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Sonic Lost World preview: running strong

by Ozzie Mejia, shacknews.com, Sep 23, 2013 9:00AM PDT

Update: The latest trailer has been included, which indicates a new October 29 release date.

We were impressed by Sonic Lost World last we saw it at E3. However, there's good reason to be skeptical: it is a Sonic game, after all. However, an updated look at the 3DS and Wii U adventure continues to show a lot of potential.

Lost World doesn't simply retread the classic Sonic formula. There are new mechanics that will test even Sonic veterans. New to the game is a parkour system that lets Sonic run up walls. Given how fast he is, it makes sense that he'd be able to run along the sides of walls. However, the execution isn't quite so simple. If you don't hit the walls with enough speed, Sonic will start to slide down. Navigating jumps while running sideways is also a bit difficult to judge. While wall runs sound like a neat idea, it's clearly going to take some getting used to.

The other major addition is a powerful kick. While the homing attack makes its return here, Sonic Team is looking to prevent players from spamming the attack repeatedly. The kick is meant to add a strategic element to combat by giving players an alternate to just the homing attack. It has the added ability of knocking armored enemies on their backs and is also effective for crowd control, as Sonic can use it to take out multiple enemies by kicking one into another. It's a nice way to mix up an otherwise one-dimensional combat system.

Sonic Team seems intent on adding a lot of variety in the level design. For example, the first stage of Frozen Factory Zone had Sonic buried in snow, leaving the player to navigate him as a giant snowball. The idea was to roll him safely across the stage without getting bumped off into the abyss, while collecting any objects on the ground. The second stage was drastically different, as Sonic went from snowy terrain to a casino area, a nice throwback to older Sonic games.

The Wii U and 3DS versions of the game also different quite significantly from one another. Wii U allows players to summon Wisp abilities using the GamePad, which offer different Color Powers. The 3DS version has different levels and also introduces mini-bosses not seen in the console version.

Even at second glance, Sonic Lost World remains impressive. Of course, whether the blue hedgehog's latest title can maintain its momentum will ultimately be determined when the game releases on Wii U and 3DS. Originally set for October 22, the trailer below now indicates a release date of October 29.

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