Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is a Sonic game for the Wii U and 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
- The game attempted to redesign the Sonic the Hedgehog formula (yet again) with new character designs and different gameplay mechanics from previous games. This caused long time fans of the series to have mixed feelings since the first trailer debuted.
- 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.
- The game was rushed despite being in development for over 7 years due to an unexpected change of platform, resulting in the game being incredibly glitchy and unpolished.
- 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.
- Bad frame rate, which is consistently below 30 FPS. The frame rate gets even worse during speed sections making them hard to navigate.
- 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.
- All of the characters, Sonic included, run very slowly.
- While the game is built on Sonic's lack of speed, that doesn't apply to the hub-world, you can either mash the X button with sonic to do an extremely short spindash or use the zip-line that won't let detach early until the end of the line or an oddly placed dash panel that wont let you turn sideways when blazing through the terrain.
- Outdated graphics that look like they could have been done on the PlayStation 2.
- Forgettable, unimpressive music (something even other bad Sonic games didn't have) and poor sound effects.
- The voice acting is good but in-game the characters never 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 says "We can use these as ramps!" He actually says that in the game exactly as quoted. Tails thinks that Sonic (and the player by extention) is so dumb, he needs to be told that ramps can be used as ramps!
- Combat is too basic, every character has a single combo that can only be chained with a single special attack that doesn't change.
- There's this laser whip called the Enerbeam that can be used to grab enemies but its very clunky in a fight, you can only use your attack combo or the Enerbeam separately for fighting but never simultaneously and it never feels rewarding as using the homing attack. The only real utility for the Enerbeam is to toss enemies into a bottomless pit.
- Puzzles are so insultingly easy that they can't even be considered puzzles because they take ZERO skill to solve. 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 4 characters' unique abilities are only used to cross special paths, which are colored coded thus it takes close to no skill to know what character to use.
- The HUB is huge but empty and tedious to travel. 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.
- You collect pieces of scraps that act as currency to buy upgrades but the upgrades are so useless that you'll forget about them by the end of the game rendering the scrap pieces useless.
- Sonic and his friends share one health bar that refills with rings, which isn't a problem since rings are abundant. The main problem is that the characters lose rings with every hit they take and the characters have no invincibility frames, meaning they can be comboed to death. Not that dying matters, because you re-spawn directly with everything that happened staying as is allowing you to resume the game as if you never died.
- When you run out of health you merely respawn a few seconds later and nothing changes which when combined with other factors make it is possible to win combat sections by leaving your controller unattended and letting your team mates 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 team mates don't take any damage.
- 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 and this ability is completely pointless because you have infinite lives and there's zero punishment for dying in the first place.
- Multi-player actually makes the game worse as the already terrible graphics and frame-rate take an even bigger hit whilst in this mode.
- 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 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 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 if Boom flopped.
- The main characters get a drastic change in their personality, and are now boring one-dimensional generic stereotypes:
- Sonic changed from a calm, cool and heroic action loving Hedgehog with a serious attitude into the confident moronic protagonist who causes the story's main problem in the first place.
- Tails changed from a smart, kind, friendly and helpful character into the geek who constantly points out the obvious just to sound smart.
- Knuckles changed from a calm, serious and loner character into the big bulky idiot that you usually see in an old cartoon.
- 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, although he did had some comedic added to him from the past games, those weren't usually all the time.
- 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 fan-made characters posted on DeviantART.
- The back of the box says that the game has Wii U Pro Controller support, however the game doesn't respond to it.
- Many cutscenes and characters were cut or yet the dialogues referring to them weren't edited.
- Once the game is beaten, extreme mode is unlocked which is just the game's hard mode but even with the added difficulty, the game is still remarkably easy.
- The game is so badly programmed that it can't be completed 100% because there is a level that won't give the player the star as proof of beating it on extreme mode. Because of this, no one knows what is the completion bonus of the game, if there is even one.
- The patch that was released for the game a few months after release adds virtually no improvements and is over 1GB in size due to the game being so poorly programmed and put together.
- Awful physics
- The in-game cutscenes look nice.
- The voice acting is (for the most part) passable.
- Decent dialog in cutscenes.
- Good funny moments.
- While not as good as the past games, the bosses are pretty awesome.
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 about 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.
Mikel Reparaz from IGN gave the game a 4.3/10 only, praising its multiplayer, but criticizing the simple and tedious combat, weak story, non-challenging gameplay, lack of sense of speed, boring scenery, poor presentation as well as numerous technical issues such as sluggish camera control, occasional crashes, long load times, and poor animation. He stated that "Rise of Lyric isn't fundamentally broken or unplayable; it's just thoroughly disappointing and unpolished, and while it does have some fun to offer, it's fun that's been done better in countless similar games. Rise of Lyric falls well below our already-low expectations".
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 worst game of 2014 (it ranked number 3), he didn't know which was more sad: the fact that it was made or the people actually trying to defend it.
Fans of Sonic are already calling 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 to make the safest, take no risk watered-down vanilla pace of gaming!"
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.
Why it crashed the way it did?
The first ever trailer released for this game showcased better graphics because it was running on a powerful PC and was powered using an engine called the CryEngine 3 (the same engine used for the Crysis series, State of Decay, and several other games). However because Sega signed an exclusivity deal with Nintendo to make 3 Nintendo exclusive Sonic games (the first was Sonic Lost World, and the second was Mario & Sonic at the Sochi Olympic Winter games), the game had to be remade for the Wii U, however none of the development team was informed with this news and Sega has given the team an extremely short development time to program the game for the Wii U and to add further insult to injury, the CryEngine 3 was not compatible with the Wii U, thus the project was restarted as none of the resources worked on the platform they wanted. The game's graphics were downgraded and there was no time to work on the insane number of glitches that were found in the final product.