BADGP Reviews: Sonic Lost World
Sonic Lost World (SEGA, Sonic Team)
Released: October 29, 2013
November 16, 2013
Review: A Disaterpiece on WiiU
Sonic Lost World is a generally horrible experience that I would not wish on anyone. It fails on many fronts and the few and far between glimpses of goodness only make the rest of the game that much more of a displeasure to play. Calling it a disappointment would not do it justice. Let me take you on a journey and explain why Sonic Lost World is the worst game that I have played all year.
Looking over the games I have played from 2013, I did not enjoy my time with Don’t Starve, Zeno Clash 2, Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger, Deadpool, or Stealth Inc.. I did not play a lot of the 2013’s stinkers like The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Star Trek, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, or Lost Planet 3. These are games that I had little anticipation for or expectations of. It did not hurt that Deadpool was incredibly boring once the jokes wore off, or that Don’t Starve was not my kind of game; it hurt when a game previewed exceptionally well and then turns out to be a steaming pile of excrement. That is right; I’m looking straight into your eyes, Sonic Lost World, peering into your soul to experience the blackness held within.
The Sonic Cycle continues.
Honestly, where does one start with Sonic Lost World? As the cycle would indicate, at the announcement of Sonic Lost World was an exciting event. It looked so good! Sure, Sonic Team was infringing upon Super Mario Galaxy, but so did Sonic Colors and that game wasn’t that bad! Well, I have bad news for you; Sonic Lost World is indeed quite bad.
Let us begin with a positive however. The game looks really good. Graphically, artistically, colorfully, the game is a pleasure to experience through the eyes. Graphics are sharp, animations quick and responsive, and… hey… wait a minute… this game looks good, because it looks like Super Mario Galaxy, and SEGA just copied/pasted what Nintendo did in 2007.
Not Sonic Lost World.
The script is abysmal. It was a source of constant eye rolls. Although, I would find if fun/funny to attempt acting out some of the scenes depicted in Sonic Lost World due to the extremely low quality of the writing and it might be silly to see in live-action. Who am I kidding, I just want an excuse to make a Knuckles or Robotnik costume. Knuckles is hardly in the game however, and Robotnik is still… ugh… Dr. Eggman. I’ll never get used to that. I only jotted down one quote from the game where Sonic lovingly refers to the Eggman as “Baldy McNosehair.” This is some classy stuff right here.
Tricked by the Eggman.
The music is hit and miss. I found it to be stronger as the game progressed with some solid tracks to be found here and there. There are a lot of cut-scenes in Sonic Lost World. I could not help but ask: when did cool become so corny and terrible? I am also playing The Wonderful 101 right now, and both games remind of Saturday morning cartoons. One is seriously awesome (W101) and one is seriously lame (SLW). The cutscenes would be better if there was better writing and voicework, but both are terrible.
Here is a quick list of the legion of problems I found in Sonic Lost World:
1. Sonic Lost World fails to capture what made 90s Sonic great.
Sonic has always been about speed and flow. Ever since he was given a homing attack this has made both much less of a priority and make his games more of a chore to get through. It is fun to run really really fast barely scraping by and completing levels quickly. This is not the case in Sonic Lost World.
2. Sonic Lost World fails to capture what made 2007 Mario great.
Embarrassing and shameless. These are two words I would use to describe Sonic Lost World’s theft of ideas from Super Mario Galaxy. The thing is that it would have been better if they had implemented them more effectively. Then, the game would have at least been fun once in a while. Sonic flies around through the sky, much like Mario did in 07. The art direction is suspiciously similar. But ultimately Sonic Lost World fails to realize what it was that made Super Mario Galaxy great. It handled wonderfully and the levels were well crafted with heart. None of this is to be found within Sonic Lost World.
3. Arbitrary animal unlocks to buff game time and generally make the entire experience less enjoyable.
This was a near constant source of frustration. The player must unlock the final level of every world by collecting animals. It took me a little longer than I would like to admit to discover the easier way to do this through the carnival levels that are kind of dumb. Until then, I had to replay levels over and over again to gain the necessary number of animals to unlock the next stage. This was terrible.
4. 100 rings no longer equal an extra life. There are no continues.
Basic ideas core to the Sonic experience of the 90s are not longer present within Sonic Lost World. This means one will be replaying a lot of Sonic Lost World, not only for the ridiculous animal farming, but also because the game is really hard and is prudish with its giving out of lives and checkpoints.
5. Very poor tutorialization.
I am all for less intrusive tutorials and less hand-holding in modern video games, but Sonic Lost World does not inform the player of things the player must know in order to advance. A icon will appear on the screen and then must be tapped on the WiiU Gamepad in order to receive the tutorial message, but I would not get to it fast enough at times and be left floundering.
Now all of this above would have been forgiven if the game handled better, but it doesn’t. The controls are unresponsive and incredibly frustrating. It simply does not work as the player thinks it should, and momentum is too important at times forcing the player to die if they stop between jumps. The myriad of problems is even more frustrating when something good happens in the game. Levels 2-2, 2-3, and 6-1 were all genuinely fun and enjoyable, but the rest of the game has very few bright spots. When the game works and comes together how it should it is actually really good, it is shame that Sonic Team could not produce a better consistency in their level design. There are also some nice callbacks to former Sonic enemies from Sonic the Hedgehog through Sonic & Knuckles. This was appreciated.
It should be obvious that I do not recommend this game to anyone. Seriously, avoid it. I hate to say it, but maybe the next one will be better, HA! I had a friend over watching me play through part of world 4 of the game (my least favorite) and he stated, “This is messing with my childhood. Are all Sonic games like this now?” I unfortunately had bad news for him, but his sentiments encapsulate the “Sonic problem.” Maybe Sonic is not meant to exist in a meaningful way outside of the 1990s… No… I refuse to admit defeat. Sonic will rise again! The next game will be the one!
It is probably not the worst game to hit the market in 2013, but it will forever have a special place in my heart.
1.9 out of 10