Sonic Lost World 3DS Review: Painfully Fun

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sonic lost world 3ds

Title: Sonic Lost World
Price: $39.99
System(s): 3DS
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Sega (Dimps)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for Mild Cartoon Violence

We’ve reached a point in time where each Sonic the Hedgehog installment is approached with caution, rather than celebrated. Fans have been burned before, with spin-offs, variations, and cash-grabs that have left the series with a dubious legacy. Which is why I was cautiously optimistic when I first heard about Sonic Lost World . It seemed promising, but I have been burned before. Still, you have to take chances and while this isn’t a perfect game, it is certainly an challenging and entertaining one.

sonic lost world 3ds

Sonic vs. Eggman vs. The Deadly Six

Sonic Lost World begins in medias res. Sonic and Tails are in their byplane, chasing after Doctor Eggman. He’s captured some animals, as usual, and is making a getaway. Sonic demands he drop them, so he drops the canister to the land below. Which, surprisingly enough, turns out to be Lost Hex. It’s a region of Sonic’s World that apparently is hard to find. Eggman damages the byplane, and Sonic and Tails are forced to make a crash landing.

While exploring Lost Hex, saving captured and transformed animals, and looking for Eggman, Sonic encounters strange beings called the Deadly Six. They’re monsterous figures working with Eggman for some unknown reason, and everyone’s after the hedgehog. You have to be smart and fast to avoid them and save the day.

sonic lost world 3ds

You may throw your 3DS

Sonic Lost World is hard. Nintendo-hard. Though the first few levels are fairly simple, and act as a tutorial, the rest will not hesitate to lure you in with bright, colorful, and cool surroundings, then drop you like a rock into a 30 foot well. This game may be rated “Everyone 10+,” but it should be rated “Mature” for the kind of language it will force you to use. I was playing on Normal, and I can’t even fathom what the Hard difficulty level would be like.

It’s a true 3D platformer, though the stages offer quite a bit of variety. Most can be best described as a Super Mario Galaxy take on Sonic the Hedgehog levels, but others are on-rails snowboarding levels, 2.5D areas inspired by the original games, and there’s even one level that involves dropping apples into holes. Though some are unconventional, they all work mostly well and share a common difficulty. I enjoyed the assortment, but could see some people finding more unorthodox levels tedious.

It’s important to note how difficult Sonic Lost World is, going in, because it’s a drastic change from most recent Sonic titles. The game controls quite well, with an intuitive control scheme, though I found some color wisp powers took a little practice. Replaying completed areas is a surprising necessity, in order to ensure your skills are up to par for later levels, and there were times when I was ready to give up in the first three worlds and admit the game defeated me.

Still, I can’t fault Sonic Lost World for my own ineptitude. (Even though there are a few cases where I think Dimps purposely altered the gap perception, so you’d think you could make a jump when you really couldn’t, and it’d take you 2 or 3 lives to realize what you’re doing wrong.) There are really only two things I can fault it for, and one is terrible gyroscopic controls. The 3DS version of Sonic Lost World has special bonus levels, in which the Chaos Emeralds are hidden. You’re supposed to guide Sonic through the air by moving the system, grabbing a certain number of orbs before time runs out, to reveal the gem.

That will not happen. You will instead contort yourself into the most bizarre positions, attempting the right angle to propel towards each orb. Don’t even think about trying this while sitting. You need a good, clear, 3 foot by 3 foot area in which you can perform an interpretive dance that will help Sonic acquire each Sonic Lost World bonus level gem.

The other is a camera that can be your best friend or worst enemy. As I’ve mentioned before, Sonic Lost World will probably make you cry by the second area. (Or at least curse.) The camera doesn’t help matters, as it’s locked into one position and if Sonic happens to get behind an object, or you approach a jump or enemy the wrong way, you have moments where you don’t see a thing. This is especially harmful in some areas of Desert Ruins and Silent Forest.

Fortunately, there are little power-ups to help you along the way. Sonic Lost World takes a note from more recent Nintendo games and offers something of a Super Guide. Die enough times in a level, and a special RC Vehicle will appear. Activate it, and it will shoot enemies in Sonic’s way, while also making him invincible. I admit to using it a few times. Completed levels (and Play Coins) also provide materials, which Tails can use to make power-ups or other vehicles to help Sonic survive. So there is a small edge, but some may not find it enough.

sonic lost world 3ds

Sonic Lost World hurts so good

It has been a long time since a Sonic the Hedgehog game has been able to reduce me to a piteous creature, screaming obscenities and attempting to explain to anyone around me, regardless of our familiarity, how the game cheated. As strange as it sounds, I’ve missed that. Sonic Lost World on the 3DS is a throwback to the tough as nails Sonic games we grew up with. While the Chaos levels with their wretched, mandatory, gyroscopic controls are a blotch on this game reputation, I still still say Sonic Lost World is one of the better installments in the series.

Site [Sonic Lost World]

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