Oh, yeah. This is my Elden Ring.
An open-world fantasy game full of ancient ruins, but instead of a punishingly deep combat system and spiked armor, there are bite-sized 3-D platforming challenges and cartoon animals? Yes, please.
That’s… basically it? You roam the open world, you engage in a series of bite-sized platforming bits around the environment, full of Sonic-style running, rail grinding, and spring-bouncing in order to earn XP, things to progress the story, and things to increase your stats, rinse, repeat.
Throughout, you can also run classic (relatively) 3-D and side-scrolling style Sonic courses like you’d find in the Dreamcast or Wii era, with completable goals that earn you more keys than you need. “More than you need” seems to be the watchword here - six hours in and having completed maybe 80% of the first island and I’ve never once lacked for any of the many things this game has you collect. That may change later but it feels like a design choice for speedrunning and/or the person who doesn’t want to do anything.
There are flaws. The game’s desire to make EVERYTHING Sonic-style platforming means theyy’ve replaced a traditional fast-travel system with a series of checkpoints connected by grind rails and light platforming elements. So you can fuckbotch fast-traveling and also need to know where the fast-travel thing is going and honestly it’s just easier 95% of the time to run across the world.
The camera is up to some shit. I mean, it’s a camera in a Sonic game, so it’s gonna be up to some shit. If we’re grading on 3-D Sonic game cameras it’s not that bad, and when it’s bad there are rarely serious game consequences because the game is very friendly to failure. But in the annals of third-person cameras throughout history it’s definitely less than great.
The combat is… weird, but in a good way? There are critters of various sizes with various abilities and attack patterns, and by various sizes I mean ranging from monsters your size who go down in one hit to some Shadow of the Colossus level shit that are a combination boss monster and platforming challenge. These are a 20-80 split of annoying to satisfying, mostly because of the camera.
But it has its hooks into me. So much so that i haven’t touched Vampire Survivors for three days, and while I haven’t talked about Vampire Survivors here, it’s mostly because I couldn’t stop playing Vampire Survivors long enough to talk about it here.
It may end up getting on my nerves later - many games do - but for now I’m in for the whole thing and at a minimum clearing every single ting with an icon on the maps.