Making his debut in 1991, SEGA's flagship character started life as a side-scrolling, high speed platformer. After taking the leap into 3D, Sonic The Hedgehog had somewhat of an identity crisis, being reinvented as a Black knight and Warehog. His more recent efforts have been much better in Episode 4 and Sonic Generations.
Sonic: Lost World combines a mixture of 3D tunnel environments with classic side-scrolling action. The 3D levels allow Sonic to truly bounce around like a pinball, rocketing from one floating object to the next. Like all previous games, there is little skill involved in this once you've hit the launch pad. Nevertheless, it’s a still treat to watch Sonic fly around like a rollercoaster on legs.
In addition to environmental hazards, there are plenty of enemies to overcome as you try to complete the level at high speed. You can of course traverse more carefully at a slower speed, but that's no fun! At regular intervals, you'll also have to get involved in boss battles with the Deadly Six.
Between levels, you travel across a map on a hexagonal board. Some levels are inaccessible until you’ve completed previous ones or liberate a certain number of cute little animals. These can be rescued by defeating their evil captors. You are also set challenges, such as collecting 500 rings, performing a spin dash for 2 seconds, or use 3 or more lock-ons to defeat enemies in a single attack. Successful completion of these missions unlocks various bonuses.
Levels can be played in single or co-op mode. Once completed, you can replay them in Time Attack mode. Starting with a familiar Green Hill Zone style, you will soon be journeying across deserts, pinball casinos and an icy hell. You can even check out the leaderboards to see where your completion time ranks against your friends, nationally or the world. In the Miiverse you can post your thoughts, feelings and other comments with the Sonic Lost World community.
The cutscenes are quite amusing and reminiscent of the cartoon series. The graphics are suitably colourful and the engine copes well at high speed.
The difficulty can be quite punishing even on early levels, so expect to exercise a bit of patience and determination in order to progress. To ease your pain (slightly), items can be collected to give you various bonuses. The run button is a welcome addition, but the targeting system can leave you free-falling mid-jump or killing yourself rather than the intended enemy.
A commendable attempt to refresh the blue blur, though Sonic: Lost World doesn’t ever reach the heights of Super Mario Galaxy (which was its clear inspiration). If you can look past the issues however, there is still plenty of platforming fun to be had from SEGA’s dude with a ‘tude.
Review by: Sarah O'Connell
Review Date: 16th November 2013
Sonic Lost World
Rating out of 5: