E3 Hands-On Sonic Lost World (3DS)


Sonic Lost World for Wii U wasn’t the only Sonic game impressing fans at the show floor. The 3DS version was on display as well, the first Sonic portable game to offer a fully 3-D world to explore.  While the game is technically very sound, how is it compared to its big console brother and can Dimps pull it off on both a technical and design level? Read on to find why Sonic Lost World on 3DS is two steps forward and one step back for Dimps.

The 3DS version of Lost World tries to copy the console version in quite a few ways. Although the level design is different, Windy Hill still has many alternate paths, walls to parkor on and quite a few new tricks. One of them is a new wisp power which gives Sonic the ability to turn into a tiny asteroid of sorts. He rolls into a ball with a gravitational pull that lets him smash through walls which then form a ring around him killing enemies with ease. Another new addition is a large catterkiller that tries to smash you as you run around him. The camera does a fantastic job of focusing right on the catterkiller as you attack him. At the end of the level a giant female version of one of these caterkillers chases you down, smashing the narrow path behind you as you run over a pit of poisonous water. The whole scene is reminiscent of the many chase scenes Sonic has been apart of other the years, though nothing beats a killer whale or a giant GUN truck.


The only negative thing I can say about the Windy Hill is the transition between the floating islands that make up the level. Whenever Sonic reaches the end of an area he bounces off a spring. The camera then cuts to Sonic suspended awkwardly in the air as the next part of the game loads. The transition is very jarring and just looks sloppy, completely at odds with the rest of Windy Hill’s presentation. If the camera had followed him from the spring to the next area instead of this odd camera cut, it would have fit and looked less sloppy.

The other 3DS stage is an all new, exclusive 2-D version of Desert Ruins 2 that looks nothing like the Wii U version. This time around Sonic is running around inside what looks like an Egyptian pyramid. Here, Sonic can run up walls using his speed dash and attack enemies with some kind of kinetic wave that comes from his hands. Kinda odd. You also need to position these sentient rolling balls that follow you and can damage you if mishandled. You have to get them on a switch and stun them with an attack so some stairs can drop and you can proceed further. There are also spots where you cannot progress further until you free some animals by smashing more badniks, which causes a lot of backtracking. Also, positioning and stunning the balls can be a bit of a pain. It ends up more frustrating than fun and an odd choice for a demo level to show off. It’s like in Sonic 1 when you go from Green Hill to the very slow Marble Garden Zone. The game suddenly slows to a crawl.


At a technical level, the entire demo looked great. The simpler visuals allow for a much better framerate on the 3DS as the game tends to run at 30+ FPS, which is a significant improvement over Sonic Generations. The controls work very well too, though in this version they’ve gone the more conventional route and have mapped the spindash to the Y button rather then a trigger. However, while Dimps does get all the technical stuff right, it’s their level design that needs work. At least if the demo is anything to go by. While I’m 100% sold on Sonic Lost World for Wii U as you can tell by my hands-on for SEGAbits, the 3DS version needs to have better level design than what we saw in the demo.

Sonic Lost World will be available on both Wii U and DS later this Fall.

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  1. I got the impression that LW3DS is far more focused on little mini-challenges akin to the planetoids of Mario Galaxy. It looks far better than any other handheld Sonic game at this point (especially more recent outings), so I’m totally sold on this version as well (totally not just because I won’t have my Wii U with me at college).
    Also, not to be nitpicky, but Windy /Valley/? And Labyrinth following Green Hill… yep. Definitely Sonic 1 beta.

  2. That wave that comes from Sonic is the Shockwave aerial attack from the Gameboy Advance game Sonic Battle. It is clear to see now that very few people realized this. I was hoping the reaction for this version would be more positive, but I guess Sonic’s handheld career is taking a dive downward. I just hope it doesn’t become what it was in the game-gear days. 🙁

    1. With that description and just a picture it’s hard to tell. But with sonic battle being my third favorite sonic game I probably would’ve noticed if i played it or saw a video. It is quite a shame no one cares about the handheld games. They never stooped to the level of the console games with sonic 06 or black knight or secret rings. They were almost all good from sonic chaos and on.

      1. Srry, that other part was supposed to be for the other guy, not you.

        But just watch the IGN Gameplay footage. It is clearly Sonic doing a backflip and shooting it with his feet.

        I have no idea where they got “from his hands” from.

