Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is an action-adventure platform game developed by Sanzaru Games and published by Sega for the Nintendo 3DS. It is part of the Sonic Boom spin-off franchise of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, along with the games Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal, and a television series. Originally planned for a release in late 2015, Fire & Ice was released in North America and Europe in September 2016, and in Australia the following month. While the game received mixed reviews, it was seen as an improvement over Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal.
|Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice|
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Discovering an element known as Ragnium, Dr. Eggman starts harnessing it for himself, using it to create robots that can allegedly outrun Sonic and his friends while also damaging the environment in the process. Meanwhile, D-Fekt, a rejected robot Eggman created to search for Ragnium, starts using his magnetic powers to try to become more powerful. Sonic and his friends attempt to stop Eggman and D-Fekt and restore balance to the environment.
Like the previous 3DS entry, Shattered Crystal, Fire & Ice is a side-scrolling platform game in which Sonic and his companions fight their way through various stages. In addition to Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Sticks, Amy returned from Rise of Lyric as a playable character. Like the previous game, players are able to switch between characters at will in order to use their unique abilities such as Sonic's speed, Tails' flight, Knuckles' strength, Sticks' boomerang, and Amy's hammer. A new addition to Fire & Ice was the addition of fire and ice elements, which apply both to the level environments and character abilities. For example, Sonic can infuse himself with fire to break ice blocks or surround himself with ice in order to freeze water, alternating between the two at will. The game also features various special stages, bonus minigames, challenge rooms, and local multiplayer modes.
Fire & Ice was first announced on June 9, 2015. Sega producer Omar Woodley has stated both Sega and developer Sanzaru Games have been learning from their mistakes with Shattered Crystal, which received mostly negative reviews upon release. One of the problems they identified was how, even though the game was targeted towards children aged 7–11, fans of classic Sonic games picked up the game and had a harder time getting into Shattered Crystal's lengthy exploration-based levels. As such, levels have been made shorter and include paths to better suit gamers who prefer speeding through levels, in addition to explorational elements. On September 15, 2015, Sega announced that Fire & Ice which was planned for a release in Fall 2015, would be delayed to 2016 to allow more development time and coincide with the series' 25th anniversary. Sega announced that the game will launch with a special edition containing a DVD featuring three episodes from the cartoon. A playable demo was shown at E3 2016.
Fire & Ice received mixed reviews, but still significantly more positive compared to Shattered Crystal and Rise of Lyric. The game holds a score of 62/100, indicating "mixed or average" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. Critics praised the improvements over Shattered Crystal and refocus on speed–a key gameplay element of the franchise–while criticizing the plot, music, simple difficulty and, to a lesser extent, graphics.
Brian Shea of Game Informer gave the game a 7/10, stating "Fire & Ice is a big step in the right direction for the spin-off series. While it still has quirks, it's a fun, easy experience that anyone can play. Though I still vastly prefer the classic Sonic games, Fire & Ice is an enjoyable spinoff title that brings some great elements of those games back into the forefront".
IGN's Jared Petty, who gave the game a 7.5/10, wrote "A fast, fun platformer that lets you play the way you want. Sonic games have often struggled with providing the speed and excitement implied by the series’ namesake hedgehog while also accommodating meaningful and rewarding exploration, but Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice admirably accomplishes both goals in old-school 2D-platformer fashion. You can blaze through, but at almost any moment you’re free to veer off and indulge your curiosity by discovering hidden challenges and collectibles. While Fire and Ice's art direction and music are woefully generic, the well-constructed level layouts create a solid arcade-style experience that accomplishes a sense of extraordinary speed while accommodating a reasonable degree of control. Sonic Boom successfully draws from much of what makes the best of classic Sonic game play satisfying, sprinkles in a better-conceived exploratory structure, and remixes it into an intelligent, cohesive, and rewarding package."
GameCentral were very critical of the game, giving it a 3/10, stating "Being better than the other Sonic Boom games really isn’t a compliment, as this dull, ugly platformer continues to sully the memory of Sega’s once great mascot."
- Seedhouse, Alex. "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Speeds To Europe On September 30th". Nintendo Insider. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- "What's Next for Sonic the Hedgehog (and friends)?". USgamer.net. 6 September 2015.
- Klepek, Patrick (June 9, 2015). "Sega's Not Giving Up on Sonic Boom". Kotaku. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
- "Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal". Metacritic. November 11, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- Aaron (14 September 2015). "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice moves to 2016". Sega Blog. Sega. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Jenni. "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Launch Edition Includes Episodes From Cartoon". Siliconera. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (3DS)". Metacritic. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- "Review: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice - Destructoid".
- "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review - Getting Warmer". Game Informer. September 27, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- Petty, Jared (September 27, 2016). "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review". IGN. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- Whitehead, Thomas (September 27, 2016). "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review". NintendoLife. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- Koopman, Daan (September 27, 2016). "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
- "Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review – Getting Warmer".
- Petty, Jared (27 September 2016). "Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice Review".
- Metro.co.uk, GameCentral for (28 September 2016). "Game review: Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice makes some elemental mistakes".