This isn’t a Sonic game for everyone. In fact, even with Sonic’s polarizing history, this will probably be even more of a mixed bag than Unleashed when gamers reflect on it in years to come. So with that, I’m here to cast my vote and say that it’s a good game, as long as you play it how it wants to be played.
Sonic Lost World does not play like any other Sonic game in the series. Its got its own thing going on, mixing some classic elements like the spin-dash (Sonic Adventure style), Wisp power-ups (Sonic Colors) and new elements like the parkour system. And to be honest, until you get a firm grasp on all of them, Lost World probably won’t be fun for you, which can be seen when you look at all of the grumpy IGN and Gamespot reviewers, complaining that the game is “hard” and blah blah blah. I’m not going to lie, I was planning to be among that sorry group of reviewers up until halfway through the game, when everything finally clicked into place and the adventure finally started feeling natural, and subsequently fun.
First off, Sonic’s speed is all but gone. You will not be boosting, you will be leisurely jogging, albeit with Sonic’s feet turning into a misleading figure-eight symbol (a la Sonic CD). Do not be fooled, however, as without a boost pad, Sonic is doing no more than sauntering through levels. Even the spin-dash is pretty slow. Most of Sonic’s real speed in Lost World is found in the parkour system, which is extremely hard to use, but easy to master. Once you learn its spotty mechanics and touchy frame-connection points, using the new feature becomes a cinch. This is where Sonic’s real speed comes into play, with him zipping across walls, ricocheting across springs and briefly returning to his speedy self. But because of the parkour mechanic’s insane touchiness, most reviewers avoided it, thus robbing themselves of the only real (non-scripted) speed to be had in Lost World.
The Wisp power-ups return from Sonic Colors, and are all really pointless inclusions that do almost nothing for the level design, with the exceptions of the returning Orange Rocket Wisp which is used to discover interesting new locations, and the new Red Eagle Wisp which can be used to bypass some of the game’s more irksome sections at a moderate pace (looking at you, Silent Forest Zone 1).
As far as difficulty curve, the thing that almost every review has been hammering Lost World for, I’m here to say that if you are truly competent at video games then Lost World should be a breeze of a platformer. Sure, some of the deaths are cheap, but aside from a few late-game bottomless pit scenarios Lost World is extremely fair, in my humble opinion. The game’s tight controls leave you at fault for any deaths you may suffer, and the curve itself is pretty good, starting out at piss-easy and revving up to the point where collecting red rings can become downright brutal, which means an actual challenge for a change.
In terms of plot, it’s simple, full of holes and nothing special. However, the script is absolutely fantastic and actually got me to chuckle a few times. Eggman actually says some pretty dark stuff (genocide and whatnot), one of the Zetis makes an anorexia comment, and the humor is surprisingly black for a Sonic title. It’s a breath of fresh air from the overly-cute Colors and Generations scripts. There’s even some really fun corny stuff that’s chuckle-worthy instead of the usual cringe-worthy.
Should you get a Wii U for it? I did, but only because Smash Bros. is on the horizon (and Bayonetta 2); so if you haven’t already I recommend picking this game up with a Wii U to, at bare minimum, serve as a fun appetizer for the system’s ever-expanding library. Not to mention it’s a solid enough game in and of itself.