      2. It is interesting to hear your take on this. I didn’t mean to be hard on any of the handheld games, including the game gear ones, I probably could have worded that better. Yes, the handheld games never stooped low before, in fact, I even think that Sonic Advance one, two, and three beat Sonic the Hedgehog one, two, and three. Although, I don’t think anything can beat the awesome technology that was Sonic and Knuckles’ lock-on technology. People should respect the handheld titles a lot more, I mean, look what the Nintendo DS offered for Sonic’s 15th anniversary then look what the consoles offered for Sonic’s 15th and tell me which one did a better job. On a side note, SEGA should make a Sonic Battle 2 for 3DS with online multi-player or just a re-release of Sonic Battle on the 3DS e-shop with those features and more bonus content.

        1. Agreed, another Sonic fighting game would be awesome, I don’t mind if it’s for Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, PS3 or downloadable. Also Capcom just loves to make fighting game crossovers, perhaps we could see a Sega VS Capcom or Sonic VS Megaman fighting game someday.

          Also I’m probably alone in this but I have always tought it would be cool to make a Sonic RPG with the gameplay of Sonic Battle, of course with the casual RPG elements implemented (a party, leveling up, learning attacks, equipable items, elemental powers, side effects, etc.)

    2. Nah. I dont agree with you.

      I wont argue with you about how noone should be surprised with this attack Because Sonic has done wave and wind attacks before in the past. But this definitely doesnt look like Sonics shot attack from battle.

      In Battle, it was more like a torrent, or focused cluster of wind that he shot after spinning in a ball. This is just Sonic doing a blue Death Wave from with his feet. XD

      They look nothing alike in action or outcome.

      1. Admittedly, I suppose you are right, but you must admit that it looks very similar or the developer at least had inspiration from the shockwave attack. I guess we must wait for more information on the 3DS version of Sonic Lost World until the official name of the attack is uncovered. To be honest though, I don’t think there has ever been an official game before besides sonic battle that has done “wave and wind attacks”. Besides maybe his tornado from Sonic heroes.

        1. there are a few moves that are fairly similar.

          The ‘Sonic Wind’ from adventure 2 battle. His tornado move from Heroes, a couple of his team attacks from Sonic Chronicles. And, if you really think about it, he does a kinetic shock like move in ‘Sonic 3 and Knuckles’ when you hit the jump button twice.

          And even then, hes done more ridiculus moves in the shows and comics.

    3. It looks like it but they’re quite different, this attack is made by a fast slash kick, and the attack in Battle was made by a spindash charge, but yeah they are very similar, and frankly I think the problem with recent Sonic handheld games is that Colors DS and Generations 3DS were based on home console games, given them a lot of restriction in their development, I won’t blame DIMPS for this because they also developed Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure, 2 great game without any restrains in their development.

      1. For the record the name of the song played during Windy Valley is “Windy Hill”, they are probalby completely unrelated though the name of the game is Lost World just like stage 9 of Sonic Adventure hmmm…

  3. Jason here.

    Sorry about the mistakes in the article. I was in a bit of a rush because I was running late for work and should have just put the article in draft instead of publishing before I had a chance to look over it. I noticed the mistakes and work and thankfully Nuckles87 (Alex) was kind enough to correct said mistakes.

    1. It’s average. Not better or worse than Generations. Also, it was hard to tell because it was on the tiny 3DS original.

  4. Yeah, I noticed the transition antic too from the trailer alone, hope they remove them completely, also the second stage made me wonder that in fact every act in Sonic Lost World (Wii U and 3DS) would be very different from each other (visually at least).

  5. the game looks great I cant wait for it!

    also, head up there’s a nice huge SEGA sale going on the Xbox 360. would be nice to let people know about it. haha

  6. I thought Desert Ruins looks great on the 3DS to be honest. This game looks much better than Generations 3DS (which was stupidly simple). I didnt like the Wisp power though.

  7. I actually like Sonic Generations more than this. So that makes me hate this game as much as Sonic Colors. Here is a list of games I don’t like:

    Sonic Adventure DX Director’s Cut
    Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
    Sonic Heroes
    Shadow The Hedgehog
    Sonic and the Secret Rings
    Sonic Unleashed
    Sonic Colors
    Sonic Rush
    Sonic Rush Adventure
    Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

  8. The game looks great. Gonna get this version ( can’t. afford. the Wii U Version T-T)

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