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Sonic: Lost World Wii U review

Where there's a quill, there's a way

Medieval scholars believed hedgehogs used their spines to collect food, often depicting the critters rolling over fallen grapes and apples to skewer them as snacks for later. It's a barmy notion that befits Sonic's latest adventure and the way it wantonly picks up new ideas as it barrels along. Over the course of eight hours we've bounced off rubbery sheep, slid along rails of strawberry liquorice, hidden from a robo-owl's death glare and escaped tornadoes. Hell, we've even made like the medieval rodent and filched apples, guiding them to giant fans ready to mulch them into foaming cider fountains.

It also appears Sonic Team sent its hedgehog rolling through Nintendo's recycling bin, emerging with Super Mario Galaxy design documents stuck to his spines. As much as it denies the link - the spherical rolling worlds are like Monkey Ball's, according to one fibber - the real debt is clear from the off. The spherical planetoids, the flying animations between them, the world-flipping gravity in the 2D stages, the brassy big band soundtrack... Lost World is about as original as Dolly the Sheep 2. Select the Japanese voice track and Sonic even emits a helium "Waahoo!" as he flies through the air. The brazen git!

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Good on him, we say. If you're going to steal - and most games do - make sure it's from the best. In the 3D platforming field, Galaxy is the cream of the crop; a game so far beyond Sonic's own 3D offerings it's not even funny. If anything, it shows us how good a supercharged HD Galaxy could look. Wii U gives us planetoids bigger than some of Mario's Wii stages in their entirety; climbing a tree in the first stage and watching giant windmills grinding away on the horizon is lip-wibblingly lovely. Hopping down from the tree and sprinting over is suitably liberating (as long as you ignore the ugly pop-in that plagues the larger stages).

Pace Yourself

The most important lesson learned from Mario is, controversially, to slow down. Ever since he entered the third dimension Sonic has struggled to balance his characteristic speed and the control we expect in a platformer. Navigating knotty levels with his natural acceleration was often like trying to perform a three-point turn in a drag racer. Sonic Team's solution? Give Sonic a gas pedal and put us in control of acceleration. They have, in effect, borrowed Mario's run button. Seems so obvious, right?

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Sonic's resulting 'slow game' is the best it's been since the Mega Drive days. You're free to potter about environments sniffing out secrets - there are five red coins and various Flickie containers hidden in every stage - and bound around platforms with a responsive double jump. There's none of that awkwardness where he splats snout-first into brick walls, or where doubling back to grab a missed ring is like reversing a juggernaut. For the first time ever, Sonic is... dependable. Squeeze the right trigger, however, and chaos floods back into the world.

Sonic's legs become a figure of eight blur - a cute animation touch - and he develops sudden parkour powers. Running into straight surfaces sprints him up and over, while approaching from an angle launches into a wall run. He's basically the Prince of Persia minus the baggy trousers. You're not as graceful as our Arabian friend, mind, with slightly stilted animations never quite weaving fluidly into one, long natural flow.

Wall running also proves an inexact science, failing regularly enough to dissuade us from obvious vertical shortcuts and tempting ring hauls festooning the higher surfaces.

The Blue Blur

The faster Sonic gets, the wonkier he becomes. Moving left and right (essential for dodging incoming obstacles) decreases his speed just enough to prove jarring, almost punishing you for doing anything other than running in a straight line. The effect is amplified on tubular levels in which the camera rotates in automatic increments, furthering the rigid, digital feel of his movement. We also struggled with his homing attack locking on too late or attacking enemies in awkward sequence. That Sonic still relies on lock-on speaks of Sonic Team's continued failure to get its head around 3D combat.

Many of these are problems associated with previous Sonic games and, to be fair, they are less pronounced here. As with those games, repeat play smooths over many of those rough edges as you adapt to Sonic's weird rhythms and learn levels by rote. Lost World builds this process into its structure with a separate Time Trial mode. Taking Story mode at a leisurely pace, exploring the various crannies for well-hidden secrets, sets you up for the later speedruns, by which point you've learned the lay of the land and need never take a finger off the run trigger.

