When I first saw this game, my eyebrow was raised high up, this was such an oddity to look at and the first thing to pop into my head was, “So this is Sonic’s version of Super Mario Galaxy?”. As someone who liked Sonic, this didn’t interest me in getting a Wii U, the console it was originally released on. So I skipped it until years later, where I realised I didn’t have the game and it’s quite pricey to get because it’s the bloody Wii U.
But Sega went and did the impossible: they released it on Steam. That…really was unexpected wasn’t it? I got the game via Humble Bundle so I’ll be reviewing that port instead.
Sonic Lost World (ソニックロストワールド Sonikku Rosuto Wārudo), developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. It was released in 2013 for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, and in 2015 on Steam.
Sonic and Tails chase after Dr. Eggman as he took a capsule full of animals. Eggman shoots Tails’ plane down and as they’re going down, they discover a new world called the Lost Hex. Sonic drops down there and off he goes. After Sonic makes his way through Windy Hill Zone, he finds out that Eggman enlisted six creatures of the Zeti race, known as The Deadly Six. Eggman is planning on “borrowing” some power from the world for evil things I guess.
However, in order for nothing to go wrong, Eggman controls the Deadly Six by using a magical conch. But Sonic kicks it away off Eggman and the Deadly Six attack Sonic, Tails as well as Eggman. The Deadly Six use the machine Eggman was using to “borrow” some power to take all of it so they can power themselves up. So it’s up to Sonic to fix the mess he caused.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, I hate this lazily written plot and I loathe every single character in this game EXCEPT FOR EGGMAN! Yep, I hate Sonic and Tails in this plot and it’s Sonic’s fault for screwing up everything that leads to this plot and Eggman gets reprimanded for constantly proving a point sometimes. I’ll talk about the Deadly Six later.
And now…for the game. The objective of the game is to travel through the lands of the Lost Hex, free the animals and beat the Deadly Six. Now, the level design. There was once a game Sonic Team was trying to develop for the Sega Saturn called Sonic X-Treme, which used near gravity-defining level design. This was cancelled for a number of reasons, mostly from being in development hell. And now Sonic Team will forever be blamed for trying to rip-off Nintendo.
There are seven worlds to go through. Here’s a children’s song for you guys: First land is grassy, Second world is sandy, Third world is watery, Forth world is snowy, Fifth world is jungly, the Sixth world is up in the sky and the Seventh world is a fiery place…I was so close but it’s good enough. But yeah, the themes are pretty generic, taking ideas from Mario are we?
The world that raised my eyebrow was the second world where the first level is desert-themed, then the second world is a forest-like world where he’s on auto-pilot and there are hives for honey…AND THEN the third level is a candy themed level called Dessert Land, that really p***** me off, that’s so inconsistent and makes no sense, I understand that you want to do something unique since you don’t want to bore players, but most of the worlds keep their themes to an extent, so why not this one?
Anyway, the level design…well, depending on where you are, is spherical tube designs, you can run around and perform tricks and such…apart from the 2.5D sections where it looks like they were sort of competently designed all around. Not to say the 3D sections aren’t, but I just didn’t enjoy most of the levels…OK, let me rephrase that. I like some of the levels when they work and I hate some that don’t. I hate the fact that Sega can’t seem to not have 2.5D sections, trying to get those classic Sonic fans, make them feel nostalgic, but it doesn’t work and with the topsy-turvy level design as it is, and bringing back classic enemies doesn’t help either.
In terms of difficulty, it varies. For me, I want to get from A to B so it was a novice experience, not too easy at times, but never hard…UNTIL SKY ROAD AND LAVA MOUNTAIN! These are where the game makes me realise how bad the level design can be and all you had to do was make the levels difficult. From the half-pipe sand ride to the grinding of small rails and missing them multiple times.
Trying to get 1-Ups are that hard but the moment you get to Sky Road, say goodbye to them and don’t always count on rings because you don’t get a life if you collect 100 rings…unless you got the patch for the Wii U version so that you can get a life from 100 rings and the Steam port has that feature too.
The controls vary in quality, Sonic can run, but you don’t automatically run, you instead hold a button to run…I don’t get it either but it’s not bad. The homing attack is back but if you want to hit multiple enemies at a fast pace, you can now target multiple enemies to do so, and it’s a very finicky feature considering that half the time, it doesn’t work and it has led to me getting hit multiple times.
During your homing, you can now kick to do heavy damage against the tougher enemies which is quite cool to do but I barely use it unless I have to. What I didn’t know was that you could charge your homing attacks for more heavy damage and I didn’t know that because there’s a poor tutorial and I’ll explain that later…acutally, I’ll explain it NOW!
In past Sonic games, like Sonic Generations, you had Omochao, who would tell you what to do and the game still goes on. But in Lost World, you have to press a question mark on the Wii U gamepad to read some advice, it completely stops the game and it can be annoying since you just want to get through the game. On Steam it’s the Select button on my Xbox 360 controller, but it’s still irritating.
