Sonic Lost World
| Sonic Lost World

You may have been burned on the trash Sonic Team has become infamous for churning out.

You may have had your goodwill for the 20-something hedgehog destroyed in the process. You may be fed up with giving Sega "just one more chance" to make things right.

However, I'm going to have to ask that you place your trust in me, and believe me when I say that Sonic Lost World is a roaring success. It represents the first promising strides toward detoxifying a poisoned franchise, and making the entire cast - even Tails - relevant to a modern audience.

I quite liked Knuckles too

The story is well-written and full of humour, characterising Sonic and the gang as I've always pictured them: likeable, funny, brave, and a bit dumb.

But you're probably not here for the story.

This is a 3D Sonic platformer in the vein of Sonic Heroes, and it sees you navigating bottomless pits, destroying enemies, and collecting rings. Everything you've come to expect from a Sonic platformer is here, and most of the peripheral fluff that was added over the years has been shrewdly excised.

For most of the game the camera is set behind Sonic as he runs forward, giving you a clear view of what lies in wait.

You charge towards the horizon, choosing whether to evade or destroy the Crabmeats, Buzz Bombers, and Newtrons that patrol the stages. For the most part you're free to take the pacifist route, but occasionally you'll need to kill some baddies before you can progress.

To do this you'll need to jump and bounce on them, or lock onto them and burst through their metal shells. Some enemies are more heavily protected, and require you to soften them up by somersaulting first, which shoots a projectile from your feet and allows you to go in for the kill.

The Spin Dash is also here, but it's mostly used for navigation. You can sprint up walls and jump to and from them with ease, or you can Spin Dash for an added boost of speed. Though you can rocket through levels, the simple but flexible moveset gives you a welcome feeling of control.

Which is a very good thing, since the level design is fiendishly clever in spots.

Take me back to Mobius

Sonic Lost World nails the sense of speed the Blue Blur is known for perfectly. This means it can be a tough game in places, and there are sections where you'll swear it's broken - an impression reinforced by the occasionally erratic camera.

Some levels are reminiscent of Super Mario 3D Land, forcing you to traverse puzzle-like environments. Some levels are cylindrical in shape and ultra-fast in nature, requiring quick reactions and a keen eye as you follow the rings from one ledge to another. Others are flat and straight and filled with enemies to trounce. Some are 2D and invoke a strong sense of nostalgia. They're all great.

You can't just hold 'forward' and hope you'll get through an area unscathed - you have to think about your environment and how you're going to progress through it. This is illustrated by the powers you gradually unlock as you go through the game.

Take the Yellow Drill, for example: you pick it up, hit the 'transform' button, and you've got a short period of time to navigate water and find the next power-up to replenish your energy. Fail to do so and you're left trudging through the water while running out of oxygen.

Once unlocked, these powers become available in earlier levels, encouraging you to replay them for faster times - particularly in the online Time Trial mode, which lets you compare your scores with other players' around the world.

So yes. I'm as shocked as you are: Sonic Lost World is a top platformer with great ideas, loads of content, and variety by the bucketful. It has one too many problems to put it on a level with the very best the 3DS has to offer, but it's not far off. Go get it.

Sonic Lost World

I never thought I'd type these words into a video game website, but here goes... Sonic Lost World is a very good 3D Sonic game and you should buy it immediately
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.