Sonic Lost World


By: Reagan Morris    On: Nintendo Wii U
Published: Thursday 31 Oct 2013 3:00 PM
 
 
 
Ad FeedbackAdvertisement

It’s strange that the highest rating Sonic game in the last 10 years is one where Sonic doesn’t even use his legs to go fast. Sonic and All-Star Racing Transformed was one insanely fast Sonic experience, but it can barely be called a Sonic game.

What I’m trying to say is, since Sonic Adventure released onto the Dreamcast back in 1998, there really hasn’t been a Sonic title that has been universally praised. Okay, so Sonic Colours on the Wii did well too, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Here we are, 15 years since the last proper great Sonic game, as Sonic: Lost World launches exclusively on Nintendo machines. Surely, this is the one we’ve all been waiting for?

There’s something Sonic games do better, in my eyes, than the majority of Mario games: story-telling. Beautifully rendered cutscenes book-end the majority of stages found in Lost World, with Dr Eggman (seriously, when can we go back to Robotnik?) exerting power over six other intimidating characters. Dr Eggman has put together some form of contraption that can harvest the energy of the world, and - despite using the energy for malevolent things - he shuts down the contraption due its ability to destroy worlds.

When Sonic gets a little too confident in his dealings with Eggman, the controlling device is broken and the Zeti (aka The Deadly Six) decide to do what Eggman won’t: destroy everything. So it’s up to Eggman, Sonic, and Tails to team up and put a stop to the Deadly Six’s actions - although, ultimately, Sonic is the one doing all of the work.

The story-telling, albeit clearly aimed at children, does a great job at not only pushing the player through Sonic’s journey, but also in helping create character in the six main boss fights. Comparing this again to your usual Mario games, boss fights are usually just giant enemies Mario stumbles across. In Sonic: Lost World they are characters with backstories, unique traits, and abilities, and fighting them is something you want to do - rather than something you have to do. It’s just a shame the journey there is so frustrating.

There’s a reason I’ve been referencing Mario in this review. As soon as you begin the first stage it becomes painfully obvious that Mario Galaxy was the inspiration here. The majority of the stages are set on floating worlds, which Sonic can traverse around. Some of them are even spherical in nature, and involve bouncing between planet-like objects, collecting rings, killing enemies, and hunting down five red star coins. While Mario Galaxy is a great game to mimic, Lost Worlds somehow manages to never cross the line and become a straight copy.

There’s still all the usual bouncing off pinball-esque bumpers, zipping through / along passageways with all but steering controls taken from you, and the completely rudimentary “one hit, lose all rings” punishment system that Sonic is known for. Seriously, if collecting 100 rings doesn’t give me a new life, why do I need to bother collecting any more than one ring at a time?

The game isn’t all Mario Galaxy though. There are stages where you’re watching more than you’re playing -- and those levels are FAST -- and there are stages where the game reverts to the old-school side-scroller Sonic experience. Due to the red star coin pick-ups, and the mini-games and Chaos Emeralds you unlock for picking them up, the game is at its most fun when the pace drops, you get a chance to explore a bit more, and the stages resemble that of a certain fat plumber.

It’s even more unfortunate that, even when the game is at its best, you’ll be almost constantly hindered by the sloppy controls. More often that not death is the result of Sonic just not doing what you want him to do, which can be a giant source of frustration. Thanks to the incredibly unintuitive hint system, you’ll quite often miss an important control detail as well, or be left in a situation where Miiverse is your only chance to get some answers.

What’s unintuitive about the hint system? Firstly, there are no tutorials or a tutorial stage. When you get to a point where the game wants to give you information, even if it's just to tell you which button jumps, instead of pausing the game and delivering on screen text, a small icon appears on the screen. What does that icon mean? Who knows? The game certainly hasn’t told you. Oh the icon is on the gamepad as well? That’s nice. It’s not until you push the icon on the gamepad that the game pauses and informs you of some important detail. Oh, and the detail is only on the gamepad. I’m not sure the last time I thought “you know, this tutorial is just too helpful, I wish it was harder to get the information I want”.

Completionists have a lot to do here, they’ll just require a similar level of patience to get through it. And for those who have multiple Sonic fans using the same console, progress through singleplayer mode unlocks a two-player race mode; with one using the TV and the other using the Gamepad, it’s split-screen done right.

If you manage to ignore the control issues, there’s actually a lot to like here. As I mentioned, the boss fights and characters in the game have their own style and charm, and the graphics and pacing of the game is, for the most part, spot on. While the game doesn’t reach the heights of Sonic Adventure, it does manage to fit nicely alongside most of the recent Sonic offerings.


The Score

Sonic Lost World
"Can we just go back to calling him Robotnik?"
7.5
Good
Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

More You May Like

 

Comments (9)

You must be logged in to post comments.

or Register now!
OrkMischief NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 31 Oct 2013 6:43 PM Posted by OrkMischief
I'm a big fan of the Sonic series but haven't played one in ages.

I wouldn't buy this game but would gladly hire it out from the video store if I could. This is one area out of many where I wish the Wii U was doing well. That area being demand to play the games on that console, some retailers and even video stores don't stock Wii U games and this frustrates me with games that I'd play, but don't really want to buy. I hope Christmas delivers for them with SM3DW and others and consoles sales pick up.
 
 
2
 
Bappernz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 12:54 AM Posted by Bappernz
sounds like i might have to check this out, thanks for the review NZG
 
 
0
 
SilverSonic225
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 1:46 AM Posted by SilverSonic225
I have one issue with this review and its the same with all of these reviews of Lost World. You all compare it to Super Mario Galaxy! When this type of game play was done in the Sonic series first even if it never officially released. If you have no idea what I'm referring to it would be Sonic X-treme.
Sonic X-treme offered a spherical world very similar to how Lost World looks it was supposed to be the game that would have saved the Sega Saturn.
 
 
0
 
Mattress NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 1:58 AM Posted by Mattress
There really are some interesting and different experiences gaming on the WiiU - makes me want to pick one up. Nice review of this game!
 
 
0
 
Newsboy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 10:48 AM Posted by Newsboy
1 November 2013, 01:46 AM Reply to SilverSonic225
I have one issue with this review and its the same with all of these reviews of Lost World. You all compare it to Super Mario Galaxy! When this type of game play was done in the Sonic series first even if it never officially released. If you have no idea what I'm referring to it would be Sonic X-treme.
Sonic X-treme offered a spherical world very similar to how Lost World looks it was supposed to be the game that would have saved the Sega Saturn.
Reviews are tbhe opinion of the person who wrote it, and by the sounds of things you've referenced a game little to no people have played because it was never officially released.. It's no wonder no-one is mentioning it.
 
 
0
 
Durty Driscoll NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 1:06 PM Posted by Durty Driscoll
I really liked Generations for what it was - a remix of the last 20 years of sonic games and levels...Sonic Adventure 2 isn't that bad either...but yeah...SEGA just need to get back to basics, cull a 'lot' of the secondary characters and chao.
 
 
0
 
rocketman12 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Friday 1 Nov 2013 8:25 PM Posted by rocketman12
I love Sonic too, I have generations for Xbox 360 but haven't got around to playing it yet.
 
 
0
 
whataboutki NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Monday 4 Nov 2013 1:12 PM Posted by whataboutki
Most Sonic games since the Sega have been very disappointing to me, but this one looks like it would be worth a look.
 
 
0
 
HONI
On Tuesday 19 Nov 2013 2:37 PM Posted by HONI
i love sonic
 
 
0