Review by Chunkey Simmons

"It's fun, it's challenging, it's a decent Sonic game with many flaws."

Sonic the Hedgehog happens to be one of my favorite franchises. Since Sonic 2 on the Sega Genesis, so much time has been wasted in my life playing Sonic games. You know what? Everyone loved Sonic. Ever since Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, a lot of changes were made with Sonic: every character was given a makeover, some were altered, others were scratched from the franchise entirely, but most of all, some gameplay elements were changed from the old Sonic we knew and loved. Due to these changes and the release of Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis and Sonic Next Gen, Sega lost a lot of fans. With the bad reputation Sega had, they made a desperate attempt to revive everything by releasing two games: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Colors. Was this restoration successful?

Sonic Colors happens to be the newest Sonic game, released in November of last year (2010). I bought it for $50 at Best Buy, so for a game this expensive, I'm going to cover everything I can. I also want to point out that everyone told me to buy Donkey Kong Country Returns. It's was the same price as Sonic Colors, with 2D action just like Sonic Colors. But I wouldn't listen. I really wanted to try this game, no matter what everyone else said.

Sonic Colors was released on the Wii and the Nintendo DS. It was never ported to the Xbox 360 or PS3. What you're looking at now is a review of the Wii version.

Plot

Dr. Eggman starts his own amusement park on a few planets orbiting Sonic World. Despite Dr. Eggman denying any evil plans, Sonic and Tails still decide to visit the amusement park in suspicion. Due to Sonic's ambition and Tails' intelligence, they discover that Eggman does indeed have an evil plan: to use the aliens (also known as Wisps) as his source of power to take over the world. Thanks to Tails' translator, his new friend Yacker (a wisp) informs him about this and the ambitious Sonic takes the situation into his own hands.

Gameplay

There are several planets to pick from. Unlike other Sonic games, you can go in any order. Each planet has six acts and then a boss fight. I respect Sega for setting up a level map system for each planet, similar to Super Mario World, it makes it easier if you want to play a specific level. When you defeat Eggman on that planet, sometimes an additional planet will be unlocked. As Sonic, you have the ability to double jump, homing attack which will kill an enemy near you, and the ability to kick off walls to make hard-to-reach areas.

There are some fun and clever ideas Sega thought of, like skating on high altitudes, level designs that resemble race tracks, and the many different abilities you possess. Wisps give you powerful abilities, like turning into a rocket, the ability to hover, dig through the ground, swim faster, laser, and several others which are used to get past certain obstacles. Nearly 90% of the game has 2D gameplay with only a few 3D elements, it's almost comparable to the classic Sonic games following up to Sonic 3 and Knuckles. I guess that's Sega's response to the bad feedback from games like Sonic Next Gen.

The boss battles are creative and well done. I also admire that Tails helps you out with instructions on how to defeat the bosses. It's a reasonable challenge, my only problem is that most of the bosses are recycled for later levels. Wait a minute, didn't I already beat this guy? Don't do that Sega! Look at the other Sonic games, you don't see that happening. Should I blame Sega or Dr. Eggman?

Controls

I'm going to be blunt, the controls are terrible. Walking is fine, but jumping is the big problem. For starters, the ability to double jump is not very useful since it's not high enough. Not only that, but your ability to kick off walls gets in the way of it. It seems like when I try to jump to specific areas, I accidentally perform a wall kick since I'm too close to a wall, and that pushes me away from my destination!

Another major problem is that the homing attack and double jump are both the 2 button. This creates a lot of problems! Half the time you'll end up performing a homing attack by accident when you really meant to jump! This is why you don't make them the same button! In Sonic Rush, jump and homing are different buttons, that's how it should have been.

Sonic also has the ability to slide under narrow paths, but having narrow paths just seems pointless, it's hard to react in time, so you end up wasting time backing up and trying to slide again. It doesn't make it harder, it just slows down the game.

All the power-ups from the wisps are activated by shaking the Wii Remote. Totally inconvenient. You don't just shake, you have to strangle the remote in order for your power-up to work. If you don't shake the Wii Remote hard enough, the game won't detect it. New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a similar format, but all you have to do is shake it, no hassle involved. Luckily Sonic Colors supports Gamecube controllers. If you have one, use it. The best part is that the game will properly switch to the Gamecube buttons when instructing. Good job Sega.

Replay Factor

Mechanic-wise the game has a lot of variety because of the powers from the aliens, but platformer-wise there's not much variety. Every act is pretty much the same as its successor. The first act is always the longest and best act, and then after that it's all recycled material. Most Sonic games are like that, but in those there's only 2 or 3 acts per zone so the time spent in each zone is perfect. Having six acts is just overdoing it.

There are a certain number of red targets you can collect in each act. That's actually kind of funny, because at Target this game is $10 cheaper than at other stores. Subliminal messages at its best.

As a result, I don't really see much of a reason to play this game after you beat it, unless you want to collect every red target. There are multiple endings and chaos emeralds to collect as well, giving it minimal replay value.

Graphics

Wow! You need to see it to believe it! There's so much detail. In a single screenshot there's much to see with all the planets, the 3D Islands, and so much more. Sonic Colors probably has the best graphics over any game for the Wii. It feels like you're actually there, as if you're the ambitious hedgehog jumping from planet to planet. This game gives me many chills because of my fear of heights. Sometimes I lose track of what I'm doing because I'm too busy looking at the background. And to top it off, I don't have an HD television so I can only imagine how it looks in high definition.

Music and Sound

The music is so well done. Many people complained about it being dull and unmemorable, I disagree. In fact, Sonic Colors has one of the best sound tracks in the entire series. My only problem is that it's completely uninspired, there's no remixes of old songs, it's all new stuff we've never heard before. That's fine and all, but isn't Sonic Colors supposed to mimic the older Sonic games?

The sound is pretty good as well. I was shocked to see that Sonic still makes the bubble sound when he gasps for air while underwater, it brought back memories.

Random Nitpicks

It's disappointing that you can't play as Tails. If Sega wants to win back retro Sonic fans, then make Tails a playable character! He was awesome.

I was honestly surprised, the cutscenes were actually entertaining. Most people complain about the corny lines. Yeah they're a little corny but it doesn't happen a lot. I'll let some of the bad jokes slide. I specifically like the scenes with Dr. Eggman and his dysfunctional behavior with his robots.

Final Verdict

Sonic Colors has received various feedback. Many claim the gameplay is flawed, while some other people dubbed it the best Sonic game in the last 10 years. If you're a retro Sonic fan like I am, you might enjoy Sonic Colors because it borrows a lot from older Sonic games. It's definitely a great game, it's fun, it's challenging, it will keep you busy for a few weeks, but for $50? That's way too much for Sonic Colors. The controls are awful, the music is uninspired, and the gameplay is repetitive. Because of these flaws, the game makes out to be good, not excellent, but Sega was successful in bringing back Sonic. If you must check out this game like I did, go to Target, it's $10 cheaper there. As a result, yes it's a good game, but far from being perfect.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/16/11

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


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