Another Sonic launch is upon us. Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is now available in North America, marking the first release of a Sonic game in over a year – Olympics titles notwithstanding. Unfortunately, this game has the unenviable job of following up two of the biggest critical and commercial failures the series has ever seen – Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal. With the shortcomings of those titles still fresh in fans’ minds, it’s clear that Fire and Ice has its work cut out for it.
So how’s it doing so far? If early impressions are any indication, Fire & Ice is a marked improvement over its predecessor – though that’s admittedly not a very high bar to clear. As of the time of this writing, the game sits at a 65 on Metacritic out of 19 distinct reviews; its User Score sits a fair bit higher at 78. The most common complaints target the game’s bland presentation and short length, but many outlets praised it for how much better than Shattered Crystal it seems to be. For proof of such praise, look no further than IGN of all places, whose 7.5 / 10 rating currently stands as one of the game’s highest:
While Fire and Ice’s art direction and music are woefully generic, the well-constructed level layouts create a solid arcade-style experience that accomplishes a sense of extraordinary speed while accommodating a reasonable degree of control. Sonic Boom successfully draws from much of what makes the best of classic Sonic game play satisfying, sprinkles in a better-conceived exploratory structure, and remixes it into an intelligent, cohesive, and rewarding package.
On the opposite end of the spectrum sits outlets like Lazygamer, which awarded the game a mere 3.9 / 10:
Fire and Ice just isn’t a good game. While its platforming may be mechanically sound, the game just tries to do too much – and fails at most of it. If you’re looking for a return to form for Sonic the Hedgehog, Fire and Ice unfortunately isn’t it.
For the most part, however, reviews appear largely lukewarm, with this excerpt from Nintendo Life’s 6 / 10 review summing things up pretty succinctly:
A solid effort and worth consideration on 3DS. The core campaign blends a variety of styles, with the main stages employing an enjoyable mix of exploration and puzzle solving with moments of satisfying momentum and speed. There are some slightly disappointing downsides, and it’s a game that occasionally feels constrained rather than supported by its source material. Overall, however, it deserves credit for what it does well, and should certainly be tempting to fans of the show and also broader Sonic enthusiasts willing to accept its limitations.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice arrives on September 30th in Europe, October 1st in Australia, and October 27th in Japan. If you’ve already started playing the game, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below.