Oh Sonic, we seem to have this conversation annually at this point. Every time I try not to get excited about a new game featuring the prolific hedgehog, and each time I regret once again giving him the benefit of the doubt. Sonic, you need to stop playing with my emotions. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is quite possibly the worst entry in the series since the fabled Sonic 06. This is not a good game, in fact it might be the worst Sonic game I have played in a long time, and that is saying a lot.
Rise of Lyric, in its defense, isn’t really a traditional Sonic game. Instead, it is actually more of a tie-in product with an animated series featuring a new villain named Lyric. The game tasks players with stopping the cyborg snake’s plans to unleash a cyborg army. It features Sonic, Knuckles, Amy and Tails, all as playable characters, with cameos from the likes of Eggman and Metal Sonic. Sure it tugs at the familiarity, but the execution is downright embarrassing.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $4.99
Multiplayer: Local only
Sonic Boom is broken down into smaller chunks of game play. There are traditional Sonic levels where blazing through speed pads is commonplace, but they are limited in both occurrence and interactivity. I spent most of the time just holding a direction and hoping for the best.
There are also exploration levels, classic 2D sections and of course plenty of brawling combat. Each character has special abilities that help them traverse the world. Sonic Boom does a nice job of allowing for each to be used pretty regularly, and rarely relies on one trick to keep things moving. These sections are easily the highlight of the game. Then we come to combat, which is where it all falls apart.
Every character has the same limited move set, making for some mundane attacks. Battles are also gated, wave-based affairs where eliminating all the enemies before moving on is the main course. It is dull and each battle was met with a sigh of frustration. None of it is fun, and it makes pushing through the story mode a chore.
The main game can be enjoyed co-op with the unique combo of controller/gamepad, one of the best things about the Wii U. Giving each player their own screen is great, and I loved being able to go about separate ways during the story. There is also a four-player mode that crams all the players together for some lame mini-games, but it was quickly forgettable.
It also doesn’t help that the game is a snore fest. I never died. Health is dictated by rings. Having 100 means, well I was at full health, but even when I lost some, they were scattered everywhere. Nary did I have less than 100 rings at any given time.
The visuals are the final piece to touch on, and while the environments definitely have some cool designs, the constant frame rate drops really drag down the experience. There are better looking games on Wii U, and they run ten times better than Sonic Boom does. I also really hate the redesigns of the characters. These look like deformed versions of my childhood favorites. They are just creepy at times.
Sonic Boom is a bad game. There is no other way to say it. I won’t get excited for another return of the hedgehog…OK that is probably a lie, but either way, don’t buy this game. Pick up the infinitely more enjoyable Lost World, or one of the other fantastic Wii U exclusives this holiday season. Just stay far, far away from this toxic hedgehog.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.