Solar Ash is simply a great game that cherry-picks ideas from Jet Set Radio, Shadow of the Colossus, and Super Mario Galaxy. However, lone 1 bid came to caput arsenic I skated crossed its teal clouds: Sonic the Hedgehog. More specifically, the 3D entries, which are the oft-maligned titles liable for decades of headaches for the Blue Blur.
I’ll admit that I’m a Sonic traditionalist. My emotion of Sonic, similar galore different 30-somethings, began connected the Sega Genesis, truthful I firmly judge the quality is astatine his champion successful 2D. Sonic 2 is my favourite successful the bid and Sonic Mania, the 2017 throwback developed by a squad of fans alternatively than Sonic Team proper, is the champion introduction successful years.
The 3D installments person ne'er gotten Sonic right. Yes, adjacent the Adventure series, which I respect but inactive support are atrocious games. Sonic Colors plays the champion of the batch, but adjacent that has plentifulness of problems (and has a far superior 2D counterpart connected DS that much radical should play). I’ve ever recovered the behind-the-back roller coaster attack takes distant excessively overmuch control. You’re usually conscionable sitting determination watching Sonic sprint done a zillion loops and rings. It’s little astir travel and much astir watching things spell truly accelerated until you tin play again. When you bash get your hands backmost connected Sonic, helium often feels slippery and imprecise. Losing momentum sucks due to the fact that of however troublesome it is to get backmost connected track. These games besides thin to beryllium janky overall.
Now, I’m not opposed to playing a large 3D Sonic game. There conscionable haven’t been any. Then Solar Ash skates along. This is an acquisition each astir the travel of movement. Rei, the game’s speedster protagonist, controls similar a dream. A batch of that is acknowledgment to mapping her acceleration to a enarthrosis trigger, akin to a racing title. That makes her casual to control, and you cognize erstwhile to deed the state and erstwhile to break. That mechanic could enactment conscionable arsenic good with Sonic. Or Shadow the Hedgehog for that matter, fixed helium and Rei stock an affinity for rollerblading. And Shadow needs each the assistance helium tin get.
Anyway, the astir important happening astir Solar Ash is however the level plan focuses connected maintaining and challenging your travel of movement. There’s plentifulness of platforming, but the plan allows you to debar pitfalls portion destroying enemies without needing to deed the brakes. The crippled besides ne'er takes power away; adjacent grind sequences necessitate you to clasp a fastener down to enactment connected track. This extends to biology puzzles that situation your speed, specified arsenic racing done an integrated web of landmines to find and termination a target. Solar Ash’s attack to brag battles, which fundamentally boil down to speedrunning epic Shadow of the Colossus-style battles, are fantastic tests of Rei’s maneuverability. The choky onslaught windows simultaneously situation your purpose and reflexes successful an awesome way. It’s astute brag plan for a speed-focused hero, and I would emotion to spot Sonic grow connected it.
And with each of this, Solar Ash doesn’t bog the acquisition down with excessively galore mechanics. It’s a cleanable escapade with a tiny fistful of features that the satellite plan takes afloat vantage of. 3D Sonic titles person ever felt person to modular platforming levels done which you tally precise fast, but not ever due to the fact that you’re stopping to smash done stacks of boxes oregon enemies that can’t beryllium torn done arsenic easily. You besides person to juggle immoderate power-of-the-month Sonic has that clip around. They conscionable consciousness messier by comparison. The Genesis entries, namely the archetypal two, worked due to the fact that they had a “less is more” mentality. Sonic 3/Knuckles, portion good, was erstwhile the bid started getting a excessively feature-dense successful its level design, and it snowballed from there. Solar Ash is simply a bully illustration of what happens erstwhile you standard backmost and absorption connected accentuating the halfway mechanic.
I’m not saying the adjacent Sonic needs to beryllium a chili dog-flavored c transcript of Solar Ash. But I judge Heart Machine’s sophomore outing presents an fantabulous template for what a well-made 3D Sonic crippled could look like, and I anticipation that Sonic Team takes notice. Especially since it’s been heavy rumored that the 2022’s yet-to-be-titled Sonic game volition instrumentality a much freeform, open-world approach. It utilized to beryllium hard to ideate what that would look like, but Solar Ash paints a fantastic representation that Sonic Team should respect portion jotting down plentifulness of notes. And down it should beryllium Warner Bros./DC if they consciousness similar giving the Flash different changeable successful video games – but that’s a treatment for different time.