Sonic X Shadow Generations preview – Into the Shadowverse

Sonic x Shadow Generations features an entirely new subplot that's giving Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
sonic x shadow generations

Shadow the Hedgehog is about to have a very good year. Between appearances in Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and the release of Sonic x Shadow Generations, it’s no wonder that Sega have labelled 2024 the official “Year of Shadow“. We all love that silly, edgy hedgehog, and it’s great to see him getting new chances to shine – especially on bigger stages.

Sonic x Shadow Generations in particular is shaping up to be a wonderful spotlight for everybody’s mean, furry best friend. In a recent preview, GamesHub was able to get hands-on with multiple levels of the game, including two of the new Shadow-focused stages.

For those unfamiliar, Sonic x Shadow Generations is an enhanced remaster of Sonic Generations with modern improvements for visuals, and an entirely new story chapter following Shadow the Hedgehog as he takes on the mysterious Black Doom – a being who forces Shadow to “journey into his past, confront his painful memories, and unlock new dark powers to save the world.”

At a glance, this chapter in Shadow’s journey seems to take core inspiration from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in its approach. Specifically, there’s shades of Doctor Strange, Multiverse of Madness, and Spider-Man: No Way Home in the adventure.

Entering the Sonic x Shadow multiverse

shadow x sonic generations preview
Image: Sega

Like levels of Sonic Generations, the Shadow-focused stages are all about running through a world as fast as possible, jumping on boosts, grinding rails, and defeating enemies while flinging yourself through arenas. As with all things Shadow, there are elements of edge to these levels, with both preview stages having dark cyberspace elements.

You’ll run through dimly-lit corridors of neon lights, vast spaces filled with black, and encounter a range of cyber-enemies in the form of robots, and a roaming Doom’s Eye – a Shuma-Gorath/Starro-like beast which resembles an intergalactic starfish.

That’s not the only reason I relate Shadow’s journey to that of Doctor Strange, however. In the later stages of the Sonic x Shadow Generations preview, the primary cyberspace level split and “shattered” much like the Mirror Dimension of Doctor Strange / No Way Home. As you travel, suddenly your pathway is splintered and mirrored ahead of you, with revolving patterns making your path strange and discombobulating.

Read: It’s officially the Year of Shadow the Hedgehog

It’s gorgeous and kaleidoscopic, and makes Shadow’s journey an aesthetically intriguing one – while also spicing up his adventure greatly. It’s nice to revisit the ideas of Sonic Generations, but even in this taster, it appears Sega is keen to try something new and complex.

Beating around the boss

sonic x shadow generations gameplay
Image: Sega

That theme of experimentation continued with the main boss battle of the Sonic x Shadow Generations preview, against a multi-limbed bio lizard armed with mystical bubble powers. Unlike Sonic, Shadow has the ability to slow down time, allowing him to take on faster enemies, and react quicker to deadly attacks.

The lizard in question is a towering beast, and Shadow feels extremely small going up against it. But with timing and precision, you can use Shadow’s size and powers to his advantage, jumping across the battlefield to avoid heavy stomps, and then hitting back against the creature’s bubble powers to reverse the flow of damage.

While I’ve played plenty of Sonic games, the bio lizard fight felt unique for its scale. It’s a heavy-hitting enemy, and you need to use every trick at Shadow’s disposal to put it down. You’re constantly at a disadvantage, and it feels like you can get squished easily underfoot. Sonic bosses tend to be an afterthought to clever, fast-paced platforming in other games, so it was very nice to see the level of challenge and ambition in the bio lizard fight. If it’s a sign of things to come in Sonic x Shadow Generations, it’s a very good sign overall.

Between the game’s twisting Shadow levels and its novel boss fights, there was plenty in our preview to get a grasp on what Sega has planned for Sonic x Shadow Generations. While it is a remaster of the original Sonic Generations, it’s clear Sega is taking the game several steps further, in a quest to innovate on what’s come before. Shadow’s levels, so far, seem very creatively minded, with neat twists that’ll vigorously shake the Sonic formula – if not completely change it. We’re certainly keen to see more.

Sonic x Shadow Generations is set to launch on 25 October 2024. Stay tuned for more thoughts on the game closer to launch.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.