Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is a Sonic game for the Wii U that acted as a prequel to the television show, Sonic Boom. It is technically a spin-off series for Sonic the Hedgehog and intended for younger audiences.
After escaping Dr. Eggman, Sonic accidentally awakens an ancient evil known as Lyric, who plans to acquire the Chaos Crystals (not Emeralds) to power up a robot army and wipe out organic life. Sonic and his team of Knuckles, Tails, and Amy Rose must stop him.
Unlike other Sonic games, Sonic Boom is closer to a traditional slower-paced platformer focused on platforming and exploration. You can switch between 4 different characters, each with a unique ability used to explore levels. Occasionally you go through high-speed tracks in which you dodge obstacles.
Why it Sucks
- Speed, the main aspect that makes Sonic stand out from other platformers, is close to non-existent aside from small sections; all characters, Sonic included, move very slowly most of the game. This effectively turned the game into a generic platformer i.e. the very thing that Sonic mocked when fhe was created.
- The speed sections look like they were ripped out of a bad Temple Run clone, and to add further insult to injury, there was a Sonic endless runner called Sonic Dash on IOS and Android that came out before this game that looked and played much better.
- Bad first impression: the first cutscene of the game is Sonic getting shot and crushed by rocks that seemingly kill him (Rebooted Sonic dies 10 seconds into his first game?). As SomecallmeJohnny put it, "Rise of Lyric begins with Sonic being massacred by enemy fire..."
- The cutscene mentioned above is supposed to cause suspense because it foreshadows events that happen later in the game, but when you actually return to that scene Sonic isn't even mildly injured from it, making the whole thing completely pointless.
- Awful physics.
- Due to the game's rushed development, it had numerous bugs and glitches at launch like clipping through walls and models popping out of a dime. The only "so bad it's good" bug was the Knuckles infinite jump glitch which allowed the player to bypass all obstacles and finish the game in less than an hour. This bug has since been patched out, though other much bigger glitches have been found.
- All those other glitces are related to the same issue as the Knuckles infinite jump, that being that the game engine incorrectly handles certain actions (bouncing, Sonic's spin-dash move and Knuckles' dive) if it is paused at specific points in their animations.
- Inconsistent framerate which frequently drops. The framerate gets even worse during speed sections making them hard to navigate. This is mostly because CryEngine 3 was not in any way designed to run on the Wii U.
- Outdated graphics that look like they could have been done on the PlayStation 2.
- Terrible multiplayer modes.
- Co-op mode and multiplayer makes the graphics and framerate even worse than they already were.
- The hub is huge but empty and tedious to travel due to no means of fast traveling. There are barely any NPCs and its only purpose is to get from one level to the other as well as complete side quests in exchange for "power glyphs" that once obtained and equipped you won't feel any difference at all, making the side quests absolutely pointless. It is easy to lose track of where you are in the hub world, and when you do get lost, yellow arrows appear to guide you to where you're supposed to go.
- Sticks the Badger, the new main character added to the cast, barely appears in the game and does nothing but give you a pointless sidequest.
- Forgettable & generic music (something even other bad Sonic games didn't have) and poor sound effects.
- The voice acting is annoying and the characters never ever shut up! They comment almost every time they grab rings, punch something, press a button and even when touching a bounce pad. Most of the time the dialogue is just the characters pointing out the obvious, or sounding like complete idiots.
- An infamous example of the poorly written dialogue: In one level, Sonic says "Look, ramps!" and Tails, in response, actually says "We can use these as ramps!" Yes, Tails think Sonic (and, to an extent, the player) is so dumb he needs to be told ramps can be used as ramps!
- Overly simplistic combat without any combo options. All you can do is spam the attack button until every enemy dies, and for that matter, enemies have too much health.
- The Enerbeam is barely useful aside from tossing enemies into bottomless pits.
- Puzzles are so insultingly easy that they can't even be considered puzzles. Worse, the game outright insults the player's intelligence and repeatedly gives you the answer to the "puzzles" despite how blatantly obvious and easy they are, or how many times you've done the exact same task before.
- Each of the four characters' unique abilities are only used to cross special paths, which are colored-coded accordingly, thus it takes close to no skill to know what character to use.
- You collect pieces of scraps that act as currency to buy upgrades, BUT the upgrades are so useless that it renders the scrap pieces useless.
- Characters have no invincibility frames, meaning they can be combo-ed to death. Not that dying matters, because when you run out of health you merely respawn a few seconds later, and enemies don't respawn. This makes it possible to win combat sections by leaving your controller unattended and letting your AI teammates kill all of the enemies while you do absolutely nothing. The game says you die if all characters are knocked out at once, but that's impossible to happen because your teammates don't take any damage.
- You can only hold up to 100 rings. To unlock the ability to increase your maximum ring count, you need to own Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal on the 3DS, which retailed at a $40 price tag. That is worse than the typical micro-transactions (Even Loot Boxes for that matter) and this ability is completely pointless because you have infinite lives and there's zero punishment for dying in the first place.
- The redesigns of the characters were heavily disliked by fans with Knuckles being the worst offender, with comments on the internet describing him as a steroid user and recurring jokes about him that he missed leg-day. The bandages on the characters were also criticized for being kind of unnecessary.
- Bland plot with an unsatisfying ending. The plot basically boils down to "Get the Crystals" and nothing else.
