Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is an action-adventure game, which is developed by Sanzaru Games and published by SEGA, it is part of the Sonic Boom spin-off franchise of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The villainous Dr Eggman discovers an element called Ragnuim, which he uses it to make robots that can beat Sonic and his friends; as well as creating fissures that damage the environment. Meanwhile, D-Fekt – a robot was created to search for Ragnuim – starts using his powers to try and make himself more powerful. Sonic and his friends must stop Dr Eggman and D-Fekt, whilst simultaneously saving the world.
Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice features all the well know heroes of the franchise, each of whom has a special skill. Sonic’s skill is the speed dash. Completing the first level then unlocks Amy, with her special skill – hammer. As you then work your way through the levels and worlds and unlock additional characters, such as Tails and his hover / flying skills, Sticks, a dab hand with a boomerang. All characters can switch between using fire and ice. The touch screen to switch characters within the levels, clicking on the pause screen serves as a reminder of a certain character’s talents and skills. Once new characters are unlocked they can be used into previously completed levels in order to access previously locked areas and obtain collectables.
The load screen in between levels gives hints and tips, to help you in the main game and circled question marks give hints within the levels and instructions on how to use the characters’ skills and abilities to move on through the course. Challenge rooms are located in each level, which offers the reward of a collectable trading card upon successful completion. The challenge rooms are an optional side mission, and completion is not essential to completing each level. There are also junk parts, represented as springs, to collect along the way and trade in.
The controls are straight forward and will feel familiar to anyone who’s played a Sonic The Hedgehog game in the past. The thumbstick is used to move and the face buttons for character actions. I personally found that the thumbstick can be over sensitive to movements of the characters; which can be frustrating and make some obstacles on the levels more difficult than needed or intended. The shoulder buttons switch between the fire and ice powers so that the character can move through certain areas. Switching between fire and ice means your characters abilities are better – surrounding the character with fire allows them to break through ice blockages, or surrounding the character in ice gives them the ability to freeze water blocks to be able to progress.
The touch screen is multi-functional. The screen changes when switching between fire to ice, so the player is aware of which power they are using. The touch screen can also be used to switch between different characters in-game, which acts as a quick change in order to overcome obstacles. The touch screen can further be used to switch to the map, both the world screen and in each level. The in-level map shows the location of enemies, challenge rooms and parts to collect.
Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice’s music is the same each level, and is very much what you would expect from past game in the Sonic The Hedgehog series. The same can be said of the game’s sound effects, which slightly disappointed me as one would expect that with the advances in graphics in the game would also equate to an improvement in the audio.
The graphics are sleek and are great quality for a handheld device. The colours and backgrounds are both bright and eye-catching, and I really do like the fact that Sonic dies the same way as previous games; with him sliding down the screen and restarting from the last checkpoint. Cut scenes link the levels and progress the story. Cut scenes can be skipped by pressing and holding the B button.
Overall I enjoyed the time I spent playing Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice; however, it wasn’t exactly everything I was hoping for. When I saw a new Sonic game was coming out, I was hoping it would be bigger and better. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain parts that cool, such as the need to use different characters and abilities and the graphical facelift. Despite the new bells and whistles, the game essentially follows a tried and tested platforming formula, perfected over decades. In closing, Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice is a decent entry into the never-ending adventure of the spiky blue hero, and will no doubt appeal to fans and newcomers alike.