Sonic 4: Episode 2 – Hands-on preview

During GDC week I got a sneak peek of a couple of new games from SEGA, due to release later this year.

The kind dudes at the SEGA Digital Download event in foggy London Town allowed me to get my grubby paws on Sonic 4 Episode 2, and Total War Battles: Shogun for iOS. They also looked disappointed when I walked in and said they were ‘Expecting Nigel or Torbjorn’.  I’m clearly a rock star in the industry.

I read somewhere that gamers had been waiting 16 years for Sonic 4, Episode 1 which was released in 2010.  If this is true, I’m seriously going to stop complaining about my train to work in the morning. Anyway, the release of Episode 2 is imminent and it’s looking pretty well, err pretty.

It’s definitely a looker. When I picked up the iPad, I thought they were somehow beaming the PS3 version to it. (Incidentally, I did also play the PS3 version and they look very similar – that’s either a great thing for iOS gaming, or a terrible thing for PS3 owners). The graphics are fantastic; with slick animation and gorgeous looking backdrops which are part of an all new physics engine. The rich colour of the whole thing is lovely to look at and when Sonic is racing across levels, the sense of speed is a major highlight. Definitely unlike anything on iOS. Except Sonic 4, Episode 1, obviously.

The game also features Tails.  We’re not talking about your iPhone suddenly sprouting a bushy mess of fur – although that would be kind of cool – more like Sonic’s Foxy sidekick. He’s available from the start, and one of the new features of the game is the cooperative moves Sonic and Tails can team up for.  There’s a dedicated button for Sonic/ Tails combos, with the two of them either turning into a superfast ball of destruction that rips up the screen, or Tails politely helping Sonic into the air with his whirring tail.  As well as this, you can also get a taste of Metal Sonic, one of Sonic’s arch enemies. Well, to be fair he’s probably the most archest of enemies ever, considering he’s basically Sonic with a metal face.  Because as we know, supersonic hedgehogs shouldn’t just be limited to flesh and blood, they should be cyborgs too.

I only got to play two levels for the demo, but they were classic Sonic. If you’ve played any Sonic game in the past…I don’t know, 50 or so years, you’ll be right at home here. That means racing through levels at such a speed that you’ll want to stop for a second to admire the scenery in case you missed something, collecting rings, and bouncing off the walls en route to mega boss battles.

The controls are pretty straightforward: a virtual joystick and a couple of buttons that allow Sonic and Tails to curl into a ball and jump into enemies and on platforms, plus that previously mentioned combo button. Double tapping jump makes both characters slam into enemies, a bit like Blanka from Street Fighter.

S4E2 (it sounds cooler that way) will be available ‘this Spring’.

Check out this gameplay trailer:

I also checked out Total War Battles: SHOGUN. Read that preview here.

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  • Brett Technoman

    I only have the ipod touch 3rd generation, you think it would work on that?