Sonic Mania is coming out next year and I’m all aboard the Sonic Cycle hype train once again. It looks amazing, and I couldn’t buy this limited edition version of the game any faster. The only thing I’m looking forward to in 2016 when it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog though, is what I hope is the end of the Sonic Boom game series and bad Sonic titles as a whole.
Sonic Boom never even fooled me like Sonic 06 did. I always knew Sonic Boom games were going to be terrible by just looking at lanky Knuckles one time. Both the 3DS and the Wii U versions of the first Sonic Boom games were really really bad, and even the developers knew it. I’ll never forgive these games for besmirching the name of the fabulous Sonic Boom theme song for Sonic CD.
Fire & Ice for the 3DS is supposed to mend those wounds, and try to restore some credibility to the Sonic Boom name. Article spoiler alert: I don’t think it’s going to.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is functionally a playable game that tries to kind of be like the DS spin-offs such as Sonic Colors. While it is a game that is playable, its main problem is that it is just so boring.
Sonic should really be one of two things to at least be a decent Sonic game. Either A: Be super f’ing fast like the daytime stages of Sonic Unleashed (which are actually pretty good) and modern Sonic Generations where you don’t give a crap about anything cause you’re just having a blast going fast. Or B: Solid platforming such as what is found in the original Sonic game. The best Sonic games are the ones that combine speed and platforming (read: Sonic 2, 3, and CD). Fire & Ice does neither of these, and by this measure that I just made up, fails as a Sonic game.
In the demo, I moved at moderate speed through dull stages filled with faceroll-easy platforming dumbed down by the homing attack; a crutch that would only be used in 3D Sonic games if I ruled the world. What would salvage things a bit is if the Fire & Ice mechanic and/or the character switching was used in a clever way.
Fire & Ice’s main hook as its title implies, is that you can switch between the powers of Fire & Ice at will, to clear obstacles and solve puzzles. For example, Sonic in ice form can freeze a ravine filled with geysers so he can cross it. What can’t be solved with fire or ice, can be solved by switching to one of Sonic’s friends such as Tails and Amy, as each character has their own unique special move that they can use to get through certain sections of levels.
The problem with all of that though is that everything is so painstakingly obvious. All of the obstacles I saw were labeled with what you need to clear it. There I was, running around as Sonic because he’s the fastest, until I hit some stupid wall that only Amy can clear with her hammer. I do it, and carry back on as Sonic. There’s really no point to it. I didn’t need to think about it for more than half a second, it just serves as an extra unfun thing for you to do besides just running right. It exists to distract you from the otherwise lifeless level design.
This is a preview, not a review. I only got to play a demo of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Therefore, it’s certainly possible that later currently unreleased stages could shock me with its intuitive use of fire, ice, and friends but I doubt it. Fire & Ice is probably going to be bad, and even worse, boring as hell. I’m already over it though, bring on Sonic Mania.