Sonic Frontiers isn’t out until November, but during our time at Tokyo Game Show 2022, we got to try out the game for a brief period, and while the general gameplay is a stark departure from previous Sonic outings, the game still keeps some familiar elements that fans of the blue blur will enjoy.
We started out very early on in the game, which we’ll just assume to be the beginning as there were still some tutorials being presented. Controls are easy to learn, with Sonic being able to move around with ease as he double-jumps and dashes his way around the world.
The world feels quite barren at this point, especially if you’re used to similar open-world titles that are teeming with wildlife. I am not sure if this will persist throughout the game because it might be a story-related thing, but it is something to point out that there isn’t much going around when you’re not running in loops.
The main attractions though would be the obstacles and the various objects scattered around that greatly resemble the pinball bumpers and rails from previous games.
Sonic Frontiers seems like it is meant to capture the playfulness of Sonic games and translate it into a much bigger scale, allowing for exploration of the world through a vastly different medium. Sonic will encounter these obstacles simply lying around the world, and while completely optional, they can open up alternate paths and shortcuts to otherwise unreachable places.
Sonic controls pretty well, and while he doesn’t quite zip around the map at the speed of sound, there’s a good sense of speed captured by the game.
Puzzles are also littered around the map, and players will have a variety to work with. From what we saw, there were simple ones like stepping on 3 buttons before time runs out, or even using one of Sonic’s skills to destroy rocks. Nothing too complicated so far, and it would be interesting to see how much variety there is later in the game.
One thing players will be doing a lot of in Sonic Frontiers is combat, and there will be many opportunities as mobs are littered throughout the zone. These enemies aren’t the toughest, and they can be taken down with a few punches from Sonic, but it already seems that there will be multiple ways to skin a cat.
While most mobs are straightforward enough, one boss we encountered required us to dodge first and get in our attacks while dodging a spinning blade on its body. Of course, this is but one example, but if bosses further down the line required some strategy and not just spamming the punch button, it would certainly be promising.
Sonic will also have multiple skills to use in Sonic Frontiers, as evidenced by a skill tree that we couldn’t understand due to the language barrier. There was quite a bit to choose from, but we couldn’t really tell if there were more skill trees available.
In Sonic Frontiers, players will need to conquer areas to open up new parts of the map a la Assassin’s Creed. The map looks like it’ll be huge, and with a lot of those bumpers and rails coming into play, exploring the world could take a bit of time.
It would be very early to say if Sonic Frontiers has enough content and variety to keep players glued to the screen since we’ve only played a very small portion of it, but it does feel like the logical next step in the Sonic series instead of sticking to its side-scrolling roots.
Sonic Frontiers is scheduled to release on November 8, 2022 for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and PC.