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Comments

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  1. alexjones94 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 09:45

    Controversially, I don't think I've ever enjoyed playing any Sonic game - 2D or 3D - and as a character I think he's pretty loathsome. I'm sure the Sonic die-hards will lap this up, and I'm sure for many others it'll be a solid platformer, but it's not for me.

  2. MatthewONM Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 09:49

    Controversially, I don't think I've ever enjoyed playing any Sonic game - 2D or 3D - and as a character I think he's pretty loathsome. I'm sure the Sonic die-hards will lap this up, and I'm sure for many others it'll be a solid platformer, but it's not for me.


    I'm with you on Sonic - really not a fan, which is why I was so surprised to find myself enjoying it.

  3. Nubgan Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 09:54

    In all honesty (and I said this months ago when it was announced) this is how Sega should have done Sonic in the 3rd dimension to begin with. Looks great, but I am going to have to wait, so much to play on my 3DS right now D:

  4. Mahzes Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 09:55

    The funny thing is, I'm in an opposite situation; I've been a huge Sonic fan for nearly twenty years, and I'm really not enjoying this much at all. :/

  5. Emperix Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 09:58

    I played this a couple of times at this year's Summer of Sonic and I must admit that I walked away feeling that it was slightly underwhelming. A few control niggles really make themselves apparent; the run button (although you could equate this to the boost button from previous games, so might not take too long getting used to), the elimination of the side-step and the fact that, on the Wii U version, Sonic slows down tremendously when you turn (on the 3DS, he continues the flow at the same speed).

    It was one of those rare cases where I felt that the handheld version worked better than the console one, and further evidence that Dimps have a much better idea how to make a Sonic game than Sonic Team. Depressing.

  6. tomonm Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 10:05

    I played this a couple of times at this year's Summer of Sonic and I must admit that I walked away feeling that it was slightly underwhelming. A few control niggles really make themselves apparent; the run button (although you could equate this to the boost button from previous games, so might not take too long getting used to), the elimination of the side-step and the fact that, on the Wii U version, Sonic slows down tremendously when you turn (on the 3DS, he continues the flow at the same speed).

    It was one of those rare cases where I felt that the handheld version worked better than the console one, and further evidence that Dimps have a much better idea how to make a Sonic game than Sonic Team. Depressing.

    I must admit that when I played it for ten minutes at Nintendo's post E3 event in London, I found it fiddly. Nintendo's offerings - Super Mario 3D World and donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze were so much easier to pick up and play. But I wonder if these events are the best way to play games. Matthew played this for days and died on countless occasions yet still enjoyed it.

  7. FamilyGAMEGuy8 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 10:11

    So I take it I'm the only one that WANTED the games to slow down. The Unleashed gameplay was good but three games in a row of the same thing was getting old. While I haven't played Lost World, it looks like a breath of fresh air and a return to the Adventure style gameplay which I prefer.

  8. alexjones94 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 10:13

    I'm with you on Sonic - really not a fan, which is why I was so surprised to find myself enjoying it.


    From footage I've seen, it still looks like he's got his usual fiddly, almost unwieldily moveset that's always bothered me. To my mind, it feels plodding if you slow him down, but impossible to control satisfyingly when he's tearing it up. It certainly looks like a polished, well-made game though, so I can see how someone who "clicks" with Sonic more than I do could really enjoy it.

  9. manic221 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 11:15

    Looking forward to giving this a go i'm not a massive Sonic fan but the trailers and gameplay i've seen have looked promising so far... One of my common niggles with Sonic is that he was uncontrollable fast to the point the games where frustrating to play... People say Unleashed speed levels where good i hated them because to me they where to fast and a mess in all honesty.

    The fact they've give me the acceleration button actually cheers me up somewhat because it means i can take the game at my own pace learn the mechanics and once I've mastered then i can hit that boost button and fly through levels in the same way you start off taking Mario levels slowly but before you know it you're holding the run button through every level.

    So yeah i'm looking forward to giving this a go.

  10. CyberGW Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 11:20

    I too played this at an event and found it pretty fiddly.
    However I've still taken the plunge. I think it may just take some getting used to. Some levels do look very fun and I'm sure once you've mastered the sensitivity of movement in this game, all of them will become fun.
    Agree with Matthew's review much more than the likes of IGN. Seems much fairer taking more stuff into consideration.

