Available on Nintendo 3DS
It’s been a rough few years for Sonic and company. They’ve learned that striking a balance between platforming and speed is a lot harder than it seems. Luckily, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice avoids a lot of the mistakes its predecessors have made, shaping itself into an enjoyable, if not generic, adventure with the blue hedgehog and his pals.
Dr. Eggman is at it again, building robots that can run faster than Sonic and pollute the environment at the same time. With another evil threatening their home Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks have to team up and put a stop to the Doctor’s nefarious plan.
We’re presented this tale with several cheesy cutscenes featuring the same voice actors from the 2014 Sonic Boom TV show. While they try to add a sense of purpose to the game they feel like they were tacked on as an afterthought.
What’s worse is the overall presentation of the levels and overworld. Everything feels drastically bland as if it could be copied and pasted to most $2 side-scrollers on iTunes. Absolutely nothing stands out in almost every level in the game. Plants, enemies, collectables, and obstacles all share the same low level of detail as the environment around them.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice gets a lot wrong with its presentation. But guiding Sonic through a variety of stages and challenges is surprisingly fun. It’s a traditional side-scroller that has you making minor adjustments to avoid obstacles as Sonic sprints through each stage.
What makes it challenging is the range of adjustments you have to make to overcome new hurdles. Every character has both fire and ice powers at their disposal. Pressing the trigger buttons can either melt objects with fire or freeze them with ice. This creates paths through open water and through blocks of ice. These new elements add to the jumps, hits, and dodges you already need to complete.
It gets rather difficult as button presses to hit an enemy with a spin attack don’t always register, bringing your adventure to a complete halt. Errors like that can be frustrating, but the game is quite forgiving with the number of checkpoints it spreads out in each course.
Additional abilities like hammer smashes and shovel claws are available through Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Sticks. Sonic is still far more enjoyable than any of his friends, but they do help grant you access to different parts of levels that include various collectables and additional challenges that provide an extra a bit of fun.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice was developed with kids in mind. Each cut scene has a level of comedy that’s perfect for younger children. The ESRB gave it an E for Everyone rating, only calling out vague instances of Mild Cartoon Violence.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is a good a game, but it’s not great. While it’s hard to overlook the bland music and generic world that Sega has created, there is quite of bit of fun to be had exploring each level with the new fire and ice mechanics. If you’re looking to enjoy some classic side-scrolling action, then this adventure may scratch that itch. But if you want anything more, you’ll walk away disappointed.