Sonic: Lost Worlds Hands-On Preview

I loved Sonic The Hedgehog. I believed in Sonic The Hedgehog. When the Dreamcast “failed,” to me, it was like Superman losing Krypton. Poor ten year-old me, his head would’ve exploded at E3 today.

Not because I was playing Sonic on a Wii U. Sonic’s been on Nintendo systems for a while. Not simply for the fact that Sega signed a three title exclusive deal with Nintendo for Sonic games. But, because it’s finally the Sonic game that plays like classic Sonic.

Yes, Sonic Generations was good; loved it, in fact. Sonic: Lost Worlds, however, doesn’t just expand on the concept of Sonic Generations, it more rightly delivers on the promise of merging old and new Sonic.

Lost Worlds feels like classic Sonic, but yet, still manages to feel totally new. It’s the Sonic game we’d expect if Shigeru Miyamoto developed it. The world is incredibly vibrant, breathing new life into the Sonic series. The world rotates and spins with a purpose, and you never lose control over Sonic’s actions in exchange for a grotesque display of action. What’s more, the signature figure eight dash is back!

I played Desert Ruins Zone 3, and it’s not what you’d expect. It’s a play on words, with “desert” meaning “dessert,” as you race through a world of sweets laid out as if specific attention were paid to the effect of the geometrics as the world tilts and shifts, zooms in, zooms out. Speaking of the world, it’s trippier than a series featuring a blue hedgehog and several-woodland creatures has ever been given credit for.

Sonic runs on a course made out of what look like Twizzlers, confectionery delights adorning the backdrop, so slightly out of the depth of field but never out mind. The enemies are classic Sonic, but defeating them is a bit more complicated than usual. I died multiple times while trying to jump on the ants and ended up riding its back until it jettisoned me off, rings flying every each way. Oh, Sonic…How I missed you.

The most staggering change is the pacing. In fact, it takes some getting used to. Sonic no longer dashes through levels at breakneck speed, but moves at a more methodical pace. Think original Sonic the Hedgehog. This makes the gameplay more contemplative and less blitzkrieg.

As I got used to the Wii U’s controls, I eventually got better at the game. While it starts off slow, you’re rewarded with increased speed as you jump and spin dash your way through the zone. No speed boosts from the get-go here.

You move using the Wii U’s D-pad; the trigger button speeds you up for big jumps and loop-de-loops (I’ve always wanted to write that). The left trigger sends Sonic on his patented spin dash. Also new, is a parkour system, which allows Sonic to agilely move around and climb obstacles without losing momentum. Oh, the homing attack is still around too, but not as reliable as previous Sonic games.

The level I played didn’t give me a chance to get use out of the second screen on the Wii U controller, and if there was a use, it was additional and not necessary to the course of action. At any rate, I look forward to getting to know Sonic all over again when it releases this Holiday exclusively for the Wii U.