Sonic: Lost World chooses to go with a pretty straight forward level select on the map as you move between zones, but it utilizes something that still always bugs me, level unlock requirements. In a game like this, typically there are no requirements to play the next level besides beating the prior stage. However, this game occasionally requires you to collect a certain number of animals from the stages to unlock zone 4 in certain areas. It is one thing to do this in a game like Banjo Kazooie where the notes are set to be in places and there are a limited amount, but in a game like this, it just seems too much like a way to make the game feel longer.
One of the most important aspects of any 3D platformer is the controls, and they are kind of a mixed bag in Sonic: Lost World. On one hand they are mostly very easy to use, but they do take some getting used to when playing. With pretty much every Sonic game in the past, you move forward with Sonic and gain speed as you move. However, that changes drastically in this game with the introduction of the run button, which takes a long time to get down. You can choose to just walk at a brisk pace, but nobody ever wants to do that when they are Sonic. A good aspect of the run button is that you instantly begin to run the second you hold it rather than it taking a little bit to build up while moving. The problem is that it just seems like it really isn’t needed and could have been fine the way it always was in the past. While it may seem pretty useless, it doesn’t really get in the way at all as it still gets the job done so it’s not really a good or bad addition in the end.
Building upon the run button is another new move to the game, which I must say frustrated me beyond belief while playing. Maybe I’m just terrible at it, but the new wall run mechanic was way more difficult than it should be, especially with short walls and turns. I went back at one point to collect red star coins that you can find in each level, and there was one that took me way too long to get due to the wall run. It was incredibly awkward due to the running along the walls with the screen changing angles constantly. It just did not see enough use in the main gameplay to where you would be really be an expert at it for the tougher side segments that required it.
As you saw in the lyrics I started with, two of the three parts refer to Sonic’s speed, which is what any Sonic game should be based around. However, sometimes this was a struggle as it was difficult to maintain fast speeds in the 3D worlds. While running straight forward, Sonic picks up and maintains a very good speed that is familiar to the series, but when you start circling around the different platforms you are on, Sonic loses speed. While you have great control of Sonic in these areas, it just doesn’t feel quite right. This differs from the 2D segments where you get a much better feel for classic Sonic speed. There are of course the obstacles in your path as with all 2D Sonic games, but it just feels faster overall and actually gives you reason to use your spin dash.
While the level designs may not be disappointing, the graphics look beautiful in all their HD goodness. Running at an extremely smooth 1080p while still 60 frames per second, Sonic: Lost World is one of the best looking games on the Wii U yet. Whether you are taking it slow, odd I know for a Sonic game, or running at top speed through obstacles, you can really see how well this game runs and looks. On top of that, the colors are exceptional and standout, which fits the Sonic series well. The aforementioned Silent Forest Zone 4 was a standout in this department as well.
One thing that the Sonic series has always tried to do is has at least somewhat of a story. I won’t say that the one showcased in this game is the best I’ve ever seen, but it is at least fun to watch, especially for the banter and interactions between characters. When Eggman joins the fold to help Sonic defeat the Deadly Six, there are tons of hilarious and even touching moments between the longtime enemies. The Deadly Six are pretty interesting characters as well that you will come across multiple times during the stages. They will even talk to you as you play through some of them, with some pretty funny moments. My favorite happened to be the emo acting member of the team. This little add-on breathes a little life to the game, even when the levels may get a little boring at times.
Sonic: Lost World is kind of a hard safe to crack. The game is a good game with great graphics and some unique levels, but for the most part it just feels underwhelming a lot of the time. A good portion of the stages feel too similar and not memorable in the least. While the controls are very solid, Sonic just feels too slow for the fastest thing alive. In the end, the game is a fun experience, but not a standout. If you are a Sonic fan, it’s worth a play for some of the more unique stages at the very least. Otherwise, if you like platformers and enjoy the Super Mario Galaxy mold, you may want to at least try the game out sometime. Just do not enter the game expecting it to live up to the last few games in the series.
[Editor’s Note: Sonic Lost World was reviewed on the Wii U platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Sonic: Lost World (Wii U) Review,