Sonic Lost World is Sega’s latest attempt to not only lift up the Wii U, but to also get old Sonic fans to love the Blue Blur again. Deciding to take some ideas from Mario Galaxy and aim for a somewhat more classic style, while also making a more condensed 3DS version to go alongside it, Sega combats it’s struggle for a quality 3D Sonic title. Unfortunately The Sonic Cycle strikes again, and we are left with a game that is a hot mess of a somewhat enjoyable game.

    The game starts with Sonic on a planet that doesn’t appear to be the one they are actually from but he discovers that something is amiss and that Eggman is at the center of it.  Eggman has hired the help of beings called the Zeti, who are under his control through the use of a conch, Sonic of course without understanding the sitaution, carelessly knocks it away. Now Sonic has to clean up his mess and stop the Zeti from destroying all life on the planet. The game seems to take a few ideas from the Mario Galaxy and 3D Land/World games with the World Map interface, which let you move around a map and select levels. Sometimes items like extra lives can be picked up here. You also find Chaos that will give you ‘requests’, which act as a sort of achievement system. Unfortunately, the last level of every zone is gated by the number of animals freed from capsules or defeated enemies in the levels. The requirement increases by about 500 every world, and it’s only a matter of time before players will be forced to grind for more animals. Not a big deal, but it’s still unnecessary. Protip:There is one level in particular where you can farm both animals and lives, in the Tropical Coast 1. The worlds themselves have four levels each.

    As for the gameplay, the game takes more elements from recent Mario titles and now the levels sometimes have the ability to rotate as if you were on a little slice of planet. But this concept isn’t really taken far enough in the levels that use it. Some levels are classic 2D side-scrolling affairs to balance this out though. Unfortunately in the 3D levels, levels are not really well designed with the way the game controls. Sonic can still do spin dashes,run and double jump, but he can also kick enemies into others and do multiple homing attacks. The trouble comes from how sometimes the homing beacon is inaccurate or it manages to get you killed. Double jumping also seems to kill your momentum which makes clearing some gaps trickier than they need to be. To run effectively, you have to hold down a ‘Dash’ button. The button also lets you run up the sides of walls, but many times it will kick in when you don’t want it too, again leading to accidental deaths. If Sonic’s default running speed wasn’t so slow, holding the button down and having these things happen would be less frequent. It just seems half-baked.

    Also to add insult to injury, Sonic no longer gains extra lives after collecting 100 rings, although there has been a recent patch that fixes this, among other tweaks to make the game easier. But it just seems like a band-aid to fix a problem that should have never existed to begin with. And it can’t fix the level design, which is unsuitable for the collecting it expects players to do. This is because there are also 5 Star Medals to find in each level, and once you collect them all, you unlock Super Sonic. It should be noted that Super Sonic has glitches of it’s own, like having a second mouth. By comparison, with the little bit of the 3DS demo version I played, it’s a much more polished game, despite compressed video and smaller levels.

    The music thankfully fares better, and the Sega Sound Team can really crank out those tunes. And when the level designs do work, they work really well. But ultimately, Sonic Lost World for the Wii U is a decent game with some serious issues holding it back. It’s a better recommendation to rent it than plunking down the current asking price, especially since it can be completed in a solid weekend.

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