When I mention Sonic Boom to someone, the first thing that comes to mind is that broken mess of a Wii U title known as Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric. And for about 95% of the gaming population, that’s where Sonic Boom ends. Now, I’m not here to defend Rise of Lyric. I’m with the rest of the world in understanding that it’s a broken mess and not a particularly good video game. The issues during the development of the game have been talked about, and Big Red Button’s soiree in the Sonic universe is well documented.
The issue here though, is that that’s not where Sonic Boom ends. Perhaps it speaks to the pure infamy of Rise of Lyric, but there’s a lot more Sonic Boom where that came from. The best part about that, however, is that none of the rest of it is nearly as bad.
I could talk about the Sonic Boom television show or comic books, which both were recieved fairly well, by the way, but I’d like to focus on a Sonic Boom video game that people tend to cast aside. Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for Nintendo 3DS. Launching concurrently with Rise of Lyric, most assumed that Shattered Crystal was just a toned down version of its Wii U counterpart, similar to releases of Sonic Colors on Wii and DS, or Sonic Generations on Xbox 360/PS3/PC and 3DS. Most people wrote Shattered Crystal off as being just as bad as Rise of Lyric, purely by association.
What these people don’t seem to realize however, is that not only is Shattered Crystal it’s own game, but it was also made by a completely different developer. While the folks at Big Red Button were struggling to put together a game that could properly run on Wii U, Sanzaru Games was tasked with the 3DS Sonic Boom title. While Rise of Lyric was handed off to a company that had never developed a published game (despite pedigree amongst some of its employees), Shattered Crystal was handed off to a company with a, while not amazing, respectable lineup of published games under respectable IPs.
Sanzaru is known for its work on games like Secret Agent Clank and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time insofar as original titles, while also developing The Sly Collection for PS3 and God of War Saga for PS Vita. So, at face value, it would seem that Sanzaru as gained the trust of some significant studios in the industry, and has done a relatively good job with dearly beloved IPs like Ratchet and Clank and Sly Cooper.
So, when Sanzaru was handed Sonic Boom, did they knock it out of the park? Well… no, but they certainly didn’t strike out like the folks at Big Red Button did. While Rise of Lyric received almost only negative reviews, Shattered Crystal was looked as as fairly average across the board. Nothing amazing or to write home about, but an okay game that does a good job expanding the Sonic Boom universe.
So, upon the announcement of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, gamers alike hopped online to criticize the decision to release another Sonic Boom game. However, the issue here isn’t another Sonic Boom game, the issue is another Rise of Lyric.
Sanzaru has done a good job with games in the past, and while they didn’t necessarily excel with Shattered Crystal, Fire & Ice is a tremendous opportunity to fix some of the issues that Shattered Crystal faced, and make what will likely be a fairly okay game.
So, don’t be surprised when Fire and Ice releases to average-to-okay reviews. If I had to guess, I’d probably say somewhere around a 50-70 Metacritic score.