Sega is in full force this week at their Sega Arcade across the street from the San Diego Comic Con. Fans are lining up to play the latest, upcoming Sega titles. Hatsune Miku is drawing a surprisingly huge crowd. Of course, there is no bigger Sega icon than Sonic the Hedgehog and he was there in full force. There’s a giant statue of him in front of the arcade that can’t be missed, a normal-sized statue for taking pictures with and the main Hedgehog himself posing with fans. You can even get a Sonic chili dog out front!
But of course, the biggest attraction for Sonic fans is Sonic Lost World. The E3 demo is available to the public for the first time and folks playing seem delighted. However, Alex and I got a special treat as Aaron Webber came by to show us a “behind closed doors” demo with a brand new level, “Frozen Factory” which… is once again another fake out level name and it is neither frozen, nor a factory. Well, it might be a factory come to think of it. Keep reading for more details on the level and what improvements have been made to the original demo.
When Aaron first fired the demo up, it was automatically known what level this was. By all means Frozen Factory (Act 1 I believe) is a total homage to Casino Night Zone from Sonic 2 including some jazzy music that reminds me a lot of the pinball section in Sonic Adventure. It even steals parts of Sonic 2’s pinball sections. In fact, it kinda feels like Sonic is running around behind the scenes of the original level. The first thing we notice is that there are lasers zip-zapping across from the sides of the wall making a high speed run through this section a little tricky as your path is now narrowed. Get too close to the sides and it’s “ZAP!” for Sonic. Further down, the path forks and you can collect poker chip-like tokens. This is very different from collecting rings as the chips are collected to open pinball sections later in the game, but as you collect the chips they stay floating behind you and start to cover your vision.
By all means Frozen Factory is a total homage to Casino Night Zone
The gamble pays off (casino pun not intended) and Sonic drops his chips into a hole that then drops us into a pinball section. Here, it’s once again similar to Sonic 2. Even the design of the stage looks almost identical. Here, you’re flipping Sonic around the pinball table to hit the bumpers and collect enough points to unlock an exit. Once Sonic gets enough rings, he can go through an upper exit for a short cut or just drop below for a different path. Our new path opened up to more of those tricky lasers, giant wheels that seem to betaken off the pinball machines (with images of clissic Sonic, Tails and Eggman imprinted on them) and some Eggpawns to smash. However, the middle one wasn’t having it and was only really vulnerable from behind. Lucky for us, he was prone to turning his back around for a proper butt-kicking. From there, it was onto the end of the stage and some freed little birdies and piggies.
After the initial level demo, Aaron showed us what has been improved and tweaked in some of the other stages. Windy Hill Act 1 now has the standard tutorial spots in the level. However, it is made much less cumbersome by having the info show up on the gamepad itself. This means less text blocking your way and no Omachao bugging you. Also, the laser power now has about a one second freeze at the end of it so you can get your bearings. The only other new tweak added was that Desert Ruins Act 1 now has an extra “s” attached just above it as if it’s a correction. A small but humorous touch.
So what did I think of Frozen Factory? Well, I’m not sure how I feel. There are plenty of unique touches to the level that haven’t been seen before such as the lasers and those chips building up to block your view, but it seems much more straight forward than the island-hopping Windy Hill. That’s not to say there aren’t any branching paths as there were plenty there, it’s just that feeling of full 3-D exploration isn’t that great as that level. That’s probably my own hang-up. Windy Hill wowed me so much that I keep using it as a marker for the other levels. In a way, I guess isn’t really fair as every one of them has been it’s own unique experience and frankly, that’s the best thing I can say about Sonic Lost World. Not only does it play really well, but every level I’ve come across feels different and unique from the one I’ve played before and that kind of variety is a great thing.
Sonic Lost World will be available on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS on October 22nd.Ad: