Review: Sonic Lost World
Sonic and his group of friends return to the big screen once again, this time is vibrant HD. But so too is Dr. Eggman with some new friends, the Deadly Six, who are standing between Sonic and peace. With this new Sonic title bringing the blue hedgehog to Nintendo’s next generation console, there is a lot to ask whether Sonic can handle the new setting or will he put his running shoes to rest?
Sonic: Lost World is the next step in the franchise which features Sonic and his team being displayed in beautiful HD. A lot is changing in this new title, from the level designs being a whole new layout plus themes ranging from an ice field, a beach, casino and a pinball design which all look great and show off all the great detail that has been put into Sonic: Lost World. The new there is also a tip of the hat to the classic Sonic Green Hill style levels. With lots of new content and things to explore, there is around eight hours of gameplay to spring, jump and roll through.
Along with new looks Sonic: Lost World also comes with new ways of getting through levels, like gadgets. An example includes a radio controlled gadget that help you to destroy enemies and obstacles. These gadgets come with friendly controls that are smooth and give a sleek feel to exploring all these new levels. They can also be swapped and changed between the 3DS version and vice versa.
The main thing that draws you into a Sonic game is the speed. Buzzing up hills, around corners and flying over gaps and obstacles but in this instance it seems Sonic has decided calm down and take is easy. His speed is not a patch as in the past, his running pace is painstakingly slow, sprinting is still not as fast as in previous titles and jumping is frustrating and if you fail in a jump, whatever speed you have built up is wiped out and stops you in your tracks. In a platform game is it important to give a sense of rhythm but when you are held back and stopped at every turn it does get irritating. When things are so slow in the gameplay it is then pretty odd to watch cutscenes showing Sonic to be racing around as fast as ever, leaving me with a bit of speed envy. When it seems that it couldn’t get any slower the secondary lock-on attacks prove you wrong by yet again, stopping all your built up speed and forces you to stop and start at every enemy.
There are a few new introductions like the 3D level design which is beautiful and forces you to think of your feet with hedges, groups of enemies and drop offs that will have you on your tip toes till the end. New level designs means a whole lot of opportunities to explore different routes and short cuts. Plus Sonic has discovered a new love for wall running; there is some fun in running from floor to walls to avoid enemies or obstacles but is very annoying when you are trying to jump over something and Sonic flies to the nearest wall like there are magnets in his shoes.
The new level designs are sometimes slick and let you create a rhythm but others are bumpy and throw obstacles at you left, right and centre. I can not tell you how many times I died because of a wrong button or momentary loss of concentration, however the Frozen Factory level is straight from hell. It is basically five minutes of sliding around in a giant snow ball with less than co-operative controls. Normally Sonic games are straight forward with a simple goal but Sonic: Lost World tries to make you think with sneaky attacks but just ends up feeling like a plea for appreciation. During the game, the GamePad also feels a little useless as the main gameplay is on the TV screen but now and again there is a mini game that involves the Game Pad but overall just feels forced. This game is more suited to the Wii U Pro Controller but it would have still been good to have the GamePad more involved in a fun, useful way. Though the 3D levels provide a slow setting but still feels fun, the 2D levels also suffer from the same, slowed down system.
As if the speed weren’t a big enough issue, the boss fights give them a run for their money. It took me 4o seconds to get past the first member of the Deadly Six and not much more for the rest as well. After each fight I felt let down because each boss lacked the ability to make you want to beat them and give you a challenge as bosses are supposed to do.
The best thing about Sonic: Lost World is the beautifully realised graphics. From the word go it is nothing but bright, colourful and sleek views of the area. If there is anything that disappoints you about this game it will not be the stunning picture. The frame rate is locked at 60fps to make the game move with fluidity and feel smooth. The 3D levels are stunning, providing contrast between bushes, sheep, water and anything you come across on your mission. But the 2D levels are not at the same level, mostly they feel flat and lacking the depth needed to round things off.
To sum up
Even though Sonic: Lost World is fun to play on your own or with a friend but there is just too much going against it with the lack of speed expected in a Sonic game. The unreliable controls and sloppy layout just bring the game down from being what is could have been. The one saving grace was the beautiful graphics.
Sonic: Lost World is out now on Wii U and 3DS.