Game Guys review - Sonic Lost World (Wii U)

7:00 PM, Nov 27, 2013   |    comments
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  • SEGA's 'Sonic Lost World' video game for Wii U and 3DS.
  • SEGA's 'Sonic Lost World' video game for Wii U and 3DS.

For the most part, SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog series has been mired in (at best) mediocrity since the Dreamcast days.  Titles such as Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Black Knight have sullied the recent memory of the franchise.  Things seemed to be looking up, however, with the 2011 release of Sonic Generations.  While Sonic Lost World on the Wii U, the series' most recent addition, might be an alright high-speed platformer on its own, it fails to give the franchise the boost needed to accelerate its way back towards the top.

Featuring modern-style 3D Sonic gameplay with 2D side-scrolling levels, on-the-rails speed segments, and a reasonably outdated 1990's 'tude, Sonic Lost World provides plenty of the action the franchise became known for early on.  Unfortunately, it's about as smooth as a 90's attitude in the year 2013 can be.  In other words, be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Part of the problem has to do with the targeting system Sonic employs to chain from enemy to enemy as he attacks those that get in his freeway speed way.  While a handy way of taking care of multiple consecutive enemies in a short amount of time and space, when playing on a 3D level Sonic will sometimes target something off-screen.  Usually little more than an annoyance, it can lead to an unexpected loss of rings or a game over should it occur in an unfortunate part of the level.  When it's not doing things like this, however, the game really can be a blast to play at times.

Another part of SLW's problem is just how much artificial fluff the developers put into this game.  While it's nice to see the plunger-style cages made famous from the Genesis games make a return, the way the devs integrated them into the game is unfortunate.  If the player hasn't freed enough of the trapped wildlife by the time a player gets to a point where they would face a certain boss, he'll have to go back and re-play areas until the required quantity has been gathered.  This leads to a level of tediousness that games - especially games of this nature - should never provide.  Sadly, it exists in this title.

The likeliness for occasional tediousness wouldn't be quite so noticeable had the game featured at least a halfway decent plot.  But, alas, Sonic Lost World's story is below average and features a number of forgettable antagonists known as the Deadly Six.  Should SEGA decide to make another game featuring this cartoony lot of miscreants, it might not come as much of a surprise should Sonic fans protest in favor of using the iconic franchise bad guy Dr. Eggman instead.

Trapped somewhere between a good Sonic game and some of the steaming piles SEGA has dumped on gamers over the last decade or so, Sonic Lost World is at least a sign that the game company is trying to bring their blue hedgehog back to greatness.  While this game doesn't do a whole lot to push him far in that direction, it's still a step in the right direction.  Kudos to the developers for trying some new things even if not all of it is all that great.  Sonic's fans should at the very least enjoy it, even if non-fans don't.

17/25 21/25 10/25 16/25 19/25 73/100

Version tested: Wii U (also available on 3DS)

(SEGA supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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