Sonic 4 was everything the fans asked for and yet somehow I didn’t like it.
Then there was Colours, a game aimed at the little kiddies, yet somehow this is the one title I’ve looked forward to, this first for a while in the Sonic series.
So considering I was the only EC crew member who hadn’t played it in advance did it live up to my expectations, rather critical as they are?
In short no, they surpassed them, by a long way.
Sonic Colours follows a similar concept to Sonic Unleashed’s day time sections at first glance, get from A to B using a mixture of pseudo 3D and 2.5D, collecting rings and smashing robots on the way. If that was simply the case then colours would have faltered rather quickly, we’ve all seen and done this before.
And this is where the colours come in. The wisps add something not seen since adventure, a chance to explore and search the levels. Each wisp power gives you a different way to explore and search different areas of levels, what’s more is that once you have collected a power, you are pretty much free to use it where you want.
This is where Sonic Colours shines brightest.
But before we delve in let’s look at how it handles. First off controller wise, I’ve tried all 4 control methods. Wiimote on it’s own doesn’t have enough buttons, (the slide and stomp button is B, which when holding it sideways is horrible), with the nunchuck is playable, but motion controls are unnecessary, so you are best with sticking to either Classic controller or Gamecube, personally prefer Gamecube because I’m not a fan of the Snes layout (and yes Nemain will kill me for this).
Sonic’s control system has had a little rehaul, you’ve got a button for jumping, boosting, stomping and sliding and then a last button/action for Wisp powers. Sonic still has his homing attack when he has something to aim for, but now instead of doing a dash (since the dash button can do that) you do a little double jump, this is great for gaining extra control and just fine tuning the end of your jump.
There are a couple of iffy bits of control, drifting sections certainly are not easy to control and having to use the stick to move forward and side step on the relevant sections is a pain (however with both wiimote options you probably couldn’t do it any other way).
The wisp powers themselves are very easy to control and are either self explanatory or instant action.
There is no camera control but in most cases it isn’t a problem, there are one or two occasions where it will cause you grief, but very few.
While the main aim is still to get from point A to B, rather than taking the direct route you are rewarded for basically having fun messing about. Every stage (bar boss battles) has 5 red rings to find, collecting them will unlock more levels in the Game world, more on that later.
The rank system is back ranging from D to S, oh which S ranks appear on the main level select to show how well you are doing to basically completing the game as far as you can. Gives you something to aim for. But to get those shiny S ranks on some levels takes more than just finding the best path, collecting the rings and not getting hit, in fact on some levels none of that even matters. Simply playing about with the colours powers and actually just having fun on some levels will be enough to bag you a S rank on levels both near the start and near the end of the game. For example I S ranked the 1st act of Aquarium Park, missing every single red ring, just by having fun exploring underwater with the Drill power.
A or S ranking a level nets you extra lives at the score screen, and since the levels you S rank easily will most likely be the ones you enjoy messing about on, this reward system helps emphasis the fact this game revolves around simply letting you have fun.
With 6 levels with 6 acts and a boss level each, you’ve certainly got a decent amount of levels to play with as well.
Boss battles are for the most part rather imaginative, with the final boss being excellent, without spoilers, it brings enough dark edge while still keeping with the theme of the game.
However the main level bosses are repeated, though given a slight twist to either suit a different Wisp power or become slightly harder. These repeated bosses do feel a little a little like they have been rushed but the bosses are solid enough to be enjoyable and easy to finish, but hard to S rank, in some cases rather infuriatingly if you are short by a ring or five.
If you are playing Sonic for story then go home now. There is a story, thankfully it is rather loose, however I think Sonic has a line which sums it up nicely, “Eggman plus secretly built amusement park equals evil plot for us to foil.” The game does not take its story seriously and a lot of both cutscene and in game voices (in game there are announcements for the park by Eggman) are simply jokes, sadly it does get a little over the top cheesy which spoils it.
You’ll get some laughs, but in the end who cares? If you do then play a game which actually needs a story.
Environment & Music
While one thing the Sonic series has always been great at was creating beautiful environments and fitting music to go with them, in recent years, as awesome as they are, they’ve not quite fit the style of game that you play. Sonic Unleashed, while the music had the right tempo and fit rather nicely, the environments seemed a little too realistic for a bright blue hedgehog.
Sonic Colours setting seems to have been able to fix that. Set in space around floating planets, we have 6 different environments, all completely unique, each with their own style and oozing with character. Time has obviously been taken to make sure each location has enough to explore while giving you enough varying environment in each world to keep exploration interesting. While yes I am sure HD versions of these would look lovely too, the graphics push the Wii to some of the most stunning graphics on the console, and certainly most colourful in Sonic’s line of games for a long time. They aren’t perfect, not particularly a fan of Sweet Mountain and Starlight carnival, sometimes beautiful, occasionally a little dull.
But it doesn’t stop there, music in short both fits the environments, the style of game and are lovely pieces to listen to alone. While a personal preference would say I would like a little less of the synth instruments, it all fits lovely together. Worlds like Aquarium Park and Starlight Carnival have a lovely blend of traditional instruments and synth (the first being some of my favourite music in the game) while Asteroid Coaster has the more traditional Jun Senoue rock that we all know and love and fits beautifully.
Again it’s not 100% perfect and will depend rather heavily on taste but from me, it’s a huge thumbs up.
Along with the main game, you also get bonus levels which you can play with a friend, starting with 7, you can unlock an additional 14 by collecting red rings in the main levels. These Game world levels can be played single player as well. These levels are rather basic (in some cases they have rather large influences from previous games) and while these levels aren’t quite as well crafted as the main ones, they will still give some fun, and can be quite a laugh in 2 player mode as you both knock each other about, despite it being a co-op mode, you will both fight over wisp powers. if you can collect all the red rings and complete all the game world levels there is a reward for all those hardcore Sonic fans (and it is tailored towards them too).
On top of that there is also a challenge mode which will take you through all the levels in order in order to get the best score possible, you even get to keep your rings and boost energy between levels. Getting through all 45 levels in order is a little bit of a task but it is there for those who want a challenge.
The one feature that is missing, Sound Test… seriously the music is that good.
There isn’t much more than that but if you want to get the S ranks and all the red rings you’ll be replaying levels a few times.
Sonic Colours is simply fun, there is no other way of putting it. It won’t last an experienced gamer too long, the game isn’t too difficult though the S ranks will give you a little bit of a challenge. However considering the game is aimed at a younger audience the difficulty is set right, as is the whole tone and setting of the game. There is enough subtle fan service to please the hardcore fans, subtle things like the motobugs and buzzbomber appearances being used for something new and a little different is a great pleasure to see rather than simply being copy and pasted.
If you are looking for a Christmas present for the kids, this game is perfect. Sonic fans may want to wait for it to go down a little, but it is easily a worthwhile purchase.
Sonic 4 was the game the Sonic Fans and professional reviewers wanted, a return to the old. Sonic Colours is something new, different, but made for everyone. Personally, I want to see Sonic continue on from here.
Lifespan -> 60 (will heavily range depending on skill)
Overall – > 93
I want a Wii. :C