But yeah, even with the partner mechanic removed, this game simply doesn't have much to offer. A platformer lives or dies by its physics and level design, and the level design here is frustratingly dull, empty, and repetitive. The level design is so focused on showing off that tether mechanic that it frequently fails to be engaging in its own right and ultimately comes across as a very polished tech demo. The best content is near the end of the game, but the early content is so boring that I rarely want to play far enough to start enjoying it.
If you want to fix this game, there's two things that need to be changed:
- The levels are too vertical. I can get making them more vertical than other Sonic games, but I feel they've gone too far. Too much of the game is climbing, which gets tedious.
- More obstacles. Whether enemies or setpiece gimmicks, there simply aren't enough things impeding your path throughout the game, either in variety or density. Far too much of the game is simply navigating ordinary level design, platforms, quarter pipes, etc., which can get repetitive if there aren't enough other challenges to overcome between them.
Put another way, I think the tether mechanic would be far more fun in Sonic 3 than it is here, because the tether mechanic really isn't the problem with this game in the first place, except insofar as the developers put it too front and center to the detriment of interesting level design.