- The main characters get a drastic change in their personality, and are now boring one-dimensional stereotypes:
- Sonic changed from a calm, cool and heroic action loving Hedgehog with a serious attitude into the over-confident moronic protagonist who causes the story's main problem in the first place.
- Tails changed from a smart, kind, friendly and helpful character to the geeky captain obvious just to sound smart.
- Knuckles changed from a calm, serious and loner character into the big bulky idiot that you usually see in old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
- Amy changed from a sassy, kind, friendly and crazy love interest hedgehog girl of Sonic into a "Generic NPC Woman".
- Shadow changed from a cold-hearted, serious, tragic and down-to-the-earth rival who still values friends into a typical "You're weak because of your friends" rival that is used all the time.
- Eggman changed from an evil scientist that wants to take over the world into an incompetent self-defeating bad guy from a Saturday morning cartoon. Weirdly enough he is also the only likable character in the game.
- Lyric is a generic "I'll destroy the world because I'm evil!" antagonist and was repeatedly mocked for being named "Lyric".
- The NPCs look like as if they were stereotypical DeviantART OCs.
- The back of the box says that the game has Wii U Pro Controller support. The game does not support it, most likely due to the short dev cycle causing this feature to be dropped at the last minute. Seemingly, as with the manual for Sonic 2006 describing features that do not exist, the packaging design team (who work for the publisher, not the developer) were not informed of this feature being abandoned.
- Many cutscenes and characters were cut, yet the dialogue referring to them weren't edited, which leads to audio bugs and characters referring to non-existent characters such as "Quincy" or "Percy"
- Once the game is beaten, an "Extreme Mode" is unlocked, which is just the game's hard mode. Even with the added difficulty, the game is still remarkably easy.
- There is a bug that makes it impossible to complete the game 100% because one of the levels can't be registered as cleared in Extreme Mode. Jirard the Completionist found this out the hard way in his review of the game.
- The patch that was released for the game a few months after release adds virtually no improvements and is over 1 GB in size due to the game being so poorly programmed and put together.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The voice acting in cutscenes when the characters aren't talking constantly is fairly good.
Metro, discussing the demo negative in their preview stating, "the very worst game in the line-up was Sega's Sonic Boom, which was so unspeakably awful we couldn't even force ourselves to play through the whole demo".
After release, the game received strongly negative reviews from critics, with a Metacritic score of 39% and a Game Rankings score of 38.25%.
Tim Turi from Game Informer was critical toward the game as he gave the game a 4/10 only. He criticized the poor visual quality and framerate, as well as poor dialogue, non-funny joke, as well as shoddy level-design, underwhelming combat system, and boring action and exploration.
Web Reviewer ProJared gave it a 2 out of 10 and said that even Sonic fans wouldn't be able to find anything to defend about the game. He only gave one positive aspect when talking about the awful frame rate, he said it's only tolerable during the boss fight with Metal Sonic. When he mentioned this game in his Worst Games of 2014 video (it ranked number 3), he didn't know which was sadder: the fact that it was made or the people actually trying to defend it.
Fans of Sonic called this the next Sonic 2006, due to the fact that this game was clearly rushed to coincide with Black Friday and the television series. Both Sonic 2006 and Sonic Boom are now on Wikipedia's worst games ever list.
Darklordjadow1 was particularly harsh to the game in his two-part review. He heavily criticized the game for being too easy, boring and non-simulating, and lacking in substance on the first part, and on the second part, he bashed the game for completely betraying the essence of a Sonic game and how poorly the characters are portrayed. At the end of the review, he described the game as "Like Sega was so terrified of making yet another bad Sonic game that they directed Big Red Button Studios to make the safest, take no risks whatsoever, watered-down game imaginable!"
Sonic Boom is the worst selling Sonic game ever released with only 0.4 million units sold worldwide. It is now currently the lowest rated Sonic game, was found on nearly every single top 10 worst games of 2014 lists and is considered to be one of the WORST games of all time to the point that Sega had to publicly APOLOGIZE for this game.
The developers claimed that the game serves as a prequel to the show, however, it does a very bad job at explaining anything like how Sonic and his friends meet in this universe, and what's the deal with Shadow and Eggman. Due to the lack of explanation, most fans assume that every character has the exact same backstory as the modern franchise, causing the fans to question the point of redesigning the characters and playing it off as a separate universe. It is speculated that calling Sonic Boom a spin-off was a rushed excuse to go back to the normal series after Boom flopped.
Due to its flaws, it wasn't only just considered the worst Sonic game ever made, but also the worst Wii U game ever made.
The impressive-looking trailer released for this game showcased better graphics because it was running on a powerful PC. The trailer used Crytek's CryEngine 3 (the engine used for Crysis 3, State of Decay, and several other games). However, the game was rolled into a contract Sega had made to create three Nintendo exclusive Sonic games (the first was Sonic Lost World, and the second was Mario & Sonic at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games).
As a result, the game, which was presumably planned to release on Sony and Microsoft's hardware, had to be remade for the Wii U. Unfortunately, nobody on the development team was informed of this, and after Sega realised, they gave the team an extremely short timeframe to rework the game for the Wii U's weak and convoluted hardware. CryEngine 3 was not designed for the Wii U's hardware (though some Crytek insiders claim to have got it running on the system) thus the project was restarted as none of the resources worked on the platform they wanted. The game's graphics and assets were downgraded and there was no time to fix the insane number of glitches that were found in the final product, as getting the engine to run at all seems to have taken up most of their time.