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Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2014 Review Round-Up 3

Sonic Xperience

Sonic Xperience was definitely an experience. It was an experience that made me hit myself in the head in frustration (I actually did this).

This game is another example of modern Sonic gameplay being condensed into a 2D environment. We have the homing attack, a slide move as well as a melee attack and we’ve also got gimmicks like grinding and rather interestingly, a Sonic Lost World-esque parkour manoeuvre for running up walls.

The one stage in the demo does its best to give you a varied playing field that actually makes you use each of these skills but with varying degrees of success. First of all when attempting to jump off a wall whilst using the parkour skill you must continue to lean towards the wall as you jump which feels unnatural as you automatically assume you need to move away from it. Next up is the homing attack which refuses to work at high speeds. This causes a lot of unnecessary pitfalls as you expect to home in on the enemies only to fall into the abyss.

The most infuriating section of the demo comes in the form of a free-fall section. During this section you must navigate a path of floating spike-balls but doing so is made dramatically more difficult by the twitchy controls. This is where I smacked myself in the face repeatedly.

The game isn’t really much of a looker either. The game is pieced together from existing graphics which are stretched and distorted out of proportion. The whole thing looks rushed and uncared for which pretty much sums up the experience. Sorry; Xperience. This is a shame because when all these elements work there’s actually an adequate, functioning game hidden somewhere amongst this mess but it simply doesn’t get a chance to shine.



Sonic X-Treme 2D

2D Sonic fan games based on the unreleased Sonic Xtreme game for the Saturn have existed in the past so what Sonic X-Treme 2D is doing is nothing spectacular. However, it does at least attempt to be a little more authentic in its presentation by incorporating the fish-eye lens that was so striking in the existing gameplay footage of the original.

The stage on show is pieced together from the existing graphics of Jade Gully which was to be the first stage in the original. Obviously the developer is aiming to “complete” the game using existing assets which is perfectly acceptable when the game is based on Sonic Xtreme. This means the game looks like you’d expect it to but it’s completely serviceable.

Everything functions the way you’d expect it to as well. The gameplay engine is robust and responsive with Sonic controlling well. These are typical Sonic 2-era controls with the only major special move being the spin dash so don’t expect grinding or homing attacks.

The thing that strikes you about Sonic X-Treme 2D is how mediocre the experience is. You cant help but feel like you’ve played this fan game before albeit in different ways and from different developers. There is nothing new here outside a fish-eye lens which does nothing to change the gameplay in any way, shape or form.

The other big disappointment is that the demo doesn’t end. The stage you’re given doesn’t have a finish post so you simply have to run around indefinitely or jump into a pit to meet your untimely demise.

One day the community will deliver a complete Sonic Xtreme experience that we can all enjoy and finally mark as the moment the game is complete. That way we can all move on and not continue to wonder, “what if Sonic Xtreme got completed?” If it was to end up like Sonic X-Treme 2D then maybe it should have just stayed dead and buried.



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