Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog have been waiting for well over two decades to play a Sonic game that is worthy of their nostalgia. Ever since the award-winning release of Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast, gamers have felt that Sega hasn’t been doing their blue mascot justice. He has partnered up with his arch nemesis, Mario, for the Olympics, and has starred in a handful of self-titled releases for Wii, 3DS and now the Nintendo Wii U.
Developed by Sonic Team, Sonic: Lost World is Sega’s latest release involving Sonic and his friends as they battle the evil Eggman (who was named Robotnik in the US Sonic games for Genesis) and The Deadly Six. This release wipes the slate clean by introducing new gameplay mechanics and by also reviving some old ones. For starters, the game uses a world map system similar to the Mario series. When new zones unlock, they will appear on this map. The player can also move Sonic around freely to collect special items called ‘Wisps’ (more on this in a moment). An inventory system that keeps track of theses items can be accessed by tapping the briefcase icon on the Gamepad’s touch screen.
Before playing a zone, you can adjust the game’s settings by enabling or disabling your Ranking, Miiverse and the Wisp Away system (a feature where you can give your duplicate Wisp items to other players). A Time Attack feature is also present for each zone, but you must complete the game in normal mode first before this feature will unlock.
The gameplay uses a combination of classic 2D and 3D platforming that blends seamlessly as you play. As you race through each level, you must collect golden rings, free animals that Eggman has captured for his robot army and avoid the mechanical nasties that litter the landscape. Lost World feels like a genuine Sonic game as you jump on bumpers to propel Sonic to incredible heights, run through spinners to gain speed, and fly through the air to reach suspended areas of the level. Some 3D levels (like Windy Hill for example) will rotate as you move Sonic, placing obstacles such as throned vines and holes in the environment in your way.
Returning from Sonic Colors for Wii is Sonic’s ability to double jump while in the air. Our blue hero also possesses new abilities that include a homing attack that can target multiple enemies consecutively and a kick attack that can subdue stronger foes. Also returning from Colors are the Wisp abilities and their enhancing attributes. While older powers such as Drill, Rocket and Laser make their return, newer powers such as Asteroid (which allows Sonic to annihilate objects in his path) and Rhythm (which lets him bounce off a path of notes) make their debut. The Wisp abilities also take full advantage of the Wii U Gamepad’s gyroscopic capabilities.
The controls are where most of the changes have occurred. The player can control Sonic’s speed a variety of ways, the first by using the left analog stick to move him at a moderate pace. Holding the Right Trigger button will send Sonic into a run (but only if you’re moving; he’ll run in place if he’s standing still), allowing him to perform acrobatic feats such as running up walls and hopping on to high ledges. Holding down the Left Trigger and then releasing it will send Sonic into a high-speed spin, allowing him to smash through enemies and take loops without falling off.
The Wii U version of Lost World supports both competitive multiplayer and co-operative multiplayer modes. In competitive multiplayer, a second player can use the Wii U Gamepad to race against the other player, while in co-operative multiplayer, a second person can control a vehicle to assist Sonic. As mentioned earlier, the game also supports Miiverse functionality where gamers can exchange items such as Wisps, which increase in their effectiveness when used by other players.
Lost World happens to be the most atheistically pleasing Sonic game since the Dreamcast release of Sonic Adventure. The eye-popping colors and blazing speed of motion produced by Sonic as he runs can easily cause sensory overload. The candy-themed level Dessert Ruins is single-handedly the best level in the game, with its multicolored twizzler candy platforms, chocolate covered hydrants, and over sized ice cream cones that appear suspended in the background. Even the cinemas that play between each zone add a certain appeal to the experience.
Sonic: Lost World for Wii U is more akin to a true ‘Sonic Adventure’ than any of its predecessors. The gameplay is almost flawless; the controls are rock-solid; and the return of the Wisp system from Sonic Colors is a plus. Lost World may not be the ‘ultimate’ Sonic experience that gamers have been after, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Platform: Wii U
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
|Sonic Lost World has some of the best graphics ever seen in a Sonic game.|
|Classic sound effects abound throughout the entire adventure.|
|Sonic races through each level at mind-numbing speeds. Plus, the gameplay also feels like classic Sonic the Hedgehog.|
|Gamers looking for a classic Sonic game will find that Sonic Lost Worlds will provide the experience they're after.|