  11. Owz_The_Future Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 11:34

    Sonic Generations was a great 3D sonic game. This seems...slow. May give this a try in due course, but it's not on my to buy list just yet.

  12. toffeeman30 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 12:12

    the difficulty has warmed me to this game. it doesnt look perfect, but no game is

  13. Gargravarr Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 14:00

    I think I'm going to wait for this. Looks decent an everything, but there are other games I'd rather spend my money on right now.

  14. E123-Fawful Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 14:19

    I too played this at an event and found it pretty fiddly.
    However I've still taken the plunge. I think it may just take some getting used to. Some levels do look very fun and I'm sure once you've mastered the sensitivity of movement in this game, all of them will become fun.
    Agree with Matthew's review much more than the likes of IGN. Seems much fairer taking more stuff into consideration.

    I think Matthew ACTUALLY covered the game and as Tom said Matthew played it for a while.
    IGN gave it to a guy who HADN'T covered the game at all. Not to mention IGN gave Sonic Unleashed LOWER than '06.
    In fact it was the same "Reviewer" that downgraded New Super Luigi U for "being DLC" and he complained that Sonic was either "Too Slow" or "Too Fast" despite SEGA saying you could go slow to explore or go fast to do speed running competitions and try and get the best time. Sounded like a bit of a whiny brat where as this review was actually a review.

    The fiddly part will be dealt with as you play the game for a longer period of time. I remember Mario Galaxy felt fiddly at first then I got into it.

  15. blu fire Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 15:25

    Theres been a lot of mixed reviews for this game. only ONM, Famitsu and Eurogamer have given positive reviews. I personally am still getting the game as it still looks and feels likea fun,good sonic game.

  16. Pyron12 Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 15:26

    I too played this at an event and found it pretty fiddly.
    However I've still taken the plunge. I think it may just take some getting used to. Some levels do look very fun and I'm sure once you've mastered the sensitivity of movement in this game, all of them will become fun.
    Agree with Matthew's review much more than the likes of IGN. Seems much fairer taking more stuff into consideration.

    I think Matthew ACTUALLY covered the game and as Tom said Matthew played it for a while.
    IGN gave it to a guy who HADN'T covered the game at all. Not to mention IGN gave Sonic Unleashed LOWER than '06.
    In fact it was the same "Reviewer" that downgraded New Super Luigi U for "being DLC" and he complained that Sonic was either "Too Slow" or "Too Fast" despite SEGA saying you could go slow to explore or go fast to do speed running competitions and try and get the best time. Sounded like a bit of a whiny brat where as this review was actually a review.

    The fiddly part will be dealt with as you play the game for a longer period of time. I remember Mario Galaxy felt fiddly at first then I got into it.


    I take it then it was frowned upon at IGN...

  17. E123-Fawful Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 15:28

    Even after all of the articles and videos they did about "Why you should get Sonic:Lost World" and "Why slow is Good".
    At least be consistent with previous content!

  18. liveswired Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 18:09

    This game is pure tripe. ONM would give this 40% if it was not a Nintendo exlusive. Shame on you.

  19. sonicka Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 19:31

    Even after all of the articles and videos they did about "Why you should get Sonic:Lost World" and "Why slow is Good".
    At least be consistent with previous content!


    Exactly, it was pretty bizarre to read that review on IGN after their hype train building up the game. Shame they hardly mentioned the features and focused primarily on what they didn't like in comparison to the Boost Trilogy of Sonic games. Even weirder was them comparing certain elements/mechanics to Mario Galaxy but then bitching on why it shouldn't be in Sonic: LW when there is clearly no issue with it in the game itself.

    This game is pure tripe. ONM would give this 40% if it was not a Nintendo exlusive. Shame on you.


    See; wrong.

    If ONM can score Nintendo games under 90% (which it has on many accounts) then I feel that it's a pretty reliable source for unbiased reviews.

  20. ploiper Friday 18th Oct 2013 at 19:40

    im really really enjoying this so far, got both the wii u version and the 3ds version today and I am really enjoying them both. just finding it all a lot of fun, don't really have any niggles about it, would like sonic to go a bit faster. butt other than that, no niggles for me.

