It’s fair to say that eyebrows were both raised and furrowed when Sega first shared footage of Sonic Frontiers back in June, but its latest trailer – a three-minute overview video breaking down the various features and gameplay flow of Sonic’s latest adventure – offers the clearest explanation yet of how things will unfold come its launch on 8th November if you’re still a little puzzled by the whole thing.
Granted, Sega’s plentiful, if scattershot, drip-feed of information over the last few months means none of the information in today’s trailer is particularly new, but it’s certainly more digestible – and understandable – than trying to mentally scoop together a picture of Sonic Frontiers from countless previews and reveals.
The gist, then, is that having somehow found his way into a strange dimension known as Cyber Space, Sonic escapes to Kronos – one of the Starfall Islands where players will be able to embark on Frontiers’ non-linear “open zone” gameplay. Here, high-speed exploration and puzzling are the order of the day, with successful puzzling unlocking items that’ll increase Sonic’s power and defence and revealing new parts of each map.
Eventually, players can take on bosses to earn portal gears that’ll grant access to Cyber Space stages – remixed versions of classic 2D and 3D Sonic levels – and completing challenges here rewards Vault Keys, unlocking Chaos Emeralds and the next Open Zone.
And that’s pretty much how the game unfolds, albeit with a few extra wrinkles – including a combat system built around skill trees, letting players unlock and level up different abilities (single-button auto-combos are also available for those that want to keep things simple), plus Sonic’s Cy Loop, which surrounds enemies and objects with a band of light with varying results.
How all that ultimately comes together remains to be seen, but Eurogamer’s Chris Tapsell and Martin Robinson have both had broadly positive – if not exactly effusive – things to say about Sonic Frontiers after previous hands-on time. “For all its issues,” said Martin back in June, “it looks like it could be Sonic Team’s most interesting take on the series since Sonic Adventure – something to be wary of, perhaps, but having got to try it out for myself it’s now something I’m also cautiously optimistic about too.” And if nothing else, at least Big the Cat’s in it.
Sonic Frontiers will be available on PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, and Switch when it launches on 8th November.