Sonic Lost World on the 3DS is unlike any other Sonic game I’ve ever played before, which is both a good and a bad thing.
Generally I start a review by talking about the story, but given that this is a Sonic game, the story’s not worth dwelling on. It’s the first game in the series where Sonic and his arch-nemesis, Eggman, actually team up. Unfortunately, that’s about the only notable aspect of the plot.
The gameplay of Sonic Lost World makes up for the lackluster narrative, though. Lost World, like most of the recent 3D Sonic titles, has both 2D and 3D levels. The 2D levels play like the old Sonic titles, but a little different with the R button mechanics (more on that shortly). The 3D levels have a spherical levels, which makes it look like Super Mario Galaxy in a way, but it’s still a distinctly Sonic game.
To be honest with you, aside from the two Sonic Adventure titles and Sonic Colors, I’ve never really been into the 3D Sonic titles. I actually find them a bit too linear. But Sonic Lost World is a nice entry in the 3D Sonic games as it plays differently. It’s much more about exploration than straight-out speed, which I prefer.
Some of the levels can feel extremely fast, almost like roller coasters. By pressing the R button on the back of the 3DS, you can actually boost your speed and run up ledges and walls. This works in both the 2D and 3D levels. And when the stages are at their best, it feels like an on old-school Sonic title where you just let the speed take you places. But when the levels are at their worst, which some of the later stages tend to be, you actually feel inhibited from being fast. Sometimes, I even ran out of time in the levels, which has never happened to me before in a Sonic game. Ever. It was mostly because of some shoddy platforming sections that I had to really take my time with. It put a halt to the blue blaze that was jarring and unwelcome. I didn’t like that at all.
Also unwelcome are some of the bonus stages where you actually have to tilt your 3DS to get Sonic to fly about. These stages need to go. Tilting the 3DS to control Sonic is awkward, and often times, I’d just put my 3DS down and do something else until the timer ran out as I didn’t feel like flying about and using the motion controls. It was a nice attempt, but it just falls flat on its face.
The boss battles are also, for the most part, quite boring. They don’t feel as inventive as some of the levels in this game, and I just feel like they were a missed opportunity. With the departure of Dr. Eggman as the main antagonist, Sega had the chance to build villains that were more creative and distinct from previous games. None of these bosses, known collectively as The Deadly Six, are all that memorable. The battles are repetitive and offer little challenge.
Overall, though, if a Sonic fan asked me if Sonic Lost World on the 3DS was worth a look, I’d definitely say yes. It plays differently than pretty much every 3D Sonic game with the new speed boost and spherical levels, and some of it is really enthralling. Unfortunately, the bad weighs down the good, making it an above average, but only slightly. That said, if you’ve stuck with Sonic for this long, then you’ve definitely played a lot worse. If you’re a die-hard Sonic fan, and even if you’re not, Sonic Lost World is worth a look.
Platforms: 3DS (reviewed), Wii U
Developer: Sonic Team, Dimps