Sonic’s back! But wait! Don’t go yet! This might be a good game — although the odds are rather against it.
It’s rather tough to explain that once upon a time, Sonic The Hedgehog was an absolute gaming goliath. Once upon a time, it looked entirely likely that Sega’s mascot might unseat Mario as a cultural icon, and Sega could do no wrong.
That was a long time ago, and I should note that I’m old enough to remember (and to have cracked open a beer on) Sonic Twosday.
Sonic Lost World (Wii U): On the plus side
Sonic Lost World — which bears the suffix “Deadly Six Edition”, because there are deadly foes, and I’ll let you work out how many — starts off quite well.
It is, as you might expect, a platform game, because it’s a Sonic game, but instead of going all 2D or all 3D, it’s a mix of both; a bit of a hybrid of some of the ideas that Sega’s thrown into Sonic Generations and Sonic Colours, mixed with a dab of Sonic Adventure and a heaping great load of lets-hope-they-forget-about-Shadow-The-Hedgehog-or-that-regrettable-eponymous-3D-game to boot.
As such, you switch between a semi-3D freeform world that owes more than a dash of inspiration to the Super Mario Galaxy games, and 2D levels that try to reinvigorate the thrill of early high-speed Sonic games.
The cutscenes and plot in Sonic Lost World are generally are well done, or at least well done enough to keep my kids entertained. It’s the usual fare of Eggman being evil, Sonic being virtuous and Tails, a fox who can fly, owning a plane. I never understood that bit.
In any case, bad things are happening, Sonic has a gigantic ego, but then, he’s the only dude who can, like, save, like, the WHOLE PLANET OMG!
So into the fray rushes Sonic, as he must.
Sonic Lost World (Wii U): On the minus side
If there’s a word that I’d use to describe Sonic Lost World, it’s disjointed.
You jump between 2D and 3D sections, but there’s no real flow or game design behind the switches, and the speed of play changes remarkably between both.
The 3D sections are open, quick, and often punishing because you can zip into an obstacle with very little in the way of warning, especially if the world is turning as you run. The 2D sections are more confined, but this has the effect of slowing gameplay down a great deal. Like with the 3D sections, there are areas that can kill you just because you haven’t learned them yet, and that’s just plain sloppy game design at work.
Equally, I’ve not been a big fan of Sonic’s 3D and 2D homing abilities for years, mostly because they’ve never been all that precise in any Sonic game. They’re no better here, and notably painful in 3D sections where you’ll target a whole group of foes, bounce on half and then just stop. Maybe Sonic gets bored, or sore, or something?
It’s a Wii U title, but there’s not much in the way of actual Wii U integration at play. You can get or gift items to Miiverse randomly, and you can play purely on the Wii U gamepad, but that’s it. There is an offline two player racing mode, but it’s nothing worth getting that excited over. If you’ve played previous two-player Sonic race-through-the-stage games, you’ve played this one.
I’d hit a lot of reports that Sonic Lost World was a rather buggy game. I can’t say I’ve hit that, but then the very first time I popped the disc into the Wii U, it did insist on a very slow update before playing. That may have simply been to implement the Miiverse integration, but hopefully they squished some bugs along the way.
Sonic Lost World (Wii U): Pricing
Sonic Lost World currently costs around $79.95 as a disc title, and the same from the Wii U eShop. As always, that’s a tradeoff between ease of loading and portability/resale. I’d still say buy the disc.
Sonic Lost World: Fat Duck verdict
Sonic Lost World isn’t a bad game. Really, it isn’t. It’s essentially competent.
But that’s all it is.
Essentially competent in the 3D/2D platform area isn’t quite enough, and it never has been when there have been titles that offer better experiences for the same kind of asking price.
It’s just yet another Sonic game. Not as bad as, say, Shadow The Hedgehog or Sonic Unleashed, but arguably not as good as Sonic Generations or Sonic Colours, and nowhere near as good as the original trilogy of games. It’s factory produced sausage, and while sausages can be nice comfort food, you know as you chomp down, grease dribbling down your chin that there are better alternatives.
If you like the core character there is some fun to be had here, but if you’re just after a good platform game, there are so many more superior titles to while away your time with.