MWC 2012: Hands-on with Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II

Hey, look - it's Sonic!

MWC 2012: Hands-on with Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II

Walking over to the Nvidia stand at Mobile World Congress earlier today, I found what looked to be the PC version of Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II running on one of the big-screen TVs the company had set up, complete with Xbox 360 controller.

As I got closer, though, it became apparent that the 'PC' in question was actually an Asus Transformer Prime (with its keyboard dock attached) running the Tegra 3-optimised Android version of the game.

To say I was a bit surprised would be an understatement.

Go go go!

The demo level took place across what appeared to be some ruins inside a dense jungle - no doubt to show off the combination of foreground and background detail missing from the older 2D Sonic titles.

The gameplay was - as you might expect - very similar to Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode I's. Sonic is just as thin as in the previous game (no return to the old style here, my friend), while the jump attack for hitting robotic foes and bouncing off jump pads makes a welcome return.

What is different is the addition of everyone's (least) favourite Sonic pal - Tails - who took on his usual 'float about behind Sonic' role during my time on the demo.

He does, however, come in handy this time around, with certain obstacles such as breakable walls and ground-based foes meeting their maker when the pair hold hands.

Skip and jump

They don't just skip up to these obstacles, mind.

Instead, with a quick press on the attached Xbox controller, you can form a huge rolling powerhouse of fur and spikes, which seems to move around at the same speed as the Blue Blur himself (although it lacks the ability to jump attack).

The game rockets along on the Transformer Prime, with the HDMI output seemingly halving the framerate. In fairness, that's mainly because the Tegra 3 version I saw was using at least part of the console assets for its graphics - indeed, at a glance, the game is easily mistaken for the 'bigger' edition.

We'll see whether Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II can deliver on its rich graphical promise, then, when it's released later this year.