Sonic 3D Blast ~ Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island

 

Sonic 3D Blast, known outside North America as Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island, is a 1996 isometric platform game for the Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn. The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he embarks on a journey to save the Flickies, a species of bird that are being enslaved by Doctor Robotnik. The player must guide Sonic through a series of themed levels to collect Flickies, in order to defeat Robotnik. Though it shares similar gameplay elements with prior Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic 3D Blast is differentiated by its isometric viewpoint, making occasional use of pre-rendered3D models converted into sprites.

While the game was conceived by Sonic Team, most of the actual programming was outsourced to Traveller’s Tales. Produced as a swan song for the Genesis, Sonic 3D Blast was developed alongside the unreleased Saturn game Sonic X-treme. When X-treme was canceled, Sega commissioned a port of 3D Blast for the Saturn as a backup plan. Both versions were published by Sega in November 1996, and the game was ported to Microsoft Windows the following year. Sonic 3D Blast was the final Sonic game for the Genesis, and has been rereleased on numerous Sonic themed compilations and digital distribution platforms.

Though a commercial success, becoming the second bestselling Saturn game behind Nights into DreamsSonic 3D Blast received mixed reviews from critics. Reviewers generally disliked its isometric gameplay, citing frustrations with its controls and slow pace, but praised its visuals and music. An unofficial director’s cut version developed by the Genesis version’s lead programmer, Jon Burton, was released in 2017. It features new gameplay features and improved graphics and controls, among other changes.