The blue blur dons a green getup
Sonic Lost World may not have met everyone's expectations, but two free pieces of Nintendo-themed DLC sits right with me. We already got a chance to play the 2D Yoshi's Island-themed add-on back in December, but now Link has teamed up with Sonic for a grand 3D adventure.
Just like its predecessor, the "Legend of Zelda Zone" is very brief, but it's a wonderful glimpse into what Sega and Nintendo can accomplish together.
Sonic Lost World: The Legend of Zelda Zone (Wii U)
Developer: Sonic Team
Released: March 27, 2014
Rather than operate on a restricted 2D plane, the Legend of Zelda Zone takes place in a full open arena, complete with secrets, rupees, chickens, heart containers, and Zelda enemies. In the first area you'll be able to get a nice glimpse of Hyrule Castle (themed after Twilight Princess' take) as well as a small bay area and some floating islands. While the Lost World engine isn't particularly impressive, the faithful recreation of the source material is.
Stalchild skeletons will raise out of the ground, Deku Scrubs spit nuts as you when you come near, and of course -- chickens will gang up and chase you if you pester them too often. This area isn't that large (you can run straight to the next part in 30 seconds), but it's fun to run around and collect rupees (which in turn convert to lives at the end of the level), and look for all the hidden areas.
Once you're ready to move on, you can head into the dungeon, which basically operates like a modified (but good) enclosed level from the core game. There are classic tunnel segments where you can run on walls and the like, dodging rolling Gorons as you make your way down into the labyrinth, encountering more Stalchild as well as some spike traps.
After a few tunnels you'll share a moment with Link, as he guides you further into the depths with a quick hand wave atop his flying Loftwing. Once you clear a few more rooms that's basically it -- so don't get your hopes up if you were expecting a lengthy DLC. While short, all of the little things add up and bring you into the convincing world Nintendo and Sega have crafted.
I love Sonic's new Link-like getup, and all of the classic sounds from the Zelda series are all here -- including the "da da da daaaa!" bite. At the end, Sonic even raises the Triforce above his head and proclaims victory -- sadly, there's no Ganon bossfight. Just like Yoshi's Island, you'll also have to accumulate a certain amount of points before playing the level again, since it's technically a "bonus" zone. It's a shame, since the option to play these levels separately should absolutely be added to the game's main menu.
Sega could have done so much more with this DLC -- which should last you anywhere from 10-30 minutes the first time around -- but every little detail is painstakingly created to the point where I was impressed. By no means should you pick up Sonic Lost World just for the two bite-sized Nintendo-themed add-ons, but they're a pretty incredibly free perk, and I sincerely hope Sega and Nintendo work together on more projects in the future.
If you want to get a taste of what a full run is like, check out my gameplay video above.