When Sonic accidentally frees the Deadly Six from Dr. Eggman’s tyrannical control, the speedy blue hedgehog must form an unlikely alliance with his arch nemesis as they seek to avert the troublesome creatures from using Eggman’s machines to drain all life force from Sonic’s world.
This 3DS iteration treads similarly to that seen within the Wii U version, tracing the storyline through the same animated cutscenes and seeing you journey through the Lost Hex’s separate zones in the same order.
Beyond this, you can expect an entirely different experience, which, whilst staying true to Sonic Team’s intentions with their HD counterpart, sees Japanese studio Dimps once again employ their talents to serve up an accompanying handheld release that is equally worthy of your time.
Their experience with crafting Sonic Generations last year comes to the fore, blending 3D and 2D stages that will delight at every turn. Whether gently rolling apples into blenders for the resulting juice to make platforms rise, using Colour Powers to drill your way up whirlpools, snowboarding down wintery climbs, or free falling through tropical jungle climbs, such surprises remain key set pieces to spur you through Sonic’s quest.
Yet level design can regularly flit between the mundane to the exhilarating, an over-reliance on strategic puzzles sometimes largely feeling at odds within a franchise that many so readily expect the emphasis to be placed on speed. Underwater levels frustrate, Dimps placing far too many enemies in your way that sees you scrambling for invaluable air bubbles, whilst challenges block your progression far too often – requiring you to roll spherical objects (apples, snowballs, etc) into holes or onto switches, or defeating a set number of foes before a teleport becomes available for you to move onward.
New Parkour movements, which see you climbing up and running along walls, feel far more responsive than on Wii U, with Colour Power controls equally seeing better implementation, even if some of the powers themselves – such as the Indigo Asteroid – leave a little to be desired.
Stage completion rewards you with materials which can be used in Tails’ Lab to create RC Vehicles, which can be transported across to the Wii U version where a second player can put them to use. Whereas StreetPass sees you exchange score, time and ring attack challenges with any other plays that you cross paths with, alongside a Four-player VS Mode seeing you pitted against either local or online players across similar circumstances.
Sonic Lost World‘s special stages, perhaps the game’s most significant stroke of genius, see the blue blur propelled into space, putting to use the handheld’s built-in motion and gyro sensors as players tilt and turn their 3DS in all directions to catapult the spritely hedgehog toward floating orbs, success of which rewarding you with signature Chaos Emeralds.
And so Dimps have delivered their own bold, vibrant take on Sonic Team’s vision for Sonic Lost World, resulting in a 3DS title that excites in equal measure. Whilst not the perfect formation of ideas that many have long awaited, this is still a strong continuation of the modernised series for fans and newcomers alike to pour many an hour into.