The Blue Blur is back, this time exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U; let us welcome Sonic Lost World. In the 1990s, Sonic was introduced to the world by SEGA for the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis). ‘Sonic’ quickly become SEGA’s Mascot and went head to head with Nintendo’s Mascot, ‘Mario’. The rivalry between Fans of Nintendo and SEGA rapidly blew up with arguments over which is better, the Blue Blur ‘Sonic’ or the beautiful and enjoyable ‘Mario’. After many years, SEGA have been to the pits of hell and back, no longer creating consoles (we wish they did though) and Sonics transition from 2D to 3D has not been that perfect, with some appalling launches and only a few good releases, such as Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations to name a few of the very few.
Dr Eggman, aka Robonik, is back to his old tricks; trying to take over the world… sorry wrong cartoon again; capturing animal friends and its Sonic’s job is to free them. While chasing down Eggman, Tails and Sonic crash land on the Lost Hex, where the heroes learn that Eggman has harnessed the powers of the Deadly Six. While Sonic rushes in to defeat Eggman he kicks over the shell that was allowing Eggman to control the Deadly Six, and they are set loose. They take control of the Badnik army and its down to Sonic and Eggman to work together to defeat the them.
Sonic Lost Worlds should have been called Sonic Galaxy as Sonic Team have adopted the concept of its latest outing from the great Mario himself in Mario Galaxy, scrapping everything that defined Sonic’s 3D adventures. Lost worlds does its best to take the genre forward, but it fails and just takes two steps backwards, with poor mechanics, bed level design and the worst cut scenes we have seen in a long time. If you get the chance to play the Wii U version, you will see the nice HD cinematics. Imagine these being put into the washing machine, dried out in the tumble dryer on a very high heat (shrinkage comes to mind) and this is what’s happened with the 3DS version. They have compressed the video file beyond a joke; the video compression ratio that has been used is even lower than what the 3DS is capable of handling, fuzzy as hell, pixilated beyond belief, and they should have simply not bothered with it and left it out of the final game, or done what Sonic Team did for Sonic Generations.
“Cinematics that have been compressed beyond a joke, they are simply shocking”
We moved on then to the actual gameplay, and we were presently surprised. Taking control of the Blue Blur was a joy and the opening levels to the game were an absolute treat, as everything you loved about Mario Galaxy is there, beautiful and spherical. Even the Sonic sound effects seem to have had a next gen upgrade to the sound palette. One bugging issue when Sonic went 3D was the speed issues, where when going fast he handled great, but when going slow he handled pretty poorly.
Sonic now has two speeds; when using the analogue stick he goes at one speed, and when you press the right shoulder button Sonic goes into overdrive. This allows for very precise movement opportunities to tackle the fast reflex sections, as we know Sonic is all about platforming. What Sonic Team have also done with Lost Worlds is allowed you to explore each stage to find hidden objects. Also to make killing enemies faster there is an improved lock-on system that will target up to 3 enemies at once, which does work pretty well.
“I feel the Need for Speed”
We have an issue though. A Sonic game that expects you to explore? Is it us, or was Sonic was built for speed? The faster you complete the level the higher the score, and it’s the same for Lost Worlds, when you complete the stage very fast you will gain the achievement of course, but you also gain stones that can be spent within the in- game store. There are some advantages of exploring, for example finding the Red Ring will allow you to unlock additional content in the form of Bonus Stages. So we recommend this; before trying to get your speed run achievement explore and get the hidden items and open up the Special Stages, then you can go ahead and rip through the stage without any care in the world, just like Sonic should be.
Now don’t get us wrong, we rather enjoyed Sonic Colors, and the Color abilities which would allow Sonic to obtain some rather bizarre powers like turning Sonic into a Rocket. The Color Powers do feel more required on the 3DS version compared to the Wii U version, but are they really needed? We don’t think so. We think using this mechanic makes the game feel awkward, and having to use them through an entire section just feel like a cheat.
So Color Powers feel more like a cheat than an advantage, but what about the stages further into the game? Well it doesn’t get better. Gone are the fun starting levels of spinning, jumping and exploration; welcome to the tedious task of killing a number of enemies to progress further in the game, or one of the worse ideas ever conceived in a Sonic game; fending off attacks. It made us wonder what the hell Sonic Team and Nintendo were trying to do with this well-loved franchise. SEGA have already given us a great 3D version of Sonic with Sonic Generation, they know the formula that works, so why change so much? At least keep the formula relevant to what the franchise is all about.
“At least keep the formula relevant to what the franchise is all about.”
There is something else that might wind you up, something that the Wii U version does not have; ‘Special Stages’. Sonic is set adrift in space and you need to use the gyro system within the 3DS to control poor Sonic and collect a selection of colored balls. Now getting an Ace achievement does get easier over time, well more like when you get used to the system, but yet again another useless addition that needed some more development.
So our final thoughts of Sonic Lost World; great 3D engine with a graphically beautiful world, awesome character animation and good use of 3D space. Now if they designed the game around what Sonic was truly all about then this game would be a total smash hit in my eyes. In its current form though this game just lacks a lot of what we associate with Sonic games, from its Bonus Stages, very bad cutscenes, color abilities which seem more like a cheat, and finally the levels further in which are just plainly done wrong and do not suit the Sonic franchise in any way.
Official Features for Sonic Lost World Wii U and 3DS
Sonic moves like never before. Vault over obstacles, free run up & along walls & sky dive between islands at lightning speed. Plus the Spin Dash is back!
New & improved Colour Powers. Sonic can now fly through the air, tear up levels & explode into enemies. He’s more powerful than ever!
Speed through a variety of exhilarating levels. Explore massive mind-bending courses, vast underground tunnels & colossal structures in the sky as you run inside, outside & upside down.
Save the world one fight at a time. Take on each of the devious Deadly Six in dynamic boss battles which test all of Sonic’s moves & power-ups.
Race friends in high speed multiplayer races. Take them down across a range of ultra-competitive levels & modes – it’s the ultimate supersonic showdown!
Wii U EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
- Wield the Wii U GamePad to execute exclusive Colour Powers – tilt, touch, aim & more.
- Someone wants to watch TV? No problem! Play the full game using only the Wii U GamePad screen.
- Share and charge up items by sending them into the Miiverse to share with players around the world.
- Play together. Have a friend pilot radio controlled gadgets to help Sonic by destroying enemies & obstacles.
- Race against a friend as you play on the Wii U GamePad screen and they play on the TV.
NINTENDO 3DS EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
- The first handheld Sonic game ever to feature fully realised 3D levels.
- Unleash Colour Powers exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS version.
- Exclusive Special Stages! Tilt using the Motion Sensor to navigate hair-raising levels & obtain the elusive Chaos Emeralds.
- Create & customise radio controlled gadgets to help Sonic.
- Race against friends through local and online game modes.
PLUS: Share your gadgets between the Wii U & Nintendo 3DS versions.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.