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Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2014 Review Round-Up 1

Sonic Time Twisted

Sonic Time Twisted feels like it’s been in development for a generation. The game has been around in some shape or form for most of my time in the Sonic community and it returns this year with a new engine and some incredible new graphics.

First off let’s talk about gameplay. This is traditional Sonic platforming and very reminiscent of Sonic CD complete with time travel. You have you all the standard abilities you expect from a Sonic game with spin dashes and super peel-outs making an obvious appearance. This is powered by a wonderfully accurate Sonic engine which plays exactly how you’d expect a 16 bit era Sonic game to handle. The momentum-based physics are here, Sonic feels like he has weight yet he’s still spry on his feet and simply a joy to control.

The main differences lie in the stage gimmicks, new badniks and some new shields. The new additions to the shield library include one that can freeze enemies to help you attack them easier as well as a wind shield which gives you temporary control of Sonic in mid-air. These are welcome new additions to the existing shields.

The stages in Time Twisted often throw you off guard with some brilliantly inventive set pieces like wormholes, jump-activated swinging platforms, the return of the spark-balls from Sonic & Knuckles and much more. Coupled with some mad badniks that include some that wield bladed yo-yos, death-ray enabled UFOs and variations of the orbinaut, the whole demo is drenched in interesting ideas.

The game is also presented with a beautiful aesthetic which means everything in Time Twisted is completely custom. Sprites are gorgeous and well animated while the stages themselves absolutely shine. To top it all off Time Twisted boasts a completely custom soundtrack which suits the action perfectly.

What lets the game down is the amount of bugs. Past and future transporters can occasionally send you to different zones which is confusing but bizarrely generous. Using the spark-balls in the second stage can cause issues with Knuckles and Tails as you automatically detach from them in flying or gliding mode. This completely ruins the game for Knuckles as it means you can’t progress as his glide doesn’t give him the elevation to get to next spark-ball. Speaking of Knuckles, there were occasions in the second stage where I simply wouldn’t stick to walls when attempting to climb them. Finally, upon defeat of the game’s boss the game simply hangs there and doesn’t restart which is only a minor complaint but it gives Time Twisted a general feel of laziness.

The Sonic Time Twisted demo feels incomplete and unpolished which strikes you as odd seeing how high the quality of the game engine and graphics are. If more time was spent testing the game and catching those last few bugs this would have been an amazing experience. Regardless this is still a great 2D Sonic offering.



Sonic Edge of Darkness

Sonic Edge of Darkness follows the traditional 16 bit Sonic formula very closely as well but with the addition of the homing attack to help defeat badniks easier. It’s actually one of the better implemented homing attacks I’ve seen in a 2D fan game and it works remarkably well in every instance I used it against an enemy.

The game is also an astoundingly pretty game. All the artwork in Edge of Darkness is of the highest quality and the stages and sprites are gorgeous to look at. There’s lots of custom work here as well which helps the game stand out amongst its peers. I especially like the little ghostly trail the characters leave behind them when they jump or spin attack.

Stages have also been designed to take advantage of each characters special abilities with certain areas only being available to Knuckles (as he can smash walls) and Tails who can fly to out of reach places. This adds some great replay value to the game as you’ll want to go back and see what else the game has to offer.

The level design is also top notch. The stages flow really well and do that brilliant thing of rewarding you with speed for precision platforming. The only thing really letting the game down are the badniks which are generally quite static and just lie in your path for you to collide with. This is a shame because there was definitely room to showcase some interesting gimmicks.

The second stage also felt quite empty in comparison to the first. There never felt like there was much threat to my progress and I breezed through the stage with almost no encounters with enemies. Luckily the stage design was still fantastic but it would have been nice to have had more stuff thrown at me.

Overall Sonic Edge of Darkness is a highly polished and well made Sonic fan game that uses a great engine and gives you two extremely well made stages to explore. This is definitely one of the highlights of the show.



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