Final Score: D-
The game starts off just fine. Sonic's controls are kind of funky monkey and it doesn't play like any sonic game I've experienced thus far. But the first level is rather enjoyable and makes the best use out of these features.
I don't really care for the parkour elements. They seem unintuitive and slow down the pace of the overall feel sometimes. Sonic will land on the side of a wall, stop, you'll hear this buzzsaw noise for some reason, sonic will then sparkle, and slowly ascend the side of the wall where he will grab the edge of the platform, and slowly flip himself over. He will do this to everything. Wall? Stop. Wait. Buzzsaw. Flip. Tree? Stop. Wait. Buzzsaw. Flip. Tiny step? Stop. Wait. Buzzsaw. Flip. Holding R enables the run feature as well as the parkour ability. Letting go of R has Sonic take a nice walk in the park where he can think about things like life, and liberty, and doing his taxes.
But for the most part, when the camera is behind him, and you're playing levels like the first one - it's mostly okay. I had some fun.
Then it stops.
The 2.5 D levels are very…very odd. When I see Sonic in 2D I want to play like I'm playing a 2D Sonic game, and after decades of being taught the same basic scheme on how to play a 2D Sonic game - when Sonic doesn't act like how I'm used to - it's very…very off putting. Instead you have kind of a slow(ish) sonic that can't roll mid run. You can do the spin dash that only kind like - sneezes you out until you're back to running (while holding R!) and Sonic's spider-man like ability to adhere and run up any and everything. Which is super great when he gets stuck smashing his face into a ceiling - or like, there's a platform I need to jump over quickly. Or like. Just - anything in general.
So okay - what does the 2.5 D levels play like? Like clunky Mario. Sonic controls like a bar of soap and when you need tight precision controls having him arbitrarily parkour over everything is - totally bizarre. I did NOT enjoy the 2.5 D levels. Honestly Sonic 4 had better 2.5 D levels and I hated that junk.
Did you know Sonic has the ability to kick? ME NEITHER! This is about the time I discovered the rules of the road. Sonic can do NOT ONE but TWO count 'em TWO homing attacks. One where he …homes-in and attacks like normal. And the other where he homes-in and…kicks? Sometimes sending badnicks into other badnicks. Which is kind of cool. I had no idea. I had a little prompt come up and tell me to look down at my game pad to read. Yeah okay let me stop playing to read a paragraph.
Couldn't, like, level 1 have some signage or bad guys that require this move? Not necessarily a MEGAMAN MEGAMAN type thing - just something to explain these new rules?
I also didn't get this until pretty much the last boss - Sonic's homing attack stacks the longer it targets something - doing double, triple, or quadruple damage the more it stacks. Cool right? Well not when every other game before this has taught me - lock on sign, press button, kill it. This game? Target will appear. Then another one around it pretty quickly. Then other. Just blip blip blip BLIP and if you hit it on the 4th Sonic will cream the crap out of whatever you smashed into.
NO IDEA THIS WAS A THING.
There was a boss that required this to happen 5 times because Sonic Team really REALLY wanted you to knock the boss off the edge. And if you didn't wait for the 5th one the whole fight would start all over.
Which brings me to my next point - the boss battles. Are way too easy. Most of them, once I figured it out, I could defeat by smashing the homing attack. And a lot - I could just bounce on. One of the last bosses, the last LAST bosses, that's supposed to test everything you've learned - I beat by just jumping once above their head, and let sonic bounce off it 8 times. BLOOP. Dead.
And one boss that I just had to go to the top of the level and pull a switch. I didn't even need to attack the guy. In fact, when I did, I died because I fell off into the lava. Which made, y'know, sense! No other boss had anything like that at ALL. So I figured I was supposed to, y'know - attack the guy! NAH! Go to the top and pull a switch now okay? Okaaaaay?????????
Anyways, back to the levels, for the most part they're okay. At the beginning anyways. I say for the most part because when they're the gimmick levels they're really annoying. What I mean is like - you're a snowball the whole time for one. Sure. Why not. Or you're back to doing Mach Speed levels like in Sonic '06. Because THAT was a great idea why not bring it back. THIS ONEwas pretty fun, I'll admit. But it's shit like this that drives me bananas. Later on it just gets stupid. You don't press forward on the mach speed levels. Sonic just runs forward on his own. Your only input is left. right. jump. 2013 next-gen video games everybody! YEAH! I had one level where I put the controller down and sonic played himself for half the level. Seriously. Run. spring. run. spring. it wasn't until about half way where I had to slightly press left to avoid something. GAME DESIGN!
Then there's like - Sonic's sliding down towards the camera (CROTCH VISION!) and you avoid things falling you. Seriously? Avoid things falling at you when did Sonic turn into Donkey Kong Jr.? Or like - use a color power up the whole time levels! Which are all garbage. You can turn into a music note and if you tap the game pad screen it will bounce over. OH BOY! Or you can turn intro a drill and it will follow where your finger is. For the whole level. That is. That is wonderful. Or you're jumping on clouds the whole time. Or you're trying to kill yourself. Because if you're playing this game you've obviously lost all self respect for yourself and are now PUNISHING yourself because you feel guilty about eating the last slice of pizZA FUCK YOU MOM IT WAS DELICIOUS I'M SORRY. I'M SO SOR-R-R-R-Y ;.;
And what really made me hate this game was the last section of the whole game. All 6 bosses are back - but split in half, to have 3 on one level and 3 on the other.
One is just a small Mario Galaxy meteorite. And all 3 bosses come at you one after the other after the other. And if you die from one of their bullshit attacks? START ALL OVER.
Then the next segment involves 3D platform level
2.5 D level, going up an elevator shaft trying to avoid the rising lava that knows when you're going too fast and speeds up to catch up with you BUT NICE ENOUGH TO SLOW DOWN? Then a boss.
3D level, 2.5 D monstrosity, boss.
3D level, 2.5 hell, boss.
And if you lose all your lives to some stupid glitch madness - or you suck, one of the two, it's DO IT ALL OVER FOR YOU! Seriously why do we still have lives in the first place this is ridiculous.
Oh and then a final confrontation where you go up and do a down smash (I don't know. The thing where sonic smashes his face into the ground) and have blocks fall on the bad guy. Also don't fall down because it's instant death HAVE FUN!
BUT WAIT! What about the NIGHTS DLC? That's a boss rush mode that's super dooper short. Fun! But over in like 2 minutes. It takes longer to download than the play it. Cool! But overall disappointing.
HOWEVER, the music is great, the visuals are great, and the story and cut scenes are a lot of fun. EVERYTHING, but the game play, is solid. But the gameplay is the main element of a platforming game. And I'm sorry - it's not there. Not at all.
I've been using a lot of MelPontro's videos - and I think his response to someone asking him if he liked it summerises everything perfectly, "
"The game has some really bad design decisions combined with a frustrating control scheme. There are some enjoyable moments in the game though."