Following on from Sonic Generations, Sega are already hard at work on their next Sonic-related adventure and Gaming Union had a chance recently to get some hands-on time with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. In fact, we got to play through the entire opening level.
Not straying to far from its predecessor, Sonic the Hedgehog 4:
Episode I, Sonic Team's follow-up entry in the series offers the same classic platformer gameplay. Jumping into the blue blaze's iconic red and white sneakers, Episode 2's opening act saw us traverse green fields, blast past Robotnic's creations, circle loop the loops and, at times, hitch a ride with our faithful fox companion Tails.
The gameplay on show was fairly similar to that of the first installment into this downloadable sequel, with the basic "get the end of the level as fast as you can and with as many coins as you can" mechanic remaining the same. Playing through, the graphics were an unashamed nod back to the classic Mega Drive 2D days.
The level housed all the same loop the loops, water drops and moving platforms seen in all of Sonic's previous adventures.
In terms of controls, the game also feature all Sonic's standard moves, with the prickly blue wonder housing the same charge and jump attacks seen in his previous adventures. Further, more interesting moves were also available thanks to Tails.
Tails' gliding abilities complement Sonic's speed, with the ginger rascal on occasion helping his prickly friend get to areas he otherwise couldn't. In our time on Act One, we often found ourselves using Tails to quickly give us a boost to higher areas, or pluck us out of the levels aquatic areas.
Again following its predecessor, Episode II's first act housed some puzzle elements. At times we found ourselves having to find the right switch and perform the correct move to open up the next section of the level. Specifically Act One at points demanded we use Sonic's charge attack to turn cogs and switches designed to move sections of the landscape.
Set to be launched on the Xbox 360, PS3 and iOS platforms, there's still no word on Episode II's official release date. Though from what we've seen Sega hasn't re-invented the wheel with Episode II, choosing to stick whth the tried and tested mechanics seen in Episode I. Check back at Gaming Union later in the year for more updates on Sonic's latest adventure.