Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Hands-On Preview [E3 2014]


Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Hands-On Preview [E3 2014]

At Sega’s E3 booth this year, their focus was definitely on the recently-announced pair of Wii U and 3DS Sonic Boom titles, which are serving as companions to a new cartoon series launching alongside them this November. I took the opportunity while checking the booth out to try the two demo levels of the 3DS version, Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal.

The first level I tried featured Sonic only, and played in a similar fashion to his more recent 3D outings. The main difference this time around, however, was that he seemed to run forward automatically the whole time, and my controls were limited to quick-stepping left and right and jumping.

The more intriguing level of the two was the following one, which was a traditional side-scrolling platformer with the additional function to instantly switch between Sonic and three other characters (Tails, Knuckles, and newcomer Sticks) using the lower touch screen. The characters will have unique abilities, be they iconic ones like Tails’ hover, or new ones like Sticks’ boomerang, both of which can be used to access new areas. Besides traditional Sonic-style platforming, Shattered Crystal looks like it will definitely contain a good amount of variety, as one section of the level led to Tails activating a remote-controlled submarine that had to explore an underwater maze.

After playing, I took the opportunity to speak to a nearby representative, who turned out to be Mat Kraemer, an employee at the game’s developer, Sanzaru, who were also responsible for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time on the PS3 and Vita last year. Kraemer, who is the lead designer for Shattered Crystal, was able to answer a few questions and provide some additional info.

I learned that Sticks will be exclusively playable on the 3DS, with series regular Amy Rose taking her place in the Wii U game. Furthermore, Tails’ submarine level will also make repeat appearances in other levels, and when I pointed out a comparison in the game’s apparent structure in progressing through levels to such series as Metroid and Castlevania, Kraemer said that was no accident. Sanzaru has a lot of love for that formula, and pointed it out as a great example of game that can appeal to both completionists looking to 100% a title and those who just want to focus on the campaign.

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal will launch alongside the Wii U game, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric this November. Stay tuned for more info.

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