Sonic Lost World Hands-On Preview – Wii U and 3DS

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Sega, Sonic Team and Dimps have the iconic Blue Blur hopping hexagonal worlds now? Yep!

Sonic Lost World takes Sonic The Hedgehog, Tails and the always dastardly Dr. Eggman on a new journey for their upcoming Wii U and 3DS adventure.

I got to spend some extended time with the game and I came away impressed. Sonic fell into a slump the last few years, but his return to greatness came in his last solo console release (Sonic Generations, 2011). Nintendo has commissioned the blue hedgehog’s development caretakers to produce this new entry. Both versions of the game are different yet ultimately similar.

Check out my impressions below:

Wii U

As a diehard Sonic fan, I’ve come to recognize that the very first level of several of his games take place in a sunny, bright environment. That trend continues here, as I first landed on the Windy Valley stage. This opening world is just as cheery and welcoming as the Green Hill Zone we all know and love. Saving animals from capsules and utilizing the Wisp powers introduced in Sonic Colors felt familiar and fun. The camera took refuge behind Sonic for this 3D platforming excursion. I kept my eyes on the winding paths this new world set me out on. I switched paths at will to hunt for red rings, ran along walls to avoid annoying spikes and made sure to explore the circular pathways I was traveling along.

It’s immediately noticeable that there are new controls to master. Moving Sonic regularly allows him to walk, while holding down one of the trigger buttons sets him off running. The new parkour system lets Sonic freely move up and over any obstacles in his path, granted you’re still holding down the run trigger. The familiar spin dash and homing attack returns, as well as the famous run animation from Sonic CD (only the most hardcore Sonic fans will pick up on this cool nod to the past). Sonic can also attack any robotic animals by kicking them in midair and sending them crashing into other unsuspecting enemies. Sonic needs all of these new maneuvers now that he’s saving the world from his newest adversaries, the Deadly Six. Dr. Eggman and Sonic are both gonna have their hands full from what I hear…

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Once I finished off the introductory level, I was sent away to a snow-themed world. Imagine my surprise as I learned that I wasn’t able to control Sonic directly since he was trapped inside a giant snowball. However, I did have control over the snowball itself. Guiding the snowball along a treacherous path filled with snow trolls was challenging, yet refreshing. The process of picking up rings was a little different this time around, too – the snowball could roll over rings and eventually cash them in for collecting purposes. This snow-themed stage also threw in some other gameplay mechanics, like using the snowball to push pool balls in their corner pockets awarded bonuses if you hit them all in order. Transporting the snowball to newer portions of the stage meant hopping on a vent and moving over to the next checkpoint.

After the snowball run, I made my way to a familiar Sonic setting – a full-figured casino. Sonic was back in my control as I ran around picking up poker chips. These poker chips served as cash-in currency that could soon became my newly acquired rings. My nostalgic heart fluttered a bit as I got to see the enemies from the old Casino Night Zone make a return in full 3D. Even the panels on the slot machine obstacles include the old drawn 2D animations from Sonic The Hedgehog 2. The final nod to old Sonic games came in the form of a pinball mini-game that appeared in the middle of this awesome level. Aw, the memories…

The fourth and final demo stage I tackled placed me in a yellow tinged forest. Jumping from rail to rail could prove to be chaotic, but Sonic Adventure 2 vets shouldn’t stress over this level too much. The new red eagle Wisp power-up came into play here – Sonic transforms into a red eagle and soars high above the stage while avoiding the many dangers below. Flying through ring formations and picking up some extra rings along the way was one of the coolest moments of my demo time. Near the end of my run, I kept Sonic from danger by dodging alligators and effortlessly switching grind lanes. This was surely the most chaotic stage I experienced thus far.

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Getting to the end of a stage meant either running through the goal ring or freeing those poor animals from their capsule prison. Those two nods to the game’s past made the fan in me feel overjoyed. The amazing variety of levels and game mechanics, as well as the old school nods to Sonic’s past have me extra excited to explore the full version of this game.

3DS

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The handheld edition of Sonic Lost World is something special – it stands as the first Sonic handheld game to feature fully 3D gameplay. The Windy Valley stage I encountered on the Wii U version felt just as good on this portable version. Sonic’s home console controls make a nice transition over to the 3DS’ handheld button configuration.The 3DS rendition of the game will sport exclusive Wisp powers, plus players can construct Tails’ many remote controlled vehicles. These automobiles can then be utilized by a second player who’s working with the Wii U GamePad. It pays to take on both editions of Sonic Lost World to experience the best of both worlds.


Sonic Lost World will land on Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS consoles on October 22, 2013.

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