Review by ShadowGuardian9

"Another cash-in, Sega?"

Sonic grew to intense popularity in the 90's, being a major hit on the Sega Genesis. His grand debut and respective sequels proved to be serious moneymakers for the folks at Sega. As Sega's competition entered the 3rd dimension, it was about time for the speedy blue hero to enter the world of 3-D. Well, sort of. Instead of a full 3-D Sonic game the like of Sonic Adventure (which came later on) Sega released an isometric chapter for Sonic. As Sonic's first foray into the third dimension, is Sonic 3D Blast a hit? Even more interesting, are your Wii Points well spent on this game in the Wii Shop?

Remember those little animals inside the robots of the past Sonic games? Well, they actually have a purpose now. They're Flickies, and they hold the key to the cross-dimensional madness of Flicky Island. Dr. Robotnik, is his classic sense of megalomania, wants to take the Flickies' control of the island, and guess what? Rule the world! Robotnik takes the little guys prisoner inside robots and Sonic must journey across the Flicky Island to save them. Sonic must find the robots, rescue the Flickies, and return them to the giant dimensional rings to regain control. Quite a story, eh? Well, yeah, it's basically the same thing as other Sonic games, but this one is in 3-D!

Sonic controls in the nuanced world of 3-D isometrics, his first entry, where he can move in more than two dimensions. The speedy hero can be controlled using the D-Pad (or analog stick depending upon your control choice) and can jump and spin dash on respective buttons. It is compatible with the Wii Remote, so no extra controllers are needed. The controls can be customized, but Sonic running looks and feels more like he's gliding on the surface. He's extremely clunky and jittery in his movements, and the entire concept of running is slippery and misplaced (more on that later). It takes some serious practice to get Sonic's controls under…well…control. Fortunately the game has a relatively traditional learning curve, so there isn't a ton of pressure in exploring Sonic 3D Blast.

Sonic 3D Blast is basically a collection of fetch quests. Now before you get mad, these fetch quests are generally pretty cool. Sonic must find the robots, collect the Flickies, and without losing rings from an attack, return them to the giant rings. The Flickies hide inside many different robots and enemies types and have different qualities depending on color. This is great from this standpoint; finding the robots and defeating them takes some skill and is generally pretty cool. The real problem lies in Sonic; Sonic 3D Blast at its core and heart, is not a Sonic game. Even compared to the slower levels of Sonic 3, Sonic 3D Blast is more an exploration game and not a high-speed platformer at all. It has some interesting moments, specifically the bosses and the later levels, but the slippery controls, embarrassingly easy special stages, and complete lack of familiarity to Sonic fans makes 3D Blast a misstep.

The graphics are pretty cool. The levels are diverse and challenging, and the soundtrack is upbeat and remains true to the Sonic presentation. But Sonic 3D Blast for the Wii is (once again) shoved away by its price. At 800 Wii Points ($8) Sonic 3D Blast is poorly priced, mostly because of its short length at only seven levels and the fact that it's included in many different collections. It's not a bad game by any means; it has its moments of looking and playing good for what it is (and not what it tries not to be) and it is a generally good game. On the other hand, this is another speedy cash-in by Sega. Save your Wii Points and pick up a collection instead, or even skip this rather underwhelming entry in Sonic's history.

Pros
+ Nice isometric 3-D graphics
+ Challenging design
+ Cool bosses
+ Compatible with Wii Remote

Cons
- Too expensive
- Is really not a “Sonic” game
- Controls feel too slick
- One big treasure hunt

Sonic 3D Blast has long since been an underrated (and in some cases, infamous) chapter in Sonic's lifespan, but there really is something to love in the game. The concept of treasure hunting may not be that incredible, but it has its charm. The Sonic image, on the other hand, is simply tacked on: outside of some characters, this game could live on without the Sonic name and still be a generally fun game. The problem is that Sonic 3D Blast can easily be bought at a cheaper price in the many collections out there and the Wii version doesn't really show anything new or interesting. If you're a fan of adventure games with fetch quests (and there are some of you, trust me) Sonic 3D Blast is fun there. Just try to find it at a better price and skip the Wii emulation completely.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/07

Game Release: Sonic 3D Blast (US, 11/19/07)


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