Herein we have the first Sonic game that is universally liked by all critics since... well, Sonic 4. But before that, since Sonic Adventure 2 on the Dreamcast. And, while I think reviewers are going a little too far, they're not off, either. Far from it. Indeed, a lot of what you heard in those reviews is completely accurate, so much so that my review may be a bit redundant. But reviewing this game is a necessity for me. The life-long, if a bit diminished nowadays Sonic fan in me has to speak.
Sonic Colors is a game that does so much right for the Sonic franchise. Not only in terms of gameplay, but in terms of philosophy. Design-wise, Sonic Colors is an universe-sized improvement over previous titles. We're talking about a game with a gun-totting, motorcycle-riding hedgehog. A game where a hedgehog must wield a sword to become a true knight. A game based on the concept "what if Sonic was real?". A game where all the levels are based on cities from the world. Games with unnecessarily complicated stories, dull art styles, lame rock music with lyrics in levels. And perhaps the worst offender, horrible gameplay that took Sonic away from the player and replaced him with a slower version of him with horrible telekinesis powers (to give one example).
Fast forward to Sonic Colors. The game starts. No opening cutscene. Right off the bat I'm playing the first level. WHAT? And this level looks bright, colorful, and not trying to be real. I do get a few skippable cutscenes later on, but they're actually pretty funny and well written. The voices are great. The plot is simple and the characters are few. Thank Lord.
You get a New Super Mario Bros/DKCR-like world map where you select the levels. You beat the first world, and you can access two more. Okay, nice. Then, you beat those two and you can access three more. All remaining levels minus the final one! You get some cutscenes along the way, but they can be seen in any order. I don't know if you can imagine how huge this is. Design wise, this whole game screams "Sega knows what they're doing". They kept the game simple and fun all the way through.
But what about the gameplay? If you read previews you know this, but if you didn't, you'd be shocked that you play as Sonic the whole time. This, again, is huge. The only "hook" they added is the Wisps. They're essentially power-ups. Thank you! That wasn't so hard. If you want to have a hook, don't take Sonic away from me, just pimp him up a little. They're a bit lame and one-sided, but also non-invasive to the overall gameplay at all and often optional. But the ultimate question is, of course, if Sonic is actually fun to control. And if the level design is solid. And here there could be a few issues.
First off, I have to note, Sonic's animations are awesome and he actually feels like Sonic should when you control him. He moves crazy fast and he accelerates quickly. When he jumps, he spins quickly and glows. Nice. The physics are also a bit improved. But what you have to know as a player is that Colors went the Sonic Unleashed route and never looked back. This game is lightning fast. It is in many instances a roller-coaster. But where Unleashed felt like a racer, complete with drift turns and a lot of running on the ground, Colors is truly an insane roller-coaster. They went all out with the spectacle here. Do you like running upside down, on a colorful trail that's created on the fly in space while Sonic runs through it? Or how about doing insane loops, going underwater and back out, while being chased by a robot? Maybe you prefer an actual roller-coaster, in space, that falls off to its doom unless you jump to one next to it, which explodes, and sends you flying, where you quickly have to bounce into asteroids to stay in the air. All that is here and more.
This is not much like classic Sonic. But I find it fun regardless. And it's a huge step up from previous 3D Sonics. It's just fun gameplay. Of course, there are also 2D sections. These are more platforming-oriented for the most part. The platforming variety is actually pretty impressive and unexpected, but it's all a bit shallow. It's all pretty simple and you'll find yourself essentially moving to the right constantly without many issues. But it's fun, and that, combined with the crazy spectacles of the 3D sections make each level a fun ride.
There's a challenge mode. There's the Sonic Simulator which consists of simple, arcade-style levels with 8-bit music where you control a robot Sonic. Or two, it's Co-Op. It's a fun distraction. And there's coming back to previous levels after you have unlocked new Wisp abilities to access new parts of levels. They weren't joking with this. I distinctively remember the back of the Secret Rings box said "branching paths!". Yeah, right. Well this time it's real. It's nothing huge, but they're small shortcuts or alternate areas to make each level more fun. Also, they usually contain Red Rings, which much like the Puzzle Pieces in DKCR are plentiful and you can collect them if you so desire. And they actually unlock something cool. Like, really cool. The game has its fair share of replay value.
Sonic Colors is the most complete, well-made Sonic game in years. In a decade, actually. Don't expect Super Sonic Galaxy out of this, after all is said and done the levels are a bit shallow, but they're still fun. However, what makes me happy is the game is just well crafted in all areas, gameplay included. It's not just good for Sonic fans - I truly believe every Wii owner who enjoys platformers should give it a try. I understand if you're skeptical, but at least rent it. It's fun.
I liked Sonic Colors for an hour or so, but quickly began to grow tired of it and by the end, I hated the game. The platforming is awful and the challenge is so uneven. Some levels are incredibly easy, while others are ridiculously difficult and cheap.
Traded it in earlier this week, along with Epic Mickey. I won't miss either. Speaking of platformers, I plan on restarting DKCR in the near future. Now THAT is one amazing game.
I wouldn't recommend Colors to anybody except people who loved Unleashed for some crazy reason. Especially since there are so many better platformers on Wii. At least the stuff peripheral to gameplay has been massively upgraded, though.
When I tried the DS version demo from Nintendo Channel, everything was so fast and blurry that I couldn't tell what I was doing! How do you play it? Memorization? (When I tried a PS3 demo it was more viewable) Or maybe my eyes are worse than I thought...
Yeah, memorization. That's how I've played ALL Sonic the Hedgehog games. I think that's how you have to play any of them, even going as far back as the Genesis games. You're going so freakin' fast, it doesn't matter if you're looking at the game on a handheld screen or on a TV screen - it's all too fast and blurry to really know what's going on. At least, that's been my experience.
And yeah, I have the same question as Panda - a PS3 demo of Sonic Colors? What's all this, then?
So I rented (the Wii version of) this game recently. I have to say, GE was right. It's pretty good! It may not be true to 'classic Sonic', or whatever, but I don't have any particular fondness for 'classic Sonic', so getting an interesting, playable, non-janky platformer starring the character is good enough for me.
I'm going to pick it up. That said, does ANYONE like the whole "get hit, lose 100% of your rings" think? UGH. Die in a fire, classic Sonic conventions.
Ha ha, well you can re-collect some of your rings after getting hit, yeah? It's a real punishment for messing up, and you can recover fairly quickly. It's not so bad.
I mean, when Fire Mario gets hit, he loses ALL of his fire-throwing abilities, and no way to recover it quickly. (unless you've got one stashed in your Item Box if you're playing Super Mario World, NEW Super Mario Bros. or NEW Super Mario Bros. 2)
It does kind of "hurt" when Sonic takes damage all of a sudden, and the screen is just FILLED with all rings you've collected from the stage, ha ha.
@Anand It is a little weird, but it actually kinda makes things easier. As long as you keep grabbing at least one ring back, you can just keep getting smacked around. It's like if Mario dropped a Super Mushroom every time he got hit.
@GameDadGrant@Mop it up In terms of health, it's not too bad (although collecting fallen rings is a lot more tedious in 3D), