in front of the TV. I was grown in that era, so I can't help to love a "Difficult" Game.


Avatar image for Dogswithguns

I might get a Wii U just for the Lost World..

Avatar image for jacksamuk

Seems that the " Professional Video Game Journalist" needs to practice a little more. He has died too much in the game.

His lack of ability in the game resulted in his frustrated actions, leading to the complaint about the difficulty.

Go play some other game and leave out the difficulty for those who are born for it !
Avatar image for Zevvion

@jacksamuk You're full of yourself. There is a clear distinction between a fair, challenging difficulty like Ninja Gaiden and Dark Souls have done, and a game that is difficult to play due to poor design. Don't try to put this on him.

Avatar image for obsequies

all the blue and green reminds me of samsung

Avatar image for Elann2008

Looks fun. Don't care about reviews.

Avatar image for chieflion

remember that sick ass sonic game when there were chaos emeralds and u could play as kunuckles and that shadow bastard and travel planets and fight your friends.

make that again and ill play sonic


Avatar image for Cheddarchet

@chieflion Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, literally the only reason I got into Sonic. The one with the Chaos (little blue dudes you could raise). They should try making another Sonic game with similar style, agreed...

Sonic: Lost World More Info

  • First Released Oct 29, 2013
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • Wii U
    Sonic Lost World sees Sonic partner with Dr. Eggman to take on six menacing creatures known as the Deadly Six.
    Average Rating83 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Sonic: Lost World
    Developed by:
    Dimps Corporation, Sonic Team
    Published by:
    3D, Platformer, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Mild Cartoon Violence