As the first game of Sonic’s 3-part exclusive games deal with Nintendo, Sonic Lost World is the first next-gen Sonic game of many to come. The game has its ups and downs, but overall I think it kind of evens out – especially with the great DLC that was shelled out for free.
Lost World brings new villains to Sonic’s world known and the Deadly Six, a group of Zeti that have mystical powers giving them control over technology. In addition, Sonic gains a new parkour move that sounds better than it actually is, and the classic spin dash even makes a return. After the previous “boost-to-win” games SEGA’s previously released, it was time to yet again give Sonic’s gameplay a little tweak.
As far as the gameplay and graphics go, Sonic Lost World plays at a very smooth 60 fps and sets a beautiful presentation on either TV or gamepad. As I mentioned earlier, Sonic gets a new skill in parkouring. A very interesting step for SEGA to take with Sonic running up and down the walls, but it’s somewhat a difficult skill to master, and I’ve yet to completely figure it out. Sonic has 3 different speeds he can play at almost any time within the game. You have a steady jog, running, then full speed (by Spin Dash). Unfortunately, Sonic’s running and parkour buttons are the exact same, so when the game would switch to 2D, I would find myself getting sucked onto the walls from time to time.
After a while, you begin to figure out how things work no thanks to the lack of tutorial this game offers, despite being new gameplay for Sonic. There are times every now and then where you can find a help bubble or something to click on the gamepad, but the explanations don’t really do a good job telling you how to do what you’re trying to do.
It took me a while to figure out that you could actually Spin Dash forever (since the game doesn’t really tell you), making speed running levels and reaching the goals a lot easier. Sonic’s speed drastically increases, and destroys almost every enemy in the way while using the Spin Dash as well, just as it should. Taking a few elements from Sonic Colors, Sonic can still double jump and the Wisps are back. Sonic’s homing attack has been tweaked a little as well: The attack’s strength now focuses on how many lock-ons you can place on a single enemy, another trick I still haven’t figured out. When you’ve maxed out the amount of lock-ons you can have, his attack can be devastating. However, some enemies take alternate methods to kill, so Sonic can actually kick them to either knock them over, or into other enemies.
My biggest complaint with Sonic Lost World’s the random difficulty spikes throughout the game. Levels can go from easy to hard back to back, and you really don’t see it coming. There’s several disadvantages you can face if you don’t have enough experience with how Sonic plays.
The story of Lost World feels…well, kind of childish as another light-hearted story in the vein of Sonic Colors. There were a few parts I didn’t like, and unfortunately it revolves around how characters are portrayed. The new Deadly Six villains all have very blunt personalities, from depressing (in a funny way), to a girly-girl – like Rouge the Bat – dumb as a rock, to old and wise. One by one the villains are introduced and you get a handful of battles with each of them throughout the game.
What basically happens is that Eggman finds a powerful group of Zeti (a new race in the Sonic universe, by the way), and has a rare conch of some sort that keeps them in line with his commands, obviously attempting to take over the planet. Since the Zeti are basically like Eggman’s hired hands, his real scheme lies in a machine that sucks the life out of the planet to power a robot suit. Sonic makes a hasty decision and kicks the conch out of Eggman’s hand without knowing it kept the Deadly Six under control. With their recent freedom, they kick Eggman out of his lab and use the machine to absorb an unstable amount of the planet’s energy that could cause all life to die, to make themselves stronger.
Honestly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense as to what the Deadly Six have against Sonic, besides him being the only one that could stop them from taking over the planet. Because if thought about, Eggman was the one who basically enslaved them to begin with. Later on, Sonic defeats the Deadly Six, and there’s still enough energy in Eggman’s machine to power up his robot suit, which is where the final battle takes place. Overall, it’s an adequate story, but just a little silly, I suppose.
The game’s DLC, meanwhile, is great. It’s completely free and ready to download from the beginning. You get 2 levels, Yoshi’s Island Zone and The Legend of Zelda Zone. I personally favor the Zelda Zone because there’s more to explore and in 3D (plus, it’s Zelda!), but Yoshi’s Island is pretty fun to play as well. Both levels can be played then re-unlocked after achieving 100,000 points (which isn’t a big challenge) and are great ways to rack up some extra lives. It’s kind of cool to see Sonic interact with Nintendo worlds, because before the only time you would ever see Sonic and Nintendo together was in Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games, or Super Smash Bros.
To finalize, Sonic Lost World isn’t Sonic’s best game, but it certainly isn’t his worst. SEGA took an interesting step to “bringing Sonic back” to the top of his game with it, but they have a little ways to go before having him back to where he was. I wouldn’t recommend it to the casual gamers I know unless they were up for something new, because the difficulty spikes can be quite frustrating, and the game take some dedication to get used to. For all the Sonic fans reading this review, take a look for yourself to see what you think, but for now, I think I’ll be okay with playing Sonic Runners.