Discover the Lost World : Sonic Lost World ( Nintendo 3DS) Review
The latest instalment of the ever popular Sonic The Hedgehog franchise made it’s debut in Europe on Friday 18th October 2013. Sonic Lost World sees the blur in blue explore the mysterious Lost Hex and also sees him face six new deadly enemies aptly named the ‘Deadly Six’. Having now played through the game quite religiously for the past few days, I’m now in a position where I can make comment on the game and give a more accurate review – remember folks, this is my opinion and it may vary from yours.
Having been a Sonic fan from the age of 4, it’s a franchise I love and one I have grown up with. So, is Sonic Lost World a proper reimagining of the Sonic formula or is it simply a lost cause?
Sonic Lost World plays great emphasis on a storyline which is unlike the recent games within the past few years. As always, the voice acting and script can be a little cheesy at times – especially with Zomom but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own. But hey, that’s what makes Sonic storylines Sonic storylines…..right?
The style of gameplay is most definitely one of the more drastic changes seen in Sonic Lost World in comparison to the more recent Sonic games of today. When I first booted the game up and was totally unfamiliar with the controls, Sonic ran absolutely slowly which is a massive shock for any Sonic fan or returning player. However, this is intentional and one other dimension Sonic Lost World looks at is the control of Sonic’s speed which does add to the challenge of completing the game and/or the level in the quickest time possible, but also ensuring the level is completed as accurately as possible with little if not any deaths. There are also a few new moves added into the mix too, especially with the introduction of the Parkour system ; a gameplay mechanic which sees sonic being able to run along walls, upside down to name but a few. This can be incredibly frustrating in the early stages of the game however mainly due to it being a new gameplay mechanic and not something I was used to. Being unfamiliar with it resulted in a lot of expletives being used and MANY deaths of Sonic…. ouch!
The Wisp’s ; made famous in the 2010 instalment Sonic Colours see a welcome return to Sonic Lost World. What is interesting with the application to the Wisps in this game is that it makes use of the 3DS Touch screen – the touch screen must be used to activate them, and the accelerometer is also made use of. Both are applied and executed really well here and most definitely add to the gameplay in a positive way. The variety of Wisps present are also varied and the introduction of a few new ones – Asteriod in particular – one which sees Sonic destroy anything in his path – are a welcome addition.
The 3DS version also includes exclusive Special Stages which again make use of the Accelerometer and I’ve found myself walking around my house spinning around trying to collect the Blue Spheres…. what people who see me without knowing the full context of my situation must think!
There are also multiplayer modes available. I have been unable to participate in this as of yet so I can’t comment on their features. As always though, it’s a great addition in being able to play alongside fellow Sonic fans!
Sonic is known as being the ‘Blur in Blue’ and Sega took this literally when it included the cutscenes into the 3DS version of the game. What we ended up with was pretty low resolution video which seems to have been badly compressed from the Wii U alternative. The result? Very blurry and interlaced video. Although it was still good enough quality to make everything out, it did bring the game down a little.
Cutscenes aside ; the visuals – especially for it being a 3DS game – are absolutely outstanding. The worlds are varied and although not unique, are definitely symbolic to the worlds we all know and love from the Sonic series. It cannot go without saying that some of the worlds bare a slight resemblance to the once sworn enemy Mario.
One of the most common criticisms of Sonic games of recent years is that it’s simply far too easy ; and for many I have to agree. While I absolutely loved the nostalgia trip seen in Sonic Generations, it was simply just a game that you could complete from start to finish in just over an hour (story mode – not including the side missions!) ; which I guess is also nostalgic given that was usually the time it took to beat the original Genesis/Mega Drive games. This is where Sonic Lost World really takes off and shows that it is not carrying on with the ‘Boost to Win’ formula we’ve became accustomed to. Frozen Factory Act 3 in particular was one which was frustratingly difficult. I spent around 20 minutes trying to solve a puzzle with a snowball and a hole ; sounds a bit cryptic I know but I don’t want to spoil the frustration for anyone else, it wouldn’t be fair would it? It most certainly will take people back to the infamous barrel from Carnival Night Zone in Sonic 3 – a part of the level which stumped thousands of Sonic fans! The game is rather difficult rather early on and does not take a while for the gradual spike in difficulty. I must admit I do like a challenge but in some cases, it’s a little confusing in what it is you’re actually supposed to be doing. Another example of this is in Desert Ruins where I found myself spinning around in an Asteroid Wisp while a Badnik rises from the ground ; I continually spun around for what seemed like ages for nothing to happen – only to repeat the process again and to proceed further into the level. What exactly did I do? I still have no idea.
Another frustration when it comes to difficulty is just how easy the boss battles between the ‘Deadly Six’ seem to be. While the levels can be mind numbingly frustrating, the ‘Deadly Six’ don’t seem that deadly and in fact seem to be defeated rather easily in most cases ; well especially with me. Whether this has been sheer luck on my part I don’t know, but it detracts from my enjoyment just a little.
Sonic Lost Cause? Definitely not! While the game is a massive difference to the known ‘Boost to Win’ formula, Sonic Lost World is a challenging game – despite being a little too difficult at times. The introduction of the player being able to control Sonic’s speed helps to add to the gameplay and in a sense brings a new and fresh gameplay dynamic. It also makes things seem less ‘automated’ and more thinking and skill is involved. The level tropes are your typical Sonic style and I guess somewhat Mario influenced too which really isn’t too much of a bad thing. The execution of the Special Stages are an interesting one and quite fun I must admit.
Sonic games have had alot of criticisms over the years and I must admit, in some cases it was deserved. However, if this is the direction Sonic Team are wanting to take the franchise, then I’m all for it. It’s fresh, it’s challenging and most importantly it’s fun. But with all games out there, there is always room for improvement, and Sonic Lost World is no exception.
With Sonic Lost World, it really does seem like Sonic is running his way back up to the top…. one step at a time.
RATING : 4.5/5
About the Author Ryan Penman
I graduated from university with an Honours Degree in Broadcast Production mainly specialising in Radio Presenting and Production. I've grew up with gaming since the early age of 4, with my first experiences being that of Sonic The Hedgehog on the Mega Drive. Nostalgic games are really my passion and I love revising old classics from yesteryear. I enjoy playing around with the latest technology as expected! Follow me on Twitter @ryanjpenman
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