Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 28.09.2016

Review for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on Nintendo 3DS

Sonic Boom has become something of a major reboot for the Sonic series - launching in 2014 it has already provided two games, a cartoon series and a comic. Sadly, while the comic and cartoon aren't doing too badly, the two games (Rise of the Lyric and Shattered Crystal) have not gone over well. Can this latest instalment in the Boom series recover it for the fans, or will they be forced to wait for the upcoming Sonic Mania? Cubed3 finds out.

Robotnik - or rather, "Dr. Eggman" - has a new plan. Instead or trying to kill or capture Sonic, he's going to ruin his reputation as the fastest thing alive. To do so, he gathering a new element he has dug up called Ragnium, and is using it to create robotic racers and tracks to pit against the blue blur. If that wasn't bad enough, where the Ragnium is appearing, fissures of fire and ice energy are opening up, disrupting the weather and environments of numerous islands.

Eggman designed Ragnabot to gather it, but, after showing his magnetic abilities worked on everything except Ragnium, Eggman re-dubbed him "D-Fekt" and kicked him out with a new mission: to defend the fissures instead, putting him directly at odds with team Sonic. Sonic & Friends are already on the case closing up fissures, however, and manage to even absorb some of the fire and ice energy, as Tails explains "Because SCIENCE!" These powers are eventually given to all member of the team, as each member becomes playable over the course of the first couple of stages.

Screenshot for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on Nintendo 3DS

Like in previous titles, each level has special obstacles, requiring the unique abilities of each member of the team. Sonic can air dash through blocks, Tails has a laser gun and can hover over fans, Knuckles can dig, Sticks the Badger has a controllable Boomerang to hit switches, and, a new playable addition to the Boom series, Amy can knock down pillars with her hammer. Of course, the much touted fire and ice powers are a regular requirement in stages too, using the fire aura to push through blocks of ice while the ice allows the team to run on water as it freezes beneath their feet.

Fire & Ice feels very much a sequel to Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for the 3DS, except it also feels like the developer Sanzaru Games has taken its previous criticism to heart and worked to try and capture some of the magic of the original Sonic games. The huge stages have been dialled way back to fun short bursts, the stupid system of locking levels away until all collectables have been collected has been done away with, and the character specific obstacles aren't so annoyingly abundant.

Screenshot for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on Nintendo 3DS

The result is something that feels more like the old Sonic stages, with some of the few good elements of the Boom titles. In its best moments it manages to be highly enjoyable, speeding through the stages and using quick reactions along with chaining abilities to smoothly sail through each stage. Sonic spins through a shuttle loop, locks on and bounces from enemy to enemy, grapple swings in fire aura through a wall of ice, switches to ice aura and lands on water above spikes, freezing a path to goal.

If the levels were nothing but these moments, this would be something very special, unfortunately, that's not the case. There are great moments in stages, but only a few great stages on their own. The much touted fire and ice mechanic is severely underutilised; being just there for running through obstacles or running on water.

Then there are the non 2D platformer stages, which, other than the boss fights, these are all bad. There are humdrum mini-game levels consisting of piloting a submarine and a hovercraft that are absolutely terrible and feel completely tacked on, and even the special stages that use the same style as Sonic 2 's special stages with sonic sprinting through tunnels while the camera follows behind him feel lacklustre.

Screenshot for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on Nintendo 3DS

The "bot racing" stages where Robotnik pitches Sonic against a robotic racer on a custom course are the single saving grace of the non-standard stages, which are short maps filled with obstacles which are played in 3 lap stages, and these are also available for 2-player races. Another problem: the game is somewhat short - made up of just six zones with a handful of stages in each, although the lifespan is extended somewhat by the additional objectives on each stage.

A time limit to complete each one, along with acquiring a set number of rings, rewards some Ragnium which can be used to buy concept art, racer bots, and ability upgrades. Then there are the different collectables to track down. There are hammer parts for Amy which let her upgrade her hammer, junk parts for Sticks which unlock a special surprise, and trading cards for Knuckles which unlock new race tracks for a bot racing mini-game.

Screenshot for Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


After the terrible previous entries in the Sonic Boom series Fire & Ice manages to look superb in comparison, but, on its own merits, it's simply a good game… and there's nothing wrong with that. Not every title has to reinvent a genre or break the mould. This is an enjoyable 2D scrolling platformer that has the added benefit that may introduce some new players to "The Fastest Thing Alive." It may not be perfect, but it's fun and certainly one of the best Sonic games in recent memory.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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