VERSION(S) REVIEWED: PC & WII U
Sonic Lost World
Written & Edited by: Prof. Purble & A Tomato
Published: 20th, February, 2022
Sonic Lost World is a 2D-3D platformer, released for Nintendo’s 8th gen consoles. The PC release is a port of the Wii U version with minor changes to UI and removed Nintendo-specific features.
The game ran without issues on my Ryzen 5 3600, RTX 3060, 16GB RAM system, at 1080p@60fps in Fullscreen mode. Graphics options are limited to resolution and toggling depth-of-field, shadows and grass.
All in all, the story took around 7 hours to complete.
In a high-speed pursuit going after Dr. Eggman, Sonic and Tails discover a phenomenon, known as the “Lost Hex,” and decide to explore this mysterious world.
This leads to the discovery of the Deadly Six, who are under the mad genius’ control. After Sonic knocks the only thing keeping them in check, the Deadly Six rise to take control over Eggman’s robots and turn them against him!
With no choice but to form a temporary alliance, Eggman, Sonic and Tails must find a way to stop the Deadly Six before something terrible happens!
Generally speaking, the plot can be described as loosely connecting several events together, and while one moment can be quite powerful, the impact of it is undermined by the next scene.
The Deadly Six on their own suffer from lack of character depth, let alone development, due to the narratives' short length. Instead, they feel lazily written with not much thought given to them, beyond just being Eggman wannabes, and their eye-rolling attempts at humour further diminished my interest for them.
Not all is bad however, the cutscenes between Sonic, Tails and Eggman can be quite amusing to watch and the delivery of lines are pretty good. Alas, it holds little weight when the story barely holds itself together.
Sonic in this game has a discrete “run” ability, where in past games, he runs by gradually picking up speed. When not in use, he will simply walk at a sluggish pace, with no momentum build-up at all, and makes running up and down slopes woefully unsatisfying. 2D sections are also made awkward by the movement - you can turn on a dime and keep all of your speed on the opposite heading, even when moving at full blast.
He does have access to the spin-dash, bringing him to his top speed from a standstill, as well as the Super Peel-Out - which, unfortunately, is nearly useless due to the level design and pacing.
Sonic can also run up and alongside walls and keep himself glued to them with enough momentum. Jumping from wall to wall keeps his speed up, allowing him to cover more distance before letting go. More likely, this ability simply doesn’t work as desired, either by not registering input, or by enabling itself whenever the blue hedgehog approaches any small ledge while running.
The Homing Attack now works by locking onto multiple enemies and destroying them in one attack move, but not only does this ruin the pacing, it also plainly misbehaves. You're likely to miss or otherwise compromise yourself by trying to strike like this, which isn't helped by some enemies outright shrugging off the homing attack. Sonic also has a kick move for those situations... which is just as fiddly and inconsistent.
Just to pour salt on the wound, homing targets can be stacked to deal much increased damage onto a single enemy. And even THAT doesn't click half the time!
Wisps capsules can be found mid-stage. Once collected, Sonic can activate the power at his command. A large portion of the Wisps abilities feel very experimental at best - none were especially good to use, and a fair chunk were too unwieldy or weak to be effective.
Containers can be found throughout stages where Sonic can free the little animals inside and add them to his headcount of total rescued. The final stage of an area requires a certain amount in order to progress, which leads to backtracking a couple times if you didn’t meet the required amount. Destroying badniks also frees up the captive critters inside them, encouraging you to destroy as many as possible with the rubbish Homing Attack.
As for the bosses, once you figure out the attack patterns, they’re a snoozefest with how easily they can be defeated. The real boss fights are Sonic's own disorientating physics and the surrounding environment, more than anything. Late-game levels especially get rather infuriating with the new physics.
The levels themselves are made up of a tubular-like blocky design, and this becomes a repeated theme that quickly overstays its welcome throughout the game.
Acts are weirdly titled Zones… So as to reduce confusion, I'll just be referring to the different areas of the game as, well, areas… At least the simple colour palette lets things pop and stand out better, giving each new place its own identity.
The UI annoyingly only appears for a brief moment when called upon, making it difficult to track the amount of time you have left in a stage. This leads me to go against my better judgement of taking too long to explore an area.
The character models are a slight upgrade from Sonic Generations and generally look great; however, the same cannot be said for the majority of the Deadly Six, whose designs are completely forgettable, and arguably don’t look like they belong in the game.
Animation quality is also hit or miss - some scenes could have spent extra time ironing out some lazy posing, and most egregiously, getting rid of Tails’ eyelids being used as eyebrows...
Additionally, the pre-rendered cutscenes weren’t scaled up for 1080p displays, so enjoy jagged 720p muddy videos.
As for the soundtrack, It takes on a Disney-like whimsical vibe. However, nothing stuck out as memorable to me, and some music pieces were quite repetitive. A very safe soundtrack, hardly offensive but also forgettable.
Ranks are unlocked in a separate Time Attack mode after beating the stage normally. The rank is rewarded based on how fast you completed the stage, ignoring all rings and obstacles in the process as these are not counted to your final score. You can compare your times with your friends or globally through an in-game leaderboard.
Up to five red rings can be found hidden throughout stages. Collecting every one in an area will unlock a chaos emerald. Getting all seven chaos emeralds will unlock Super Sonic and the ability to play as him in any stage.
Achievements are locked behind Omochao. Speaking to him grants you up to three challenges at a time to undertake. It seems weird to have achievements tied to doing arbitrary things like grabbing ledges or spin dashing a certain amount of times and yet, even though I probably fulfilled most achievements' descriptions, it didn’t count because Omochao hadn’t instructed me to do it yet. Along with completing the tasks, he gives you an item box you can utilise mid-stage, but rarely are these even worthwhile.
Sonic Lost World isn’t just underwhelming. It’s a bad game. The narrative, the gameplay and even the presentation to an extent, need a serious overhaul. Before you should even consider checking it out, I recommend you wait for a large discount and even then, don't expect anything grand.