Not to be confused with a song, a scientific phenomenon, or Guile’s signature move.
After a mixed bag of reviews in Sonic Lost World, where the main claim was Sonic taking too much out of Mario’s book, Sega has completely redone the blue blur. Now with a new look, what can we look forward to in the upcoming Sonic Boom?
Right from the get-go, Sonic Boom is said to be a spin-off from the main series serving as a sub-franchise, complete with Nintendo exclusive games, toys, merchandise, and a weekly cartoon on Cartoon Network. The interesting thing here is that Sonic Team won’t be developing the game but rather, Big Red Button Entertainment (Wii U) and Sanzaru Games (3DS). In the case of the former, we have Bob Rafei on the art direction, so the game has clear cues from his experiences at Naughty Dog. Stylistically, the game looks like it’s going to be gorgeous, with a Crash Bandicoot cartoony feel but an overall tone of high adventure a la Uncharted.
The next big surprise is the character design overhaul. Sonic is sporting a new scarf and bandages, giving him a real adventurer look. Tails plays to his mechanic talents with a tool belt and goggles. Amy trades in her poofy dress for something more fashionable and with a cunning smile, perhaps her personality will also get a new twist? The biggest change is good old Knuckles, who is now beefier and more imposing, reclaiming some of the old spirit he lost long ago. From the cartoon trailer, the spin-off will have the lighthearted feel recent Sonic games have been pushing, aiming for more comical and whimsical instead of dark and edgy from times best left to history. Personally, I’m rather fond of these changes, since they give Sonic’s oft-numerous supporting cast a little much-needed personality, and the cartoon is sure to help that. Already this is a step in the right direction for Sonic; no more “what if he was in the real world” rubbish to deal with. As a side note, I’m curious as to how the spin-off will interpret other characters like Shadow.
The game itself from the small trailer looks to have great graphics and style. Mixing epic moments and boss fights with a style that reminds the whole crowd of favorite Naughty Dog platformers. Peeling deeper into the teasers there are some big Sonic Adventure series vibes already. Sonic has high speed gameplay we know and love, Tails has shooting, Knuckles we are still unclear about but he seems to have powerful moves, and Amy has more acrobatic maneuvers. Most notably it appears that each character can perform the fan-favorite boost similar to Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations, keeping that high-speed feel.
Another interesting scene from the early materials is some form of co-op will be available. I think if “going fast” is going to be an integral part of the game while being woven into a diverse array of gameplay styles, there’s good hope for this game. When your series is about a silly blue hedgehog saving his animal friends from a fat old egg-shaped man, a new direction that keeps that wild out-there nature jives just fine. Sonic Boom looks like a great experiment with the series and is a safe space to give a fresh take hopefully without losing the original spirit, and it has experienced platforming experts at the lead. While Lost World seems to have lost its way, I’m going to remain optimistic about this game and can’t wait for more news. Join me next time when I give myself a promotion.
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