I had a chance to preview Sonic Lost World, one of the three exclusive Sonic titles for Nintendo, shortly after E3 this year. The game is designed to work with Wii U and all its functionality, and the 3DS version will offer completely different worlds for gameplay (in 3D). I previewed the Wii U version, and it definitely has some new tricks and twists for the Sonic franchise.
In this new game, Sonic battles the Deadly Six bosses, and he utilizes brand new Color Powers to do it (the popularity of Sonic Colors ensured they would be around for this game, too). This time, Sonic teams up with his nemesis Eggman to defeat the six villains. Eggman wasn’t part of the demo, but I’m still excited about the potential there.
I liked what I saw. The worlds I tried were so different from each other. Every level has multiple paths to the end, with tons of goodies to unlock—like the Color Powers. The Wii U GamePad is necessary to aim the Whisps for that.
The Windy Hill level I previewed was in 3D and introduced a parkour element. Sonic is a free-runner, and every surface is available to climb, jump, and run across. It’s basically a series of big cylinders you can explore. It feels like Super Mario Galaxy, a comparison I’ve heard a lot.
The Desert Ruins zone has a level that is covered in cupcakes and licorice roads (not sand as you’d expect, it’s kind of an obvious pun). Playing in this world feels more like a side scrolling game with some zooming perspective—a completely different feel from Windy Hill. Desert Ruins 2 returns to a Windy Hill style, but it is insanely fast. I could barely handle the game play; when they say “hard” they mean it. It definitely takes some more skill, but it showed off the variety in the game in a way that made me really excited for what else they’ve put in there. Sega is keeping the total number of levels a secret.
Sonic feels much more rooted to the ground here than in any of the Sega games I remember growing up. I was honestly never much of a Sonic player because he just felt too uncontrollable. In Sonic Lost World his speed is still there, but it isn’t unruly (except maybe in Desert Ruins 2). He feels more connected to the game itself, which I appreciated.
The Wii U version will be completely offline, local play, but the 3DS version will have an online option. If you have both versions of the game, there will be some crossover with items you can share between games. And if you have the Wii U version and someone in the family wants the TV back, you can switch to the GamePad to play the game. Pretty cool.
Sonic Lost World drops on October 22nd. It was announced this week that it would be rated E10+ for some “aggressive language,” which has stirred up its own controversy online.