While Xbox 360 and PS3 have to deal with the atrocious Sonic the Hedgehog and any other horrid 3D platformer that comes their way, DS owners have been basking in the glory that is Sonic Rush for almost two years. The classic left-to-right gameplay has always worked for Sega's iconic mascot, so any game that honors that style immediately gets bonus points. Rush didn't succeed solely on nostalgia, however, as it was a speed freak's best friend, flipping, tossing and launching Sonic across both DS screens while retaining an intense sense of speed.
Expect more of that with Sonic Rush Adventure this fall. Our demo today showed more levels loaded with loops, bouncy pads and power-ups, plus a continued reliance on mid-air tricks that players should recall from the first game. The more mid-jump tricks you pull off, the more your meter charges, enabling you to execute a brief burst of intense speed. The tricks also let you change course in mid jump, usually offering you a chance to avoid a pit or incoming enemy. For more on the original game, go here.
As you may have guessed from the title, Adventure has a bit more to it than blasting through a level as quickly as possible. In between courses you can use the stylus to trace a path from one island to the next as Link does in Phantom Hourglass. Though you begin in Windmill Valley, Sonic (or Blaze the Cat), is able to explore seven different areas and even discover up to 14 other hidden islands. That's a whole lotta running.
To break up the incessant footrace, your marked path from island to island is accompanied by a 3D water race that uses the stylus. Moving it left to right controls your craft (jet ski, hovercraft, submarine and two others) and flicking it side to side will perform watery stunts - basically, it's a bit like Sonic and the Secret Rings but on water. The ultimate goal, of course, is to beat back all the robotic enemies until a final showdown with... um, Captain Whisker? Yeah, that's what the press release said.
For the most part, expect a dead-on repeat of the last game, which is nothing but good news. The same upbeat tunes are present (imagine The Go! Team meets Jet Set Radio), vines and pistons are bouncing the little blue guy all over the place, Sonic frequently moves faster than your eyes can follow... yeah, we'll play that again.