Fiery Hot or Icy Not?
When Sonic Boom was revealed, fans of the Blue Blur and gamers alike were flabbergasted. How could they bastardize a beloved gaming icon! While others gave the new side-series a chance, that goodwill soon soured with the release of the Wii U's Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, a game that rivals the dreadful Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 in pure, unadulterated awfulness. Though the CG cartoon Sonic Boom is a quality series, the gaming portion of the franchise has yet to strike gold... or even come close, for that matter. Will the newest Nintendo 3DS entry, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice heat things up or leave players in the cold?
Things have been overhauled since Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal. Levels are less like labyrinths and more like action stages as seen in traditional 2D Sonic games outside the Boom lineage. There is also no focus on being required to collect items in levels. Instead, everything in a level is purely optional to obtain, though those wanting the most bang for the rings will want to explore every inch of a level for goodies, such as hammers for Amy, springs for Sticks, and special challenge areas, possessing the most difficult platforming trials in the game.
|While quite tropical, this level is hardly a summer getaway for Sonic and friends.|
Most levels feature shared obstacles to avoid and contraptions to interact with, such as spheres that Sonic and friends can tether to in order to swing across gaps, platforms that shortly disappear once a character stands on them, and aforementioned things like springs and boosters. Thankfully, some levels do introduce new contraptions and obstacles for Sonic and friends to contend with. These include things like platforms that swing back and forth from a chain, a barrel that blocks progress that can have its fuses lit to cause it to explode, and character-specific obstacles.
|The tether, something that Sonic and friends will be using a lot in Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice.|
|Tails has two special abilities: the ability to slowly hover to the ground |
like so, as well as the ability to use a blaster.
|You better heat up, Sonic, before those spike blocks crash down on you.|
|Even Knuckles gets in on the speedy action in Fire & Ice.|
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice isn't a long adventure by any means. To 100% complete it, you'll need about 8-10 hours, though thankfully this time around the bonus for 100% isn't just the Sonic crew dancing, mocking you wasting part of your life going for 100%. There are numerous things to unlock, such as new bots to race on Thunder Island, the racing destination of the game; as well as currency to spend on behind-the-scenes content like concept art and sneak peeks at stuff from the upcoming season two of the Sonic Boom cartoon.
Fire & Ice is a serviceable game visually. There is a great deal of detail in the backgrounds, and the different environments presented through them are the stars of the show here. Sonic and friends' character models aren't as well done, however, looking a bit bizarre up close, and due to each level's ending screen, you'll be seeing them up close quite a lot. The game also has some minor frame-rate issues, some most noticeable in certain sections of levels, where for me it slowed down to a single digit crawl for a brief couple of seconds. However, those times are awfully rare. When it concerns sound, the voice actors do a fine job bringing the Saturday morning cartoon feel of the show to Fire & Ice, though the music is quite forgettable-- a shame considering the same composer did tremendous work with Sonic 3D Blast's Saturn version and Sonic R.
|The backgrounds and environments, like the one in this special challenge area, look best in Fire & Ice.|
[SPC Says: C+]