sdcc 2014

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

Hands-On With The Newest Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric Demo
by Kyle Hilliard on Jul 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Big Red Button Entertainment
Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: Wii U

Sega brought Sonic Boom to Comic Con, and though it featured many of the same areas as the game’s E3 build, I was told it had been tweaked and updated since its showing in June.

As far as specific changes for the latest build, Sega representatives said it was hard to pinpoint exactly what had changed, but one change was in Sonic’s speed. He wasn’t overall faster or slower, but rather tweaked throughout to speed up and slow down as dictated by the level.

I played through three sections: an exploration area, a speed-run area, and a boss battle. In the exploration area I played as Sonic and Amy exploring what appeared to be a toxic waste plant. I could switch back and forth between the two seamlessly and each had their own combat and traversal styles. When playing co-op, with the two characters, one player will late the TV and one will take the GamePad screen.

In many situations there were two paths laid out in front of me for progression – the Amy path and the Sonic path. Amy’s usually involved her triple jump, or her acrobatics related to swinging on pipes and beams, while Sonic’s path usually involved jumping into the air, using his homing ability, and speed dashing from platform to platform.

At a few points in the exploration level, we were chased by a giant tentacle monster through hallways recalling the iconic killer whale sequence from Sonic Adventure.

The speed-run area offered a very typical 3D sonic experience. You were running along platforms and ramps as fast as possible, trying to hit every bumper and speed boost possible.

Finally, the boss fight is exactly what you’d expect – a fight against a boss, in this case Dr. Robotnik. For the boss fight, I chose to play as Knuckles, the brawler archetype. A.I. versions of Sonic, Amy, and Tails were also on hand to help. Robotnik launched missiles periodically, and as long I avoided them I could use my electronic tether item to swing the missiles around in the air and throw them back at Robotnik. Once I did that enough, the team would get together and all use their tethers to pull him down to the ground in order to punch him mercilessly in the face. This section of the demo was the one I enjoyed the most. The act of pulling down Robotnik with the crew was a satisfying experience, and Robotnik’s animations were humorous and well done as he succumbed to the onslaught.

In general, controlling Sonic and pals feels loose. The exploration levels aspire to the level design of something closer to Jak and Daxter, which is a good thing, but I had trouble controlling Sonic in the world. He just didn’t feel tight. The same goes for the speed-run area, which proved less of a control issue only because of how on-rails it felt. Often, I would die simply by pressing the jump button where the best course of action would have been to not press any buttons.

I’m excited to see this new direction for Sonic under a new developer, and while I still take issue with some of the game’s controls, I am optimistic. I enjoyed the boss fight (something I don’t know I’ve ever said regarding a 3D Sonic title) and I liked the multiple choice exploration levels. The controls are crucial to an enjoyable platforming experience and they need work, but I’m hopeful for this new take on 3D Sonic.

Sega also released a new video this week about the accompanying Sonic Boom TV show, which you can see below. Sonic Boom: Rise Of Lyric launches November 18 on Wii U. You can find out more about the game by heading here.