Sonic Lost World E3 2013 Preview: A Bold New World

by David Sanchez June 15, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

Sonic Lost World - Feature

Sonic the Hedgehog has developed somewhat of a bad reputation for being the star of several not-so-great games. Over the past few years, however, Sega’s blue mascot has managed to be a part of some truly enjoyable titles including Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. The blue blur’s next romp will be Sonic Lost World, a game in development exclusively for the Wii U and 3DS as part of a partnership between Sega and Nintendo. I played the two versions of the game at E3, and I was incredibly ecstatic to see that there’s potential for greatness in both.

First off is Lost World on the Wii U. The game is highly reminiscent of the Mario Galaxy titles. Of course, anyone who knows some Sonic lore is likely well aware that the rotating world style of this upcoming game also harkens back to the canceled Saturn project Sonic X-treme. For those who may be unaware, that game was a change of pace for the series, allowing players to take Sonic through gravity-based rotating worlds. The game was in development hell for too long, though, and it didn’t seem to be providing the best results, so it ultimately met its demise.

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In all honesty, it’s possible that X-treme wasn’t going to be very good because it looked a bit too much like Sonic 3D Blast. With Lost World, that hardly seems to be the case, and what we’re getting looks like a solid 3D Sonic game worth being stoked for. The gravitational world mechanic allows for even more alternate routes than usual, and there are several ways players can approach the stages. Certain areas are littered with springs for you to bounce off of, while others have moving platforms that must be traversed with caution. There are goodies sprinkled throughout, with extra lives and red rings tucked away for explorers to seek out. Admittedly, this new feature took a little getting used to, but I soon grasped the fact that I wasn’t just restricted to running forward.

Lost World on the Wii U is really fast-paced, which is definitely a good thing because the last thing we need is a slow Sonic game. In addition to running really fast, the character can now dash up walls a bit. This is useful for accessing high ledges and progressing through maps. You can also use a double jump when crossing bigger pitfalls. Additionally, you automatically target multiple enemies at once, so hitting the attack button will result in Sonic bouncing off multiple foes in rapid succession. This is a nice way of eliminating having to hit the attack button multiple times, but it’s also a conveniently placed mechanic for certain areas because it moves you through large spaces (usually above pitfalls) at fast speeds.

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Another thing worth mentioning is just how pretty Lost World looks on the Wii U. Vibrant colors adorn the landscape, and the whole visual look of the game fits right in with the franchise’s familiar style. You know this is a Sonic game just by looking at it, but this may very well be the best the series has ever looked. I only played three stages, but all three looked great, and I can only imagine what the rest of the stages will look like. Also, it deserves to be mentioned that there’s a level that lets you run around on candy and pancakes. I doubt I need to stress the importance of that little element.

I didn’t just play Lost World on the Wii U, though; I also spent some time checking out the three demo levels in the 3DS version of the game. Like its home platform counterpart, this version of the game also offers the rotating gravity landscape. Perhaps it’s due to the smaller screen, but that mechanic didn’t feel as impactful on the 3DS. That said, the demo levels were still really fun to play, and it’s cool to see a 3D Sonic game making its way to Nintendo’s handheld.

A lot of the same gameplay features apply as far as the gameplay is concerned in Lost World for the 3DS, though there are some exclusive abilities. You can still double jump, run up walls, and so on. You can also cause certain enemies to become dizzy by locking on to them and hitting the Y button. This prompts Sonic to bounce off the ground and affect nearby baddies.

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Lost World on the 3DS features both 3D and 2D stages, though I was told by a Sega rep that most of the game would consist of 3D levels. The 2D episode I checked out reminded me a lot of the older Genesis games, with a few slower-paced sections that were still satisfying due to their action puzzles, and some really fast areas, as well.

Speaking of speed, Lost World on the 3DS is mostly fast-paced. It’s great to know that this Sonic trope wasn’t sacrificed in bringing a 3D game to the handheld. Still, I did notice that one of the color powers in the game turned Sonic into a destructive critter, allowing him to bring down walls and other structures. The downside here is that he moved a lot slower, something that should hardly ever happen in these games.

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Sega previously announced that Lost World would offer a different experience on the Wii U and 3DS, and after playing the demos for both titles at E3, I can certainly say that my time with the two games was very different. I had a lot of fun with both versions, but I have to give the edge to Lost World on the Wii U due to just how much bigger and more gorgeous it is. That said, the 3DS edition was plenty entertaining, and it could make for a great companion title to the Wii U release.

The partnership between Nintendo and Sega is interesting to say the least. Thanks to Lost World, though, that team-up could be something to be truly excited about for people who own Nintendo platforms.

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