Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal

  • Original Platform: 3DS
  • Where to get: 3DS eShop

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal was the 3DS companion game for the infamous Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric on Wii U. From a technical standpoint, Shattered Crystal is a marvel compared to the Wii U game, as I didn’t encounter any problems.

In Shattered Crystal, you can switch between Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Sticks – a crazy, paranoid badger with a boomerang – at any point by tapping the screen or the d-pad. All the characters feel the same in terms of how they run, jump, use their grappling hook and attack but they all have a unique ability: Sonic can dash through blocks (and gain extra height), Tails can glide and use gusts of wind, Knuckles can dig through tunnels and Sticks can throw her boomerang, mainly to activate switches.

When you have a decent platforming section, Shattered Crystal is really good fun, stringing together jumps, homing attacks and grapples is very satisfying. Sometimes having to switch characters can slow this down, but when the game lets you go fast, it’s a very solid game.

But Shattered Crystal isn’t about going fast. It’s about exploring overly large maze-like levels. To progress the game, you will need to collect Sonic badges. Completing each level will get you one, but this isn’t enough to progress, so you will need to find 6 blueprints and 4 crystal shards in each level. You need to find all of each in a level to get the Sonic badge (so collecting 5 blueprints in multiple levels is useless).

As you explore these maze-like levels you will encounter slingshots that send you to another part of the level, some of which will mean that you are now blocked, so if a collectible was there, you’ll have to do the level another time to progress. Other parts of the game can block progress backwards, too. On top of this, the first 5 or so levels you first play without all characters, so collecting them all is impossible first time round.

All this just makes the game slow, dull and frustrating. It’s a shame, because the core gameplay is solid. There are a couple of different types of levels: there are a couple of race levels which are amazing levels: it’s all about getting from A to B as fast as possible, there are multiple routes but generally the higher ones are quicker. The other kind are “worm tunnels”, where you run into the screen and move left/right to change path to dodge obstacles and collect rings. These levels are also really good.

While this game is based on the TV show, I don’t think it involves any of the writers from it. Sonic Boom’s jokes are surprisingly funny, while Shattered Crystal is just painful to read.

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