Later this month, Wii U and 3DS owners will be able to marvel at the latest adventure from Sonic the Hedgehog, which takes an approach vastly different from anything he's done in the past. Sonic: Lost World is a 3D game, but it's not quite like the Sonic Adventure games of old. Rather, it's built around new mechanics and a structure that actually makes it feel like you're running around a world, and not just a small enclosed area.
In our previously published First Look, we explained how Sonic has no choice but to team up with his rival Dr. Robotnik, aka "Eggman," after his alliance with a sinister force known as the Deadly Six goes sour. Only through their joint efforts can they save the world from this group's nefarious plans.
From there, Sonic will do what he does best – run through world, collecting rings and bopping enemies. That said, Sonic Team has built an entirely new approach this time around. Sonic doesn't quite go at "blast processing" speed this time around. Instead, if players want him to run fast, they'll have to hold down an optional button in order for him to do so.
It may sound confusing having to hold down a button for Sonic to run, but there's a reason for this. The circular-style levels within the game require accuracy in order to get through, or he'll go running right off the edge. That doesn't mean he'll move at a snail's pace, but by the same token, it also gives players a bit more control over him, especially when it comes to locating power-ups and reaching pivotal points in the level.
The "run" button also serves a purpose with a new attack in the game – the sliding kick. There are some enemies that you can't jump on from above, mainly because they have spikes or some other form of defense on their heads. By performing the kick technique, Sonic can knock them off guard, and either push them off the level entirely or bop them and move about his merry way. It's a great new addition to the gameplay, though, in general, the ideal tactic for defeating enemies is to bop them on the head once your "lock-on" meter highlights over them.
On top of that, the "run" button works in conjunction with new parkour-style moves that allow Sonic to keep on moving. There are some walls that require him to run along the sides, or else fall into the bottomless pit below. He'll need to switch between the walls, as he slowly moves momentum while he continues to run. It's just as simple as hitting the jump button, though. Two or three jumps and you'll get through a canyon-spaced shape in no time.
Sonic can also run up the sides of walls as well. There are some instances in which he can simply use a spring to get to the top, but, for others, he'll need to get right alongside the wall, then launch upward and eventually grab onto the ledge and get to higher ground. This is a new technique that some players might need to get used to, but it's worthwhile, especially in the later settings.
General platforming plays a big part in Sonic: Lost World, but there are also stages where he'll be running at full speed, and you'll need to pay careful attention to the environment around you. In one candy-land themed stage, for instance, he'll have to watch out for cannons that are firing ammo at him, but keep moving as he jumps along sugar coated platforms. In another, filled with garden foliage and constantly shifting wood plank platforms, he'll have to carefully maneuver in order to avoid falling to his doom – which is easier said than done when you're moving at a trailblazing speed.
It sounds like the game is more challenging as a result, but Sonic Team has put enough work into the controls so it doesn't feel like a struggle. Sure, some techniques take getting used to, but overall, it's a terrific set-up that lets Sonic get a lot done, whether he's slowly wandering around a stage or moving at top speed.
On top of all this, Sonic can also use a number of power-ups, which were first introduced on the Wii a few years ago with Sonic Colors. One in particular that we saw in action was the Eagle, which basically transforms the Hedgehog into a temporarily unstoppable rolling ball, where he can run right over enemies and gather up debris, growing bigger in size as a result. You can only use these sparingly in each stage, but they're certainly helpful when it comes to clearing a stage.
With its creative new design and fun gameplay mechanics, Sonic: Lost World should be quite the exclusive for Nintendo platforms when it arrives on October 29th. We'll have more strategies and level tips for you following the game's release.