Sonic’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years due to his 3D adventures. I know several big Sonic fans that have given up playing the 3D games in the series due to sheer disappointment. The last 3D Sonic title I played before Sonic Colors was Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the Nintendo Game Cube and I thought that game was an abomination. So how does Sonic Colors fair?
The story is very generic. Dr. Eggman has built an amusement park in space to try and make up for all of his previous misdeeds. This is, of course, a front. Dr. Eggman is using the giant amusement park space station to hold several planets hostage with his tractor beam. One of these planets is home to an alien race known as Wisps. It’s Dr. Eggman’s goal to capture these Wisps and to use the power they possess for his evil plot.
It’s not long before Sonic and Tails come to check out the space station. They learn about Dr. Eggmans’s evil plot to use the helpless aliens and decide to save them.
When it comes down to the gameplay, Sonic Colors mixes 3D elements with the more traditional side scrolling that many Sonic fans grew up with. This is the games biggest achievement and the mix feels great. The 3D elements that made some of the previous Sonic games awful are more straightforward this time around, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t multiple paths to take!
Another gameplay element is the inclusion of the Wisps. If Sonic finds a Wisp in a level he will gain special abilities. Some of these include turning into a laser, gaining the ability to float, becoming an unstoppable killing monster, turning into a high flying rocket, transforming into a ball of spikes allowing him to stick to walls, and more. This might sound a bit gimmicky but it’s really a fun inclusion to the game and allows for greater exploration of the levels by using, and saving the found abilities for certain areas of each stage.
All of the Wisps in the game need to be set free before Sonic can find them in each stage. So players going through each stage the first time might notice some places where a Wisp container is, but there is nothing there. Once players find them later on they will be placed back into those previous stages adding to the games overall replay value.
Each stage also has five Red Star Rings that can be found. Collecting these rings unlocks more stages and options in the Sonic Simulator. The Sonic Simulator is a game that Dr. Eggman has setup in the amusement park. Players can play this simulator by themselves or with a friend. However, I found these stages to be somewhat boring.
The bonus multiplayer capable stages have a more “Lego” type look to them. Obviously an attempt to look like a generic video game, but in the end it just looks bad. I felt that these stages added little to the game and in effect I had little interest in going back to previous stages to find the Red Star Rings. Kids will probably like playing through these levels with their friends.
On the downside, Sonic Colors has many cheap falling deaths. What resulted during play were several situations of just trial and error to learn the stage. These deaths tend to happen when Sonic is running and there is no way of knowing whether he can make the jump or not. Players will simply have to go back and retry that jump while moving faster. Any time Sonic loses momentum, Sonic ceases to be fun.
The game is also somewhat short. I was able to complete the main game, not going for extras, in just over five hours.
True to it’s name, Sonic Colors is very colorful and it makes for great visuals. One problem I have with many of the normal stages is that there is so much going on in the background, it can be a little distracting. The game suffers from some frame rate issues that become more annoying when moving fast.
The level design in Sonic Colors is somewhat confusing. Level layouts are hard to imagine. It may be intentional but in my opinion it’s not something that adds to the experience.
While the formula still needs a little more work, overall I feel Sonic Colors is a step in the right direction as far as 3D games in the series are concerned. The inclusion of the Wisps are great but the overall design just needs more polish. Hopefully, the next Sonic game will follow the Sonic Colors formula and improve upon the flaws found in this game. With that said, Sonic fans will probably want to check this game out.
Here’s the rundown:
+ Nice Mix Of 3D and Side Scrolling
+ The Use Of Wisps
+ Best 3D Sonic Game In A Long Time
– Cheap Deaths
– Poor Frame Rate
– Poor Replay Value Rewards
Sonic Colors was developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Nintendo Wii. The game was released in North America on November 16, 2010 with an MSRP of $49.99 USD. The copy used for this review was provided by the publisher.