Review by Hotshot193

"It's short and sweet, but still has a few problems."

Sonic Colors wasn't exactly one of the games I was excited for this year. Being disappointed by Sonic Unleashed being one of those reasons. The concept of Sonic Unleashed's daytime stages was an interesting one, but it overall failed in its execution. I believed that there was much needed improvement in a lot of Sonic Unleashed, mostly around its level design. This is where I found myself interested in Sonic Colors; from gameplay videos I've watched it seemed to have much better level design that focused more on platforming. So I've kept my eye on this game and upon purchasing it I found myself overall impressed. Is this a absolutely fantastic game? No, it has its fair share of problems, but it was a fun experience while it lasted.

Sonic Colors is set in a more surreal location than past Sonic games: a giant amusement park in space made up of captured planets via tractor beam. Surprising to me, Sonic Colors's story didn't kick off with a gorgeous cutscene like Sonic Unleashed but instead kicked off with the very first level of the game: Tropical Resort. After romping around the resort for a while you'll learn how both Sonic and Tails got into this amusement park and learn that the planets that make up this park weren't uninhabited. Dr. Eggman's grand scheme was to fool everyone into thinking that this park was an apology for his past transgressions, but behind the scenes he's rounding up as many of the aliens, known as Wisps, as he can. These Wisp's contain a very powerful energy inside of them known as "Hyper-go-ons" which Eggman is using to take over the world. Needless to say Sonic is more than ready to stop him even before he finds out Eggman's true intentions. Fairly simplistic and straight to the point, I like that about this game. What I don't like about this game is the writing. I won't say the writing is "bad" but sometimes it gets a little too kid friendly. I cringed at some of the jokes like "the big BBBE" or many of the mistranslations from Tails's hand-held (which was obviously powered by Google translator). Some of the jokes I found some humor in, like Cubot's voice chip going all haywire. I also thought that the story kind of forced itself along a little too much, some scenes that should've taken longer were incredibly short. I do however like the character's new voices. Sonic almost sounds natural in conversations while Tails who doesn't quite sound like a boy, sounds much less like a girl, which I appreciate greatly. I found it a mixed bag overall.

While the story/writing/etc was a mixed bag, I didn't find the gameplay as mixed. I actually quite liked it, but it still has a few problems. Sonic Colors takes after Sonic Unleashed a lot. You got similar gameplay but with a surprising twist to it. Those Wisps I mentioned earlier are also used in gameplay as power-ups. One allows Sonic to drill into the ground, while another turns him into a rocket and shoots him into the air. The Wisps are color-coded so it's easy to remember who does what. My favorite Wisp has to be the Pink Wisp which turns you into a spike ball which allows you to cling to walls and ceilings. My least favorite being the Orange Wisp which is the one who turns you into a rocket. The Wisps add variety to the level design which I found lacking in past Sonic games.

As I said Sonic Colors takes after Sonic Unleashed a lot, using the same moves and overall it feels the same. But there are things Sonic Colors does differently that makes it stand out more. One of which is having a more controlled boost system. In Sonic Unleashed you can use the boost as much as you want which lead to some problems when it came time to slow down. Sonic Unleashed never really gives you any indicators to slow down until after you died. Sonic Colors's boost system is more controlled. It's harder to get which made me want to save it more often and use it more wisely. Sonic Colors also features a double jump which is a tiny jump after your normal one. Such a tiny amount can make all the difference when jumping on platforms. There are areas of the game where I actually think Unleashed did a better job. These being the Drift and Quick-Step moves. The Drift can only be used in places where it wants you to, and you have to use the boost button in order to use the drift. So in drifting sections you aren't allowed to boost which I found annoying. The Quick-Step is much more suited to shoulder buttons. With the lack of the shoulder buttons on the Wiimote/Nuchuck combination you just have to use the control stick (the shoulder buttons aren't used with the Gamecube controller also). This can also get a tad annoying when you also have to control Sonic's forward movement at the same time. Though when you have some boost to spare or if you're being forced along a path the Quick-Step is a joy to use.

Sonic Colors rips apart Sonic Unleashed in terms of its level design. As I've said before Sonic Colors is much more focused on platforming than Sonic Unleashed was, which is a wonderful change of pace. Sonic Colors also offers a lot more variety in its challenges than Sonic Unleashed did via Wisps and other methods. Sonic Colors features many different platforming challenges like the Yellow Spring which follows you around (forward, but not backwards), swinging poles, and sometimes even explore underwater. This variety in levels is a very nice change of pace. Though Sonic Colors does suffer in some areas. The 3-D segments of the game are extremely lacking and miss the point of playing in a 3-D environment. Some of the 3-D environments are literally bland racetracks which involve nothing but Sonic running. Other 3-D environments feature the most bare-bones platforming I've ever seen. Luckily for myself 2-D segments make up the majority of the game (about a 3-1 ratio I think). Though the 2-D segments are the shining part of the game; they too suffer from some problems. One of the major ones is what I like to call "Cookie-Cutter level design". In which they cut segments out of previous levels, put blocks and bland rectangles everywhere and called it a day. While some of these levels can be fun; I noticed the obvious short-cut almost immediately. It's also kind of irritating seeing the same bland rectangles being spammed all over the place.

A similar short-cut is also used with the boss fights. Where they take a boss they've used in the game already and slap a new coat of paint on it and call it a day. The bosses are fun, but the shortcut still sticks out like a sore thumb. I've also took some time to try out this game's co-op mode with my brother, and I thought it was pretty horrible. Sharing the same camera was irritating and we never got anywhere due to us constantly trying to kill each other.

Each level is accompanied by some music to go along with it. I found the music absolutely fantastic overall, except for a few gripes here and there. My only gripe is some of the cutscene music sounds horrible. Almost as if it came straight out the Adventures of the Sonic the Hedgehog which is "no good". Otherwise each zone has 3 different versions of the same melody for you to listen to while you romp around them. All of them are pretty amazing ( my personal favorites being from Planet Wisp).

Overall I found Sonic Colors an enjoyable experience, but it's not quite the 3-D Sonic game I've been wanting (I can't exactly says it's 3-D when a majority of it is 2-D). It has its fair share of problems, but it has a lot of good qualities which I personally liked and loved. The environments are rich in detail and are fun to run through. The game only lasted 5 hours for a run through the story which was depressing, but those who want to collect the 5 Red Rings in each level will find themselves playing for much longer and scoring an awesome reward. If you are a Sonic fan or a Wii owner in need of a Wii game, consider picking up Sonic Colors.

The Breakdown
+Story is good and straight to the point.
+Wisps add variety to the game.
+Level design focused more around platforming.
+Minor improvements over the formula laid out by Sonic Unleashed make this game shine.
+Great graphics
+Tolerable voice-acting.
-Too short.
-The writing is a little too kid friendly
-Some levels are lazily thrown together and just aren't fun.
-3-D segments are poorly put together and are overall pointless.
-Bosses are lazily rehashed.
-Co-Op mode just isn't fun.

Sonic Colors gets a 7/10.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/10

Game Release: Sonic Colors (US, 11/16/10)


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