Note for potential outside readers: The previous SAGE 2019 build on this page has since been replaced with a newer Pre-SAGE 2020 demo at the time I'm writing, so you will notice me describing elements not present on the other reviews on this page.
This fan game has no doubt gotten a lot better since the SAGE 2019 demo with the sprite art no longer suffering with an obnoxious use of bevelling, the level design now being more cohesive and the general presentation now being more flashy akin to arcade games including usage of 3D models (which I didn't even think were possible in Clickteam Fusion). However when it came to gameplay I had some problems which I'll go over here.
First problem I encountered was with the controller and keyboard bindings as they were both inconsistent. When I first loaded up the game and couldn't get past the disclaimer screen on my controller, it gave me the impression of this game not having controller support but then when I got to the game with the keyboard, suddenly the keyboard doesn't work and I have to use my controller to play. It doesn't even stop there as even the bindings on the controller changed between different parts of the game that I'll list here:
- Disclaimer screen and skipping the intro require you to press Enter on the keyboard
- Any button except start on the controller is accepted on the title screen
- (On an Xbox controller) The left analogue stick and the X button
are used to navigate and select in the menus
- The cutscene with Eggman and Metal Sonic can't be skipped at all on either controller or Keyboard
- Keyboard loses all bindings in-game and now the D-Pad can be used with the A button to jump, the Y button to cancel the Spindash and the X button to switch between 4 slots that I've yet to figure out what they do
This game could really benefit with some of universal binding system (for lack of better terms) along with button customisation options so that people don't have to either switch between devices or be stuck being unable to play the game at all because they don't have a controller on standby.
Second problem was with Sonic's physics, or rather the running physics to be precise. Sonic's control for the most part is a decent approximation of the Sonic Mania physics until you come across loops or slopes as simply running on them loses all speed immediately even with a decent run up or being launched by a red spring. As a result it becomes required to either roll or use the spindash/peel out on even the most simple of loops to progress:
Last time I checked the framework used here isn't based on Forces Classic Sonic so I shouldn't be struggling to do a simple task from 1991.
Third problem came with the bosses as while they do have clear telegraphs for what attack they're gonna do, the fast attack speed for 3 of the 4 bosses did make dodging more difficult than I think they need to be for the first zone's bosses. The second Act 1 boss in particular had really fast missiles that practically required me to memorise the timing off in order to get them to hit the ship. If I jumped any 1-2 frames before they come on screen would result in them being in the air and not where I wanted them to be.
As for a bug report I did notice that if I loaded the first act after finishing the demo, Sonic would phase through the floor and die instantly causing me to restart the game. The other 2 bugs involved the score tally not loading up correctly and getting hit on the rising ship making Sonic fall to his death:
While this review has 3 stars on it, I do think this game has got potential to be great if some of the problems were ironed out and like I said before it's significantly better than the SAGE 2019 demo, so don't let the review score detract from keeping a close eye on the project. It's still an enjoyable demo, there were just some factors that prevented me from giving it the "Good" rating.