The Sonic Boom TV series came out in 2014 and has really shaken up the series. There was significant criticism levied at the first game Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric and the game was riddled with bugs and technical issues. Even still, Sonic Boom Shattered Crystals was seen as a far better game by critics and fans. Sega is soon releasing another title based on the cartoon Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. Is it going to be the hottest new game or will it leave fans out in the cold.
Like Sonic Boom Shattered Crystals, this game is a platformer which has a stronger focus on exploration than simply pure speed. That said, the designers tried to put a bit more emphasis on classic Sonic gameplay, and it shows. The levels feel a bit more like a traditional Sonic level with lots of speed sections. In the demo, there were plenty of sections where you chained homing attacks off of foes, swung from ropes using a grapple beam and bounced off springs.
The main mechanic of this game is fire and ice. You character can have and fire or ice aura around them. The ice aura freezes platforms when you touch them, and the fire aura melts ice blocks. Its an interesting mechanic, albeit a bit simple. There wasn’t much it did outside of that. It was, however, ever easy to toggle between the two modes.
The demo featured three characters: Sonic, Tails and Amy, who is a new addition from the previous game. They each had a unique ability which you could activate with the X button. Sonic could do an air dash and use the classic spin dash, Tails could fire a laser, and Amy could break objects with her hammer. Beyond a few minor differences (such as Tail’s ability to use his tails to slow his decent), the characters were relatively the same. Additionally, it always felt like the characters were too slow. You could move a bit faster by holding the Y button, but it felt cumbersome and unnecessary.
The controls also bogged the game down. Unlike traditional Sonic games, which minimized the number of buttons used, Sonic Boom Fire and Ice uses every button the 3DS has. X is your character’s unique ability, B is jump, Y does a homing attack and A interacts with objects. While moving through a level, it was hard to manage what each button did, and was one of the biggest drawbacks to the game.
In addition to traditional running and jumping levels, I also got to play a minigame with Tails and a boss fight. The submarine section had me trying to blast rocks and grab timers to keep my health up. The health bar would drain slowly over time, but would also decrease if the player collides with a rock. The minigame was alright, but wasn’t necessarily exciting. The sub could also boost, but I didn’t try it out.
The boss fight was against a giant totem like enemy. You play with Amy and Sonic in a tag team battle. In the first phase, Sonic has to dodge its attacks, and strike its hard with a homing attack when able. Once the player does that, it’s Amy’s turn to try and raise a giant ice pillar all while avoiding stacks of ice blocks that push you away. Then, Sonic switches in one more time to maneuver up the ice pillar, utilizing his air dash the fire and ice auras to climb it; then, you can finally attack the boss. The fire and ice mechanic really shined in this fight, and the tag team style really highlighted the characters abilities. That said, the pacing was weird as you had to do that aforementioned sequence twice. It seem like it was both too short and too long at the same time. Hitting the boss once took a while, yet the boss’s attacks never felt fleshed out as it only happens twice.
Overall, the game was alright. It played alright, but at the same time, wasn’t very impressive and the controls were a bit cumbersome. We’ll have to see how the fire and ice mechanic works and if it’s any more interesting than in the demo.