But if you want what could be the most finicky move set, there are the parkour moves, where Sonic can run on a wall with enough speed. Problem is, it depends on how fast you are and Sonic doesn’t feel fast at all and even when you do have enough speed, it never feels like you’re going far. Thankfully, you don’t really need it to beat a level though it is mandatory in some levels. But it’s one of those features where I had a hard time trying to do it, and the tutorials are so vague that they don’t help much either. But then there are the 2D sections where you can also do parkour moves like running up walls, but that doesn’t work half the time, trying to run up a wall and the momentum disappears, did I do something wrong, what gives?
Do you want some items? Well you can get some…which is also finicky. So you collect items by doing objectives and such. You have a briefcase where you can old five items in them and during the game, you can stop and select the one you want. Do you want some invincibility, some more speed, a 1-Up, elemental shields? You can pick them. And this is the problem, you once again have to stop and do something and because I’m playing a Sonic game where the means of the game is “trying” to go fast, I always forget that briefcase is there until I’m rewarded an item when I then remember I had it.
The level design does not always work for the person who wants to experiment, you will get punished for doing so, leading to once again, trial and error, I hate this issue in games and it’s not fun. There are some fun levels but they overshadow some of the most annoying ones like hovering in the sky with controls that are either too loose or too tight, there’s no balance for them…and then Sega couldn’t be arsed and ripped-off Super Mario Sunshine of all games where he has to guide fruit to a blender. This is where I realised that the game has such an identity crisis. What’s the game’s purpose and why does the game work like this? How does it work? There are so many questions that I don’t think the game could answer.
But hey, at least Sega brought back the Wisps? Yeah, they’re back from Colours and they work the same as in that game. I’m guessing they saw the Wii U gamepad and saw some potential for them so you can use that to get around using them. But this is the Steam port so it’s just another pointless gimmick in a game filled with more gimmicks. I mean seriously, most of them are REALLY pointless and any sense of fun I could have with them are diminished because I’m not using the Wii U gamepad. The disadvantage of porting to other systems is that some features can be lost in translation and this is an example of that.
Now for the Deadly Six, you’ll fight them during the game and they’re all easy to beat, even with the trickiest patterns, they’re a no-brainer. But it’s the characters themselves, they are some of the most loathsome, stereotypical, one-dimensional, lazily made villains I have ever had to witness in a video game. The red guy is a meanie, the pink guy is crazy, the yellow one is fat and dumb, the blue one is that Chinese master, the green one is a girl and the purple one is depressed in the most insulting way possible, and their personalities are pretty much their attributes. They are so bad, I want to punch the writers who half-arsed these characters and the story overall, IT’S ALL F****** AWFUL!
The graphics…OK, the game ran on the Hedgehog Engine, just like Unleashed and Generations, but it had to be watered down for the Wii U because it couldn’t handle it because it’s the bloody Wii. Also, and I don’t know because I’m playing the Steam version, but when I tried to make it look HD by changing the resolution, it played very slowly but ran well on low settings but the picture looked fuzzy. My PC can run HD graphics well so this game must be a budget re-release in order to make back what was lost making a Wii U game, I understand Sega, I’m surprised other developers didn’t do the same *cough*Zombi*cough*.
As I said before, the level design is a complete mess, I don’t like it and it doesn’t fit with a character like Sonic, though the vibrant colours do.
The only good thing about the game is the music. Despite most of them not feeling like Sonic, I like a lot of them and I hum to some of the pieces. There you go, the only positive thing about the game.
Actually, that’s a lie. There’s another positive thing about the game: The Nightmare DLC, which was included in the Deadly Six Edition but has since been included on Steam. This is one level with you battling the Deadly Six again, only the theme is Nights, from Nights into Dreams. The bosses are similar to that game too…and I really need to get to that game now don’t I? When you complete it, you are rewarded with the new Wisp, Black Bomb, yet another useless Wisp. There are DLC based off The Legend of Zelda and Yoshi’s Island, but I’m playing the Steam version and those DLCs are based off properties by Nintendo, so I won’t be able to play them anytime soon.
Overall, Sonic Lost World is a calamity of a game, but it’s not the worst Sonic game I’ve ever played, that still goes to Sonic 06, it doesn’t mean I like the game. My enjoyability of the game is very sporadic, when the game worked and didn’t. I mean for goodness sake, Sonic Team had something right with Sonic Generations, why did they go back and experiment with this weird crap instead of taking small steps and making a Sonic game that is new but is still faithful to the series and people can go back to? If you want to try it out, then you’d either have to be a fan of Sonic or just really curious or have no problem playing the Steam version.
You can get it on the Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Steam.
So that’s it for 3D Sonic Month. August is on the way and I’ll be having a summer break, so no reviews in August. I’ll be back in September for another marathon, and it’s a series of games based on a manga/anime that took ages to get popular…I think some of you may know what I’m talking about…
You can also take a look at my Twitter page, if you like tweeting too.