It’s classic Sonic, sure, but with a strange insistence that you need overbearing guidance to cope with simple new moves.
Sonic 4: Episode 2 Review
by on June 1, 2012
Sega’s buffed up Sonic’s sneakers for the remainder of his fourth (but not really fourth) adventure. Don’t get too excited, though. It hasn’t done anything radical, like Nintendo’s tricks to keep Mario fresh. This is a continuation of classic Sonic’s revival, paired with minor new features.
Sonic’s weight and momentum feel better – more like in his oldest games. His character model looks better, too, but Sega hasn’t made use of the new iPad’s resolution. Jagged edges can be seen when moving slowly.
Pushing down to begin a spin dash remains frustrating. This led to us repeatedly failing one level where you must race to avoid being crushed, meaning we often had to restart the whole level several times over.
Key elements of Sonic 2 are resurrected. Chaos Emeralds are earned by racing into a 3D pipe, and manoeuvering to collect rings. Tails gets an integral role, rather than simply shadowing Sonic’s every move. The tag button directs him to use his tail as a rotor to carry Sonic, curl up with him in a wall-breaking ball, or propel him through underwater sections, which were often a drag in the past.
The game literally signposts which of these moves to use, and when. That’s nice at first, but it continues far into the game. One sign reveals the final move to fell a boss – as if hotspots on its body aren’t enough? It’s like your intelligence and desire to explore isn’t trusted, which is bizarre when Sonic has long offered multiple routes through levels. We’re half-expecting Sonic to come equipped with a sat nav on his next adventure.
The first boss battle left us underwhelmed, but they get better. When you reach the third and fourth bosses, you’ll be drowning in floods of fan service and retro heaven. On top of that, if you’ve got Episode I, Sega pulls off a neat trick that unlocks Episode Metal. It’s a series of bonus levels (harder reworkings of old ones), which you play as Metal Sonic. It’s intended to act as a bridge between Sonic CD and Sonic 4, but narrative isn’t exactly a strong point of the series, so it’s best seen as a cool – and tough – little extra.
Like any Sonic game, this one’s an acquired taste. It isn’t endearing to keep running into obstacles that spoil the speedy spectacle, but it’s fun developing a mix of memory and instinct to maintain the momentum.
Download this app: Sonic 4 Episode II for iPhone and iPad
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Review courtesy of Tap!