Sega is trying something new with their blue hedgehog’s latest outing. Mario must have given Sonic some pointers during one of their Olympics outings, because now Lost World takes several cues from the planet-hopping Mario Galaxy series. I got my hands on the Wii U version of the game and blasted across floating, roundish land masses while collecting rings and crushing robots.

The first zone is a throwback to Green Hill Zone, with brown and green planets of various shapes scattered across the stage. Like many Sonic games, momentum is key to completing levels. Sonic races across long, cylindrical planets that can be traversed in 360 degrees. The right shoulder button makes Sonic sprint, allowing him to run up walls and even climb trees blocking his path. Guiding Sonic along these gravity-defying structures feels similar to the hedgehog’s other 3D games; you dash through long stretches collecting rows of coins and leaping over spikes, then stop abruptly to use his homing attack to clear out a few foes. Sonic traverses across these planets using a series of springs and cannons, another element that links Lost World to Mario Galaxy. The stage concludes by popping open a capsule filled with captured animals, a nod to old-school Sonic games.

Watch a Sega representative discuss the similarities to Mario Galaxy, Color Powers, and 3DS interactivity in the video above

The next stage switches to a 2D perspective across a zone filled with sweets like donuts and licorice roads. The pace of this level is more stop and go, requiring players to perform deliberate leaps across gaps and avoid chocolate truffle cannon balls. These delicious projectiles can be traversed quickly by holding down the jump button and chaining together a speedy string of leaps across them. I noticed the platforming in this side-scrolling sequence is rougher than the 3D stages. Sonic’s knock back animation feels too long and he over eagerly clings to ledges like a magnet. This is an early stage in development, so Sonic Team is still tweaking the gameplay.

The final area I played tasks me with speeding along a hexagonal branch covered with bee hives. Sonic rotates his running path around the branch to line up with honeycomb holes in the hives. Long lines of mechanical bees fly in the nests, which are destroyed in rapid succession with the homing attack. An annoying beetle-bot arrives later, tossing yellow goo at the screen to make steering between perilous platforms tricky.

My hands-on time concludes after these three sample stages. Of course the final product will include many more stages, along with an assist mode for a second player and power-ups (one turns Sonic into a deadly laser shot). The colorful visuals look clean and crisp on the Wii U, and Mario Galaxy-style environments promise variety. I’m cautiously optimistic  Sonic Team can tighten up the controls to exceed what we had in Sonic Generations. Sonic Lost World hits 3DS and Wii U October 13.

Check out screens of both the Wii U and 3DS versions in the gallery below