E3 2013 Preview: Sonic Lost World Melds Speed and Platforming Beautifully
Sonic is slowly returning to relevancy. The blue mascot has had some fairly abominable entries, such as Sonic Free Riders and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). SEGA’s new partnership with Nintendo has secured three exclusive Sonic titles for the Wii U, and we were given the chance to go hands-on with the first of these games, Sonic Lost World. The demo opened up with one of three options: Windy Hill (Easy), Desert Ruins 1 (Normal) and Desert Ruins 2 (Hard). Given that I’ve spent a fair amount of time away from the iconic hedgehog, I figured I’d better test the waters on Windy Hill.
The level opened up into a vibrant, lush green environment with water-separated areas of land laid on the ground off in the distance. As Sonic began sprinting forward, it became clear that the level wasn’t a straight shot to the end. The ground on which Sonic runs is cylindrical in shape, letting you literally run around the levels. Straying off from the main path may reward you with clearer routes or secrets, but it could potentially hinder you with more obstacles to leap over. Sonic fans will enjoy replaying these levels over and over to find which methods work best. It was said that seasoned player will be able to spin dash throughout an entire level if they have the skill and precision. I’m sure we’ll be watching people battle for the best times by shaving off crucial seconds by keeping the speedy flow going.
What’s great about Sonic Lost World is its mixing of speed and platforming. Lost World brings back the platforming we’ve come to know and love from older titles without sacrificing the pacing. The result is a game that mixes the return to roots we saw in Sonic Generations with the more open gameplay style of Mario Galaxy. SEGA undoubtedly took inspiration from the aforementioned title with their inclusion of floating 3D environments interconnected by launch pads and various, smaller platforms. My demo came to an end quickly, which I assume means I played it correctly, and left me wanting more. Sonic Lost World can be another great addition to the series, one that is desperate need of better entries, and my early impressions have me believing (and hoping) that SEGA may be crafting the next must-own Wii U title.