-Quick message here before I start the review-
Okay, so basically this is my second game review (Super Mario Galaxy being the first), and I guess I chose Secret Rings to rate because I want to give fair points on both sides of the spectrum, for good parts of the game, and bad (trying to do that with SMG was a real pain in the ass, let me tell you). So, I hope the following review helps in any way, either recommendation, purchase choice, etc., and if at all possible, enjoy!
A little history lesson for you. Back in ye days of yore, when two companies created two rival entertainment monoliths, they both required mascot representatives. For Nintendo, this wasn't a problem, as they already had the almighty Mario to headline their system. Sega, on the other hand, realized that poor Alex Kidd wasn't enough, and set about creating an all new mascot, someone cool, someone unexpected that would truly set them apart from Nintendo.
After much brainstorming, Sonic the Hedgehog was born, and went on to become one of the most prolific characters ever. His 2D platforming games were some of the best the gaming industry had ever seen, and it seemed Sega could do no wrong.
...until the wall of 3D came along. Stars like Mario and Link would brake through this barrier easily, but Sonic could only make a few cracks in the wall, and this (in a manner of speaking) has resulted in three-dimensional efforts that could not capture the brilliance of his 2D outings, accumulating in the diabolical 360/PS3 Sonic game.
Thankfully, in this Wii exclusive release, Sega have gone back to the drawing board, and reinvented how a Sonic game plays.
For previous games, general Analog stick movement and sub-linear paths were the main components of the levels, which resulted in an unpredictable camera, poor accuracy for attacks and jumps, and overall sluggish platforming.
For Sonic and the Secret Rings however, it was decided that Sonic would be set on a Linear path, and with less movement control over him. Instead of hindering the game, as you would think, these restrictions have actually improved it to no end. The camera is no longer a hindrance, and platforming is much less of a nuisance.
You are give the basics to control Sonic with, Wii remote on its side; tilt left and right to move in those directions, 1 to brake, 2 to jump, Up on the D-pad to use Speed Brake: A superfast speed boost, and D-Pad-Down to use Time Brake: A Matrix moment.
And you will find that these are all you need, as you move through the worlds in a style reminiscent of Racing games.
And in many parts of the game, these controls work wonders, although in others, you'll be glad of the wrist-strap. Sometimes the jump action doesn't properly register with what you're trying to do, moving backwards feels irregular, and often, on narrow pathways, the controls will let you down. But, on the whole, they work well.
Aside from the Story-book cutscenes, the game looks great, with some dazzling effects used throughout. One of the better looking Wii games, to be sure, with no dip in frame-rate and a wide variety of themes utilized.
The music tracks in this game has divided players, some reckon that they are annoying and wish for the style of the old tracks, whilst others enjoy listening to them. I'm in the latter camp, as Secret Rings' music is some of the best I've ever heard. The songs are really love/hate in this game.
Other added elements to this game are a leveling up Role-playing element, where you decide upon Sonic's skills, and a Multiplayer Mini-game mode, where Sega stuffed all the other Sonic-world characters. Both greatly expand Secret Rings' length of play, so this will be one title you come back to every now and then.
Overall then, a great start for Sonic on the Wii, and hopefully the first of mant great 3D Sonic games to come!