  21. dave666 Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 09:55

    I am really enjoying this game so far, the music is just beautiful, the controls are tight, the difficulty is perfect, and the levels are gorgeous. I was grinning from ear to ear when I first put a giant apple into a giant blender.

    At first I had no intention of getting the 3DS version, but after playing this and enjoying as much as I have, I need more.

    I have seen both the gamespot and IGN reviews and to be honest I am shocked, either they have really bad taste in games, or don't know how to play sonic lost world properly. What I will say is that at times, sonic lost world can be pretty tough, but I have not come up against anything I couldn't overcome with timing and skill and that's what I want in a sonic game.

    At looks as though most gamers are aware of IGN and gamespot's inconsistent reviews, the dislike's on youtube are 2000+

    To make things worse in the IGN review said the game was to slow, but made NO mention of the spin charge ? so the way I see it these websites are misinforming people, surly these kind of amateur reviews must hurt their credibility ?

  22. Richard Bates Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 10:23

    im finding it to be a very poor game, 65% at most, certainty not 80% !!!

  23. thewindwaker01 Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 11:07

    Ign gave lost world 5.8 out of ten for sonic being to slow...

  24. E123-Fawful Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 12:02

    From what I've seen of it it seems a bit higher than 80% but I'll reserve judgement for when I've played it.
    Which will be around Christmas.
    It seems that if you know what you're doing you'll be fine. Unlike the terrible reviews from IGN and Gamespot.

  25. raindash44 Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 12:40

    Still couldn't let go of the Mario comparisons ay? ONM. I like to see you guys try and enjoy a Sonic game for what it is with out comparing to Mario for once maybe. At lest it's better than IGN's review of the game which was just complaing how slow Sonic is in the game.

  26. LFOB Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 14:15

    At least Sonic Team have managed to make a good game for once in about eight years.

  27. E123-Fawful Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 14:17

    Colours? Unleashed? Generations?
    They were all good fun.

  28. Gargravarr Saturday 19th Oct 2013 at 14:41

    Half of Unleashed was fun. The other half (which really felt more like two thirds due to longer stages) just became a slog for me.

  29. imbusydoctorwho Sunday 20th Oct 2013 at 14:58

    I agree with Matthew, the score of 80% is about right.
    Really enjoying the game but boy isn't it hard.

  30. MatthewONM Monday 21st Oct 2013 at 08:31

    Still couldn't let go of the Mario comparisons ay? ONM. I like to see you guys try and enjoy a Sonic game for what it is with out comparing to Mario for once maybe. At lest it's better than IGN's review of the game which was just complaing how slow Sonic is in the game.


    Dude, it's a compliment! Mario sets the standard for 3D platformers, Sonic should be chuffed that I would mention them in the same review (something I wouldn't normally do). The best bits of Lost World are when its most like Galaxy (careful platforming, levels packed with silly ideas, polished production values). The more it becomes like a traditional Sonic game (clumsy running, rubbish power-ups and transformations), the worse it gets.

  31. tomonm Monday 21st Oct 2013 at 08:37

    This game is pure tripe. ONM would give this 40% if it was not a Nintendo exlusive. Shame on you.

    I shouldn't bother responding to accusations of boas but I will say that we have Sonic Generations a good review, despite it only being released for the 3DS. It was available in HD on other consoles.

  32. MatthewONM Monday 21st Oct 2013 at 08:48

    This game is pure tripe. ONM would give this 40% if it was not a Nintendo exlusive. Shame on you.


    Snore.

  33. Grant Jones Monday 21st Oct 2013 at 09:24

    I don't think Sonic can win either way. People moan when he is all about speed, then moan when he slows down. Sonic Adventure was loathsome when it slowed down, the only fun character to use was Knuckles. I don't know what they was thinking putting Tails in a robot. So they brought it back to the twitch-heavy, reaction-based gameplay in Sonic Adventure 2 and that was generally well received by Dreamcasters. I thought Sonic Heroes was a decent game, but some complained it was too stop-start, and I think for a series with so many entries, the best games are still on the Mega Drive and the GBA.
    Judging by this review, it looks as though Sonic is finally comfortable in 3D. Personally though, I think Sonic as a franchise should be rested for a few years.

