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Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2014 Review Round-Up 2

Sonic Project Eclipse

Am I having deja-vu? I swear I’ve seen these art assets before… oh, that’s right! These were previously used in Sonic Time Twisted!

Yes, Sonic Project Eclipse might look familiar but I’m guessing Overbound must have sanctioned the use of his old graphics otherwise they wouldn’t be appearing in this game. Luckily they still hold up and Project Eclipse is quite a pretty little game with its custom sprites and tile-set.

However there’s quite a glaring issue with the game; it offers nothing new. Project Eclipse plays exactly like a 16 bit Sonic game and outside some slightly altered badnik designs (the buzzbombers fire two shots now) there simply isn’t anything fresh for you to experience. Yes the gameplay engine is tight and everything works as it should, but with nothing new to showcase the whole experience is incredibly familiar.

The demo is remarkably short as well with only a single stage on show. With such a small amount of content on display its very difficult for me to tell what the developer is trying to achieve with this. At the moment I can only assume Project Eclipse is going to be a traditional Sonic game with no new power-ups, abilities or gimmicks and that I might get a new badnik or two and the stage layouts are different. Is that something to be excited about? I’m not so sure.



Sonic Game Land

Sonic Game Land is a peculiar entry at this year’s SAGE because it gets a lot of things right while making a lot of mistakes at the same time. This demo features Sonic gameplay that is remarkably similar to modern 3D Sonic games like the Sonic Adventure series. You have a homing attack, a mid-air kick, wall-running, the ability to grind as well as use other modern gimmicks like speed and ring boosters. What makes these inclusions so different is the game is 2D instead of 3D where these abilities (especially the homing attack) make more sense.

Luckily they’re well implemented and Sonic Game Land is a fast-paced and extremely well built game. The controls can get a bit floaty and we often found ourselves over-jumping certain obstacles (the rail section became quite frustrating due to this), but overall this is a game that controls very well.

The presentation is also masterfully executed especially as this is an Advance-styled game. Usually Advance fan games simply source existing tile-sets and do very little with them (you wouldn’t believe the amount of fan games we’ve seen that use Leaf Forest and Neo Green Hill tile-sets), but Game Land creates a very interesting and unique looking play area that it can claim as its own.

The problem with this fan game is that it feels like it’s holding your hand a lot of the time. The stage is played through a tutorial which teaches you the basics, something that is probably unimportant to the Sonic fan gaming community. The inclusion of gimmicks like speed and ring boosters also means a lot of the game is spent watching Sonic flying around with you not in control of his actions. This might look pretty but it’s getting repetitive and rather boring to watch. I want to be in control of Sonic for God’s sake!

Overall this is a decent beginning to a promising fan game. We get a rather large stage to muck around in as well as a couple of extra time attack stages and also a nice boss that changes its tactics as the battle goes on (even though it can be extremely difficult to reach the platform in the second half of the battle). I look forward to seeing more of this game as development continues.



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