So fresh, so blue.
Sonic may no longer be in his prime, but he’s still the fast, blue hedgehog everyone loved in the '90s. He has plenty more juice left in the tank, as proven by Sonic: Lost World at this year's E3. After an unfortunate few years of struggling to maintain his momentum, he is back with something special for fans of Sonic and platforming alike.
Sonic: Lost World is a natural progression for the series. It’s as thrillingly fast-paced as the games that come before it but presents a constant barrage of challenges that utilize geometrical space to keep you on your toes. Each level is complex in its design; one minute you’re heading forward on a three-dimensional cylinder, and the next you’re playing Sonic in classic fashion from a 2D side-scrolling perspective.
Don’t be intimidated by the game’s progressive level design, though; this is still Sonic. You still get to have your perfect platforming sequences halted by robotic enemies. You even get to save animals during your progress through stages. These charming qualities are further enhanced by the game’s colorful and clairvoyant visuals.
You’re encouraged to beat levels quickly, but there is equal emphasis on exploration to find hidden routes. Obtaining high scores is rewarded with collectibles. Going back and playing a stage for a second time with the knowledge you’ve gained is a great idea if you want to get most out of the game.
There are some ways that Sega plans to mix up the gameplay. Mechanics such as levels that remove your ability to stop moving hint at inspiration from classic Sonic’s bonus stages. Map designs are varied with tons of themes ranging from the familiar Green Zone to a stage that are made of enough candy to give you a sweettooth.
The game’s puzzling Wii U and 3DS exclusivity sparks some issues, though. The Wii U’s GamePad functionality is limited to referential data such as a world map. The game looks good but will be outclassed by other games this Fall.
To put it simply, the Wii U and 3DS have a quality Sonic title coming. If you’re a fan of the series it’s well worth being excited about, granted you have a current-gen Nintendo platform. Sonic: Lost World will release on October 13, 2013.