Preview: Team up in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

October 21, 2014


Recent titles in the Sonic the Hedgehog series have had varying levels of success, appealing to a certain crowds but never truly pleasing anyone. It’s almost natural that many would feel scared about the changes brought forth in Sonic Boom. The characters all have a distinctly different look than we remember, but maybe that’s a good thing. They’ve all followed such a distinct formula for so long that maybe some change is needed. It’s something to refresh the series, and prove to fans and naysayers alike that this might be the Sonic game we’ve all been looking for since he made the 3D jump.

What is it?: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the Wii U game featuring the re-designed Sonic cast, and the counterpart to a 3DS release, Shattered Crystal. Like the 3D games of the past, this one features a slowed-down version of Sonic and his buddies traversing through stages. Sonic, in tradition, is the speedy one of the group, and can home in on enemies to defeat them as well as travel across various platforms only accessible to him. Amy, on the other hand, uses her trusty hammer to beat down her foes, but is also the gymnast of the group. Scattered throughout the stage are various balance beams that only Amy can comfortably cross.

Sonic and Amy are joined by Tails and Knuckles, and each character needs to use special skills to help other characters advance along the stage. Each one is also equipped with an electric lasso called the Enerbeam, allowing you to move blocks and attach on to enemies to whip back at larger ones. There are also classic high-speed running sections with Sonic, as well.

Why we’re excited: You can already tell that this is a package handled with care. Sega is well-aware of its missteps over the last few years, and is willing to make some extreme changes to make sure it can deliver a top-notch game. Sonic Boom, from what we’ve seen, takes the individual character traits shown in Sonic Adventure and the teammate mechanic from Sonic Heroes and blends it into something rather interesting. Having two characters on screen makes you think about each situation differently and how you should tackle it. Developer Big Red Button’s founder, Bob Rafei, has games such as Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted and Jak & Daxter on his resume, and the pedigree makes us hopeful for what he can do with Sonic.

What we’re wondering: It’s nice to see Sega slowing down the game a bit and not always focusing on just being fast, since previous speed-based attempts led to disappointment, but will this slower-paced Sonic game finally be what the series needed? Since the character abilities are also specific to each cast member, will there also be upgrades available for each to be able to return to stages and access parts you weren’t able to access before? As always, there’s a lot to be skeptical about with a Sonic release.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will release alongside its traditional 3DS platformer little brother, Shattered Crystal, on November 11.