With a little more than a month before it comes to the WiiU and 3DS, Sega held a media tour for Sonic Lost World where they showed off some new aspects of this upcoming game.
But while the developers are obviously striving to appeal to longtime fans of this series, they’re also adding new ways for this speed freak to satisfying his ring addiction.
In the game, Sonic ends up on a mysterious sphere where he must rescue lots of small animals. None of which, oddly, are dinosaurs. But he also must contend with a half-dozen bad guys called The Deadly Six who are so evil that even Sonic’s longtime nemesis, Doctor Eggman, has to wash his hands of them, forcing the Doc to reluctantly teaming up with the furious furball to stop the harmful half-dozen.
The biggest change to the typical Sonic formula is that while you run from left to right in 2D areas, and into the screen in 3D ones, there will also be some 3D areas where you’ll be able to move left and right, or right to left, while also heading into the screen.
That’s because these levels are built on really long tubes, and if Sonic moves to the left or right, the tube turns, revealing new areas and different pathways. If you keep going, the original area will even come back around. This adds, no pun intended, a whole new dimension to things.
Taking advantage of this, these types of levels are set up to be explored, and make these parts of the game feel more like a platformer. It’s why Sonic’s normal speed in this game is now a comfortable jog, though you can use the right trigger when you want him to start running.
This is not to say that Sonic Lost World is a platformer. Well, not just a platformer, that is. Not only can you speed through those levels if you want, but the game also has levels, as well as areas within the platforming levels, where Sonic will have to run like hell as well.
Similarly, while there are 2D levels and 3D ones, there are also some that switch back and forth, and may, for instance, start in 3D, then switch to 2D for a while, and then maybe go back to 3D.
Aiding him in navigating these levels, Sonic has learned how to wall run like a ninja or Persian prince. For years, Sonic has, in 2D levels, been able to jump up a wall and spring off it onto an opposing wall, and then spring off that to get to a higher level. But in 3D levels, if he ran into a wall, he’d just stop.
Now, however, he can not only run up walls — well, for a little while — be he can also run along them if they’re parallel to the path he’s on.
Sonic Lost World doesn’t just crib from Ninja Gaiden and Prince Of Persia, though. In one frozen level, for instance, Sonic gets trapped inside a big snowball, and has to roll around. Which not only means he’s picking things up like he’s the Prince from Katamari Damacy, but also that he has to be wary of falling off edges Super Monkey Ball star AiAi.
Sonic has also learned how to kick people. Which comes in handy since, in this game, not everyone is vulnerable to his homing attack. At one point, for instance, he runs into some big metal spiders who will just shrug off his homing attack. But if you kick them first, it throws them off their game, making them susceptible to Sonic’s homing attack.
Having a second way to hurt your enemies also pays off because, for every bad guy you dispatch, you rescue a small animal. Which won’t just impress your animal-loving friends and PETA, since you actually need to rescue a bunch of them to unlock later levels in the game.
Don’t panic if you don’t get enough your first time through, though, as you can replay levels as often as you like, and even rescue the same animal over and over again until you have enough to progress.
As we mentioned, Sonic Lost World is coming to both the WiiU and the 3DS. And, when it comes to the gameplay, the two versions are basically the same. But they’re not really the same game. Instead, the levels in both editions are unique, making them more like two versions of the same game.
In addition, the WiiU version also augments its single-player mode with some competitive and co-operative multiplayer. In the former, you and a friend can race each other through versions of levels from the single-player mode that have been reworked to be more race-friendly. But instead of doing a split-screen thing, the game has one player looking at the TV while the other uses the screen on the GamePad.
As for the co-op mode, this is actually just a version of the single-player one that lets you help someone who might be stuck. Let’s say, for the sake of this discussion, that I just can’t get past one part of the third level. My kid (well, if I had one) could have me switch over to the co-op version of that level, and then join me in it by using the Wiimote or Pro Controller, which would let them take control of a something that could help me out. So if, for instance, I couldn’t make a certain jump, Paul Jr. could use an R.C. helicopter to lift me past it. He’s a good kid.
What’s nice is that if you beat a level in co-op, it still counts in the single-player mode. The game still registers that level as being beaten, and gives you credit for any animals you saved while doing so.
You’ll even, if you play the 3DS edition, be able to make exclusive R.C. helpers, which you can then pull into the WiiU one.
How well all this will work, however, will have to wait until both versions are released on October 22. But if what we saw and learned during the media tour is any indication, Sonic Lost World looks like it could be a classic Sonic adventure…with a twist.
Even if it doesn’t have any dinosaurs.
For more on Sonic Lost World, visit the game’s official website.
You can also see a video interview with the Aaron Webber, the game’s associate brand manager, at RPad.TV.