Archive for the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Category

Sonic Mania review: 16-bit return breathes new life into struggling series

August 14th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Sega)

Sonic Mania has finally made what various arms of Sega, including the official Sonic Team staff, haven't pulled off for decades: a great old-school Sonic game. That's a monumental thing in and of itself, considering how long Sonic has struggled as a series—and how many times his major contemporary rival Mario has lapped him, in both modern and retro flavors.

With that hindsight in mind, it's tempting to overlook some of Sonic Mania's shortcomings. This is a lean game, weighing in at around 3-4 hours for a first playthrough—which, to be fair, is comparable to how much you'll find in a Genesis or Mega Drive Sega game. A few peculiar design decisions (and, at launch, bugs) can hinder the fun you'll have in your first playthrough. And this game has no interest in holding your hand, so don't expect a relaxing reintroduction to the blue bomber.

But having a good Sonic game again means having a platformer that emphasizes the word "speed" and all it implies—including level density, tucked-away secrets, pitch-perfect controls, and satisfying run-and-jump pathing. Many games have tried to recapture Sonic's magic over the years (including Sega itself, with 2002's Sonic Advance 2 worth a shout-out). But this week's Mania combines the familiar and the new to declare that maybe, just maybe, only Sonic can do it best.

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Features, Gaming & Culture, Sega, sonic mania, sonic team, Sonic the Hedgehog | Comments (0)

Sonic Mania is already so good, I’d buy its incomplete version as-is

August 12th, 2017

We have good news and bad news ahead of Sonic Mania’s launch on Tuesday, August 15 on various consoles. The bad news? The game’s PC version has been delayed until Tuesday, August 29. The good news? While our full review of the PS4 version is embargoed until Monday, you can read whatever you want into the fact that we’re resurfacing this June 8 preview for now.

LOS ANGELES—Sonic Mania is far from Sega's first stab at returning to the blue, spiky bomber's good ol' Genesis/Mega Drive days. Every time we've heard Sega's nostalgic promises, they've been followed by the series' handlers coming up high and dry.

Over the past year, I've reluctantly enjoyed promising demos of the company's latest 16-bit Sonic homage. Everything has played smoothly so far, but I've bitten my tongue, lest I hype something that ultimately turns out as unevenly as Sonic 4.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Gaming & Culture, Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog | Comments (0)

Tembo The Badass Elephant review: Hard to join the trunk club

July 24th, 2015

The high-speed, creative 2D platforming genre owes everything to Sonic The Hedgehog—in more ways than one. Originally, of course, 1991's bluest mascot succeeded because he kicked so many of his era's slow, plodding Mario-likes in the jimmies. But Sega's creation might also deserve credit for spurring a new generation of game makers into action.

Today, the actual Sonic franchise sucks—gosh, it has sucked for decades at this point—but there are plenty of indie developers filling in his spiky-haired void. Action Henk might be the best recent game to scratch that speedy, 2D-platforming itch, and other significant platformers of the past five years—Super Meat Boy, Risk of Rain, and Mark of the Ninja, to name a few—have drawn obvious inspiration from Sonic's formula of tricky obstacles, hidden tidbits, and a pressing need to finish levels quickly.

Those are all well and good—really good, in fact—but what about a new game that feels precisely like Sonic? After a long time, a lot of awful 3D Sonic games, and the so-so Sonic The Hedgehog 4 reboot, Sega of all companies has come forward with something that might do the trick. Say hello to Tembo, the so-called "badass" elephant who relies on speed, body slams, and a trunk uppercut to tear through tricky vertical levels full of collectibles. Sounds like a beloved early '90s game, doesn't it?

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in action henk, Game Freak, Opposable Thumbs, Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog, tembo the badass elephant | Comments (0)