Thursday, December 12, 2013

Game review: Sonic Lost World

 The plot has Saturday morning cartoon written all over it. Dr. Eggman enlists the help of the kooky Deadly Six to partake an evilness. Sonic and his buddy Tails crash land on the Lost Hex, where the game's levels take place. The story has its predictable twists and turns, which will entertain kids mostly.
The game looks very, very nice. Levels include desert, snow, fire and more, utilizing a full-color palette. Landscapes are detailed, and the free-floating platforms in the sky bring back fond memories of "Super Mario Galaxy."
Gameplay, on the other hand, can be not so nice. Sonic is all about speed, and Sega changed things up a bit by having the hedgehog move somewhat slower than before.  Regular movement with the directional pad is a modest pace, which is fine for the game's platforming sections. Holding down a trigger button gets Sonic to go faster and automatically run up walls and other obstacles, which can get annoying in more complex levels when bumping into these at the wrong angle screeches everything to a halt.
The 2D sections are much more satisfying than the over-the-shoulder 3D levels. 2D plays like classic Sonic, and it makes me wish the whole game was like this. The Wisp abilities from "Sonic Colors" return, but don't really improve the experience.
Expect to see the game over screen a lot during 3D sections, where fast sections are plagued with problems. Jump distances are tough to measure, resulting in Sonic falling to his death over and over again. Level design is too inconsistent, creating controller-throwing difficulty spikes.
Every time a 3D platforming Sonic game is revealed, fans have hope that it will finally be the big one -- only to be filled with disappointment again. Add this game to that list.
1 1/2 stars out of 4
Review by Jeff Hoard for Digital First Media, reprinted with permission.

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