  34. E123-Fawful Monday 21st Oct 2013 at 10:25

    Wow.
    Just wow.
    Seen other reviews and one of them complained about getting Game Overs and losing rings when you get hit. :roll:
    That reviewer should either stop playing games or go back to Angry Birds and CoD.

    Sonic can never win. Some people think he's all speed but you earn the speed and sometimes the fastest way is to go the top path as it skips massive portions of levels. He was always about platforming and exploring to find secrets. Even in the classic games to get the Chaos/Super Emeralds.

  35. koopatroopa69 Wednesday 23rd Oct 2013 at 14:00

    I used to love sonic as a kid playing the originals on my master system though after playing mario the mushroom kingdom has taken most of the love away from sonic and co though im tempted to get this as it does look good maybe I would be more interested if there was a demo on the e-shop as it certainly worked on me with Rayman Legends

  36. liveswired Tuesday 29th Oct 2013 at 20:58

    This game is pure tripe. ONM would give this 40% if it was not a Nintendo exlusive. Shame on you.

    I shouldn't bother responding to accusations of boas but I will say that we have Sonic Generations a good review, despite it only being released for the 3DS. It was available in HD on other consoles.

    Sonic Generations is a very good game. Regardless Tom - I am fully expecting Mario 3D World to receive 110% to compensate - as there is no way in hell this badly designed rubbish is within 20% of it.

    You say it is fun? I won't argue with that opinion as it can be fun 'at times'. But there are obvious poor game play, control and design decisions, level design is often terrible - I would expect a game achieving 80% to be nearly great in all respects. Sonic LW is a maximum 70% at best. But again it is your opinion and so I shall respect that.

  37. Rob151 Tuesday 29th Oct 2013 at 22:09

    Although I'm too poor for a wii u I've seen walkthrough vids on you tube (not sat down and watched the entire game just bits) and it looks a lot of fun. Minus the galaxy mini globes it does look like how an old school level like mushroom hill zone with you running on suspended levels. I REALLY want to play this after seeing it in action....guess I gotta start saving the pennies

  38. Brawlftw Saturday 2nd Nov 2013 at 18:26

    I very much agree with ONM on the point that it totally rips off Mario Galaxy, but I would penalise it more than the team did for that. In a (sad) world where Mario Galaxy didn't exist and the idea was original, I could happily give the game a score around 80%. But it rips off waaaay too much, and the fact that Mario Galaxy does exist makes this game totally overshadowed by it. The hilarious thing is that it doesn't even look better in terms of graphics. Yet more evidence to suggest that unless team Sonic focus on more awesome 2D games (e.g. Sonic Rush) then they should just call it a day and pull the plug on their character. Not saying that the game is awful, but unless they can come up with their own ideas then they really should just quit.

  39. E123-Fawful Saturday 2nd Nov 2013 at 18:45

    Sonic Xtreme did it before Galaxy despite it being cancelled.
    Also Some levels in Sonic Adventure 2 had the Gravity effect.
    If it's their best seller why should they quit?
    Why do Activision carry on letting Call of Duty be released despite it having nothing new each year? It makes them a ton of money. Why should SEGA stop letting a Sonic come out if it's their best earner?
    And while I'm not one to judge graphics first I have to say this: Sonic Lost World looks much better than Mario Galaxy. And not because it runs 1080p and 60 fps (I don't care about that stuff. If I did I would probably be one of those snobbish PC elitists). Look at the backgrounds.
    Mario Galaxy = Space and Stars.
    Sonic Lost World = Motif that fits the world you're in (Green Hill like area for Windy Hill).
    Guess which one is more Taxing. Here's a hint. It released last month and has a Blue Hedgehog in it.

  40. FrancisDaAwesome Tuesday 5th Nov 2013 at 21:39

    Controversially, I don't think I've ever enjoyed playing any Sonic game - 2D or 3D - and as a character I think he's pretty loathsome. I'm sure the Sonic die-hards will lap this up, and I'm sure for many others it'll be a solid platformer, but it's not for me.


    This.
    I've never really liked Sonic's games, even the originals. His character is plain annoying to me, I hate the other characters (Especially Shadow), and it seems like it's now known as "That one Video Game franchise that all the furries make characters in the style of".

  41. lewf2001 Tuesday 3rd Dec 2013 at 12:34

    worth 85-90, like the 3ds version.

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