Sonic Boom is a departure from both classic 2D Sonic the Hedgehog and the 3D games like Sonic Adventure. The Wii U version developed by Big Red Button plays more like a platformer where Sonic kicks robot butt.
Sonic still has his Spin Dash, but other than zipping up ramps designed specifically for Sonic it isn’t that useful on the field. I found the Spin Dash was best used to close distance between Sonic and robot attackers. Crashing into a robot counts as a hit and you can follow up with a combo by pressing the Y button to make Sonic unleash a flurry of kicks. Sonic is a speedy fighter in Sonic Boom and completely the opposite of Knuckles who was paired with Sonic. Knuckles is slow, but powerful. His three hit combo smashed all of the fodder enemies I came across in the demo level. Knuckles has some new attacks too like a breakdancing flare move which is good for crowd control and he can burrow.
Amy is armed with a hammer and a three hit combo. Although, she doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Knuckles. Amy also has a move where she lunges forward with her hammer and spins it. The biggest difference Amy has compared to the other characters is she is the only character with a triple jump. Tails stands out from the Sonic Boom team as the only ranged attacker. He can fire grenades by pressing X and this move can be charged too. Pressing Y makes Tails drop a robot that seeks out enemies.
All four of Sonic Boom’s heroes have a new item called the Enerbeam, which is kind of like an electric lasso. You can use the Enerbeam to yank off enemy shields and grab enemies. After you tie an enemy up, Sonic spins the enemy around with the Enerbeam until you toss it at another enemy. That’s the trick to defeating the Crab Driller mini-boss in the demo.
You can run fast if you want to in Sonic Boom, but it feels like Big Red Button rewards players for taking their time to search for items. Sonic Boom has a lot of collectables. You can find robot scrap parts, which are used for upgrades. I also found a Crown when I backtracked and kicked a moving trampoline into place. Players can also search for Shinies, buried treasure which you can only see by using the Wii U controller to light up a path to the item. Big Red Button wouldn’t give specifics on what players will earn from collecting all of these items other than some items unlock concept art.
Another demo had a boss fight with Eggman. This was the first time where all four Sonic Boom characters were together and you can switch between any of them during the fight. The computer controlled the other three characters. Eggman takes his egg shaped spaceship and merges it with a walker way out of of Sonic’s jumping reach. Just like the Crab Driller, I grabbed robots with the Enerbeam and toss them at Eggman. When Eggman is stunned you can use the Enerbeam and yank Eggman. This makes all of the other computer controlled characters pull out their Enerbeams too and together you can pull Eggman to the ground. Once grounded, you can mash the attack button to make the Sonic Boom team rush Eggman as a group, kind of like Persona’s all-out attacks.
Sonic Boom is slated for release later this year on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.