There are a few different types of levels in Sonic Forces. As SEGA showed off at E3, Modern Sonic levels are fast, featuring big moments of spectacle, while Classic Sonic levels are more about platforming and traditional Sonic gameplay. A third type of level is built around the custom-made hero characters you can create in Sonic Forces, offering gameplay tailored around the ability you pick for your character.
At Gamescom, SEGA is showing off yet another type of level: Tag Team, which teams up Modern Sonic with your player-made character. In a level we played, Sonic and the custom character have to break into one of Eggman’s factories and open up a path to let in the resistance, and you control both characters simultaneously.
Early on, Sonic and the custom character perform a Double Boost, teaming up in an unstoppable speed boost that takes down any enemy unlucky enough to be in their path. With enough momentum, they break inside the factory and prepare to take down Eggman’s forces. This is where the team-up mechanic comes into play.
The hero you create has a Wispon ability they can use to explore the level in different ways. While we didn’t get to create our own character, the preset options available to us had abilities like a boosted fire jump to assist in platforming, a lightning whip, and a hammer that could take down enemies. Each character can use their ability once they find the wisp that matches their color (red for the burst, yellow for lightning, etc).
In the solo level, the custom character controls felt a little off and not quite as fine-tuned as either version of Sonic, but in Tag Team, the balance felt great, and switching between Sonic’s boost versus the main character’s Wispon is intuitive and feels totally natural.
I still have a few concerns about Sonic Forces, as the levels themselves feel really short and we haven’t seen much of a challenge yet. All four level types shown so far have been surprisingly easy, which stands in stark contrast to the recently-released Sonic Mania, which is still fresh on my mind. Still, Sonic Team clearly understands that mixing up the gameplay is a good thing, and for now I can only hope that these simpler levels have been for demo purposes with the more challenging stuff to come in the final game.
Andrew is IGN’s executive editor of news and wishes he had a friend to team up with. You can find him rambling about Persona and cute animals on Twitter.