When Sonic Colors came on the scene in 2010, it was a breath of fresh air for the Sonic franchise which was getting quite stale at the time, and it broke the infamous “Sonic Cycle”. In 2011, Sonic Generations shattered it even further. Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed ran those pieces into dust and finally, Sonic Lost World sweeps up those pieces and dumps them in the trash. You need not worry about the Sonic franchise anymore. Sonic Team has learned from its past, listened to its fans, and has renewed the Sonic series into one you can trust to have great games even when they take risks and change the formula a bit and no game is more proof of that than Sonic Lost World.
While Sonic Lost World does take some elements from Mario Galaxy like floating islands with their own gravity, it still feels very much like its own game and still has that Sonic flavor. The first level I played through and the one that most describes what I said is Windy Hill. It’s basically the Green Hill Zone put through a pretzel twister and placed into the sky. This is a level where alternate paths can be seen everywhere and you just want to take them all at once. So many branching areas, so many secrets hidden everywhere. You can play this level ten times and still not see everything. There are literally parts of the level where you’re at the tip of an island and can run full circle seeing all the different paths that lie ahead. It’s exciting and makes me want to play it again and again.
While there are many new elements, many classic elements return too including Sonic’s animal friends! Flicky, Picky, Ricky, Inky, Blinkly, Pokey, and Clyde (Okay, I got carried away). Freeing them is not just done at the end of a level, their cages are all over the place and freeing them gives you bonuses and advantages for later levels which in turn gives you an incentive not only to want to look for them around a level (as you also would Red Rings), but destroy more Badniks which in turn, frees more of the critters. Speaking of Badniks, many of the classics return. Motobugs, Snails and even those..ant things from Sonic CD are here along with a few new ones that are adorably evil.
The graphics in Lost World are both simple and beautiful. The biggest problem many people had with Sonic Generations is that the levels were so detailed that important items such as enemies and rings would get lost in the detail. Not only that, it forced the game into 30 fps and that can feel sluggish at times. While having much more simple details, Sonic Lost World looks sharp, clean and runs at a beautiful 60 fps all while still having very attractive visuals.
The game gives you a better sense of control over other recent Sonic 3-D titles. Sonic starts off with a casual jog speed, but will amp up to a full run by just pressing down the RT button while pressing LT brings him into a full speed dash that he can use just as he did in the old days, but in a full 3-D environment. Jump control is way better too. Pressing the A button gives you both a jump and is the primary button for his homing attack, while pressing Y gives Sonic a kick while in mid air to defeat tougher enemies which would usually take more homing attack shots to beat. Don’t want to use homing attack too much and rely on your skill? Use the B button, which is jump only. The Y button also gives Sonic a stomp move if there are no enemies around. This can translate into a high leap if done 3 times fast I found out. Sonic’s never felt more controllable in the 3-D space. There are also several new elements of gameplay that serve as a welcome addition rather than hurt the series. Sonic’s new parkor move allows you to glide along walls “Prince of Persia” style, which can lead to new areas and secret times. Sonic can also grab a ledge that may normally be too high otherwise.
Desert Ruins act 2 is a full auto run through some giant honeycomb tree thing that was reminiscent of Knuckles Chaotix bonus stages
As far as the three demo levels go, I’ve already stated Windy Hill is definitely the best example of what this game does really well, with large lands in the sky and tons of branching paths. Desert Ruins act 1 is much more of a straightforward, 2-D level, but with plenty of skill-based jumping. I’m thankful that the truffle cannon could not be homing attacked as it took skill to climb them by hopping them. I actually got to the secret red ring Aaron couldn’t make on IGN and it was a real test of skill. Desert Ruins act 2 is a full auto run through some giant honeycomb tree thing that was reminiscent of Knuckles Chaotix bonus stages. One new move here is a homing attack string on a group of enemies by rapidly tapping the A button. This level was very tough to get through, but was a lot of fun. While those last two levels are very good, I want more levels like Windy Hill. It’s easy the best level in the entire demo.
This is the most excited I’ve been for a Sonic title since Colors. The game has less of a focus on speed and a stronger focus on skill-based platforming. You don’t have to be “cautiously enthusiastic” about Sonic anymore. After three great Sonic titles in a row, Sonic has fully returned to his glory days of the 90’s. Hell, this game felt better than the new Mario!
Sonic Lost World will be out this fall and I for one can’t wait.Ad: