While the original Sonic the Hedgehog games were a solid platforming experience, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 were a marked improvement in this regard. That’s why Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 was such a letdown. It was a mediocre rendition of a mediocre game. For Sonic Colors on the other hand, Sega has completely gone back to the drawing board and has delivered a top-notch Sonic experience.
In the world of video games, there is a common theme, or more specifically a trend, for which designers try to follow – the rich, colorful, and nostalgia-inducing experience where you feel you are back in a bygone era. Sonic Colors tries to achieve this with a slight twist – instead of relying on nostalgia you get a futuristic look to the game.
Sonic Colors is the latest game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that was released for the Wii and Nintendo DS. The game has the player racing through various stages, collecting rings and defeating enemies. The game is also similar to Sonic Adventure because enemies are usually blocks that act like the enemies in Sonic Adventure. The game also features Tails as the playable character.
It would be an understatement to say Sonic the Hedgehog has had his ups and downs over the last 30 years. It would gloss over how deep the lows have been and how high the highs have been during the series’ run.
Since its debut on the Wii in 2010, Sonic Colors has been regarded as one of the best Sonic games. It garnered widespread critical praise at the time and has remained a fan favorite within the Blue Blur’s repertoire.
Sonic Colors was launched while the franchise was at its lowest point. On the Wii, Sonic and the Black Knight and Sonic and the Secret Rings are both unappealing. The generation began with the flop Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), which remains one of the most flawed games released by a major publisher in the last two decades. The mobile games were fantastic at the time, but the home console games were mostly forgotten for good cause.
Sonic Colors Ultimate, unfortunately, is another more to add to the list.
I Guess You Go Fast — Sonic Colors: Ultimate Review
Sonic Colors: Ultimate was something I was looking forward to. I’m a big Sonic fan who will give any Sonic game a chance, regardless of its reputation; I’m one of those individuals who would claim that Sonic 06’s specialized levels have some joy to be had, even if you have to sell your soul to get past its jank. I promise there’s some amusement in there! At least, that’s the case in Chaos City.
With that in mind, my first few hours with Sonic Colors: Ultimate were not enjoyable. I don’t have any memories for this game since I missed it when it first came out and instead played Sonic Unleashed a year later.
That absence of happy memories may explain why, the first time around, I despised the second and third sections of Colors, Sweet Mountain and Starlight Carnival. The game’s platforming is sluggish, clumsy, and utterly unenjoyable, with the exception of a few odd-off actions in these sections when you actually get to travel fast for a significant period of time.
Despite the game’s shrieking and obvious flaws, the more I played, the more I loved Colors as a whole, and the more I grew motivated to acquire every Red Star Ring.
Sonic Colors has you go through the first half of the game without using any of the Wisps, which is the game’s main gimmick. When you pick up a Wisp, you have a limited time to utilize its ability.
In Ultimate, there are nine Wisps, one more than in the original release to allow for even more route variety, and each one has its own special power. Sonic transforms into a drill to burrow through terrain, cyan transforms him into a laser, and blue works similarly to Mario’s P-Block.
The wisps offer new paths and even pave the road for Red Star Rings, but I frequently wished they weren’t mechanics at all. With the exception of the drill, spike, and laser Wisps, they are usually clunky and break up the velocity in a “poor” manner. The frantic purple Wisp is amazing, but it’s overkill. I’d rather sprint and platform than stop every time it noms anything for a quarter second.
The Wisps’ uneven nature is reflected in the game’s acts, which vary in duration so much in Sonic Colors: Ultimate that it seems like a waste of load time. In fact, it takes less time to complete certain acts than it does to load in and out of them.
The game’s complexity and controls are also inconsistent. Most acts are simple to complete, but others are designed so sluggish by design, with some “assistance” from the game’s floating controls, that they aren’t enjoyable. You can return to them later after you’ve earned more Wisps for shortcuts, but it’s disappointing that so many acts are so lacking in entertainment value.
I may say all of these bad things, but I’m still obligated to give it my best. Maybe it’s masochism, or maybe it’s Maybelline, but I’m not going to let go of Sonic Colors: Ultimate until I’ve collected every Red Star Ring, finished Eggman’s Sonic Simulator in its entirety, and eaten every piece of material here for breakfast.
All of this may seem appealing, but after all is said and done, I have no intention of returning to Sonic Colors: Ultimate. While there is entertainment to be found here, nothing really jumps out. Performances that are genuinely quick and enjoyable are overshadowed by acts that aren’t fast and entertaining. The music is unremarkable in any way, and each of the seven sections is as forgettable as the last.
Just for the excitement of going quickly, I’ll return to every Sonic game with at least a few of levels I like. It’s strange to state that I’m not going to do so with Sonic Colors: Ultimate.
This is a game that reflects its period, when Sonic games were plentiful yet of such poor quality that even mediocre games might seem to be fantastic.
The Bottom Line in Sonic Colors: Ultimate Review
- The improved graphics are stunning.
- There’s a lot of material for completionists.
- The Wisps provide a variety of paths throughout most acts.
- Rival Rush is a lot of fun.
- The new customizability possibilities are groundbreaking.
- For a Sonic game, there is much too much sluggish platforming.
- There are two sets of bosses that may be utilized again.
- Acts and music that will be remembered
- You never truly get to go quickly while yet feeling in complete control.
Let’s not pretend that we don’t know what the Sonic the Hedgehog series is like, or that we don’t know why people play it – to run fast. You don’t go fast enough in Sonic Colors, and you don’t go fast enough in Sonic Ultimate. Even with experience, there aren’t enough places of high speed to go around.
One might argue that in Sonic Unleashed, you don’t go that quickly either. Sonic Adventure or Sonic Adventure 2 are more options. Sonic Boom, for example. Or… So, you see what I’m getting at. There’s always that mix between challenging and fast-paced gameplay that keeps gamers coming back for more until they achieve their own peak.
In Sonic Colors: Ultimate, the occasions when I feel compelled to do so are few and far between. It’s entertaining, but not the kind of entertaining that keeps me coming back to this series much too often for someone my age.[Note: The copy of Sonic Colors: Ultimate used in this review was supplied by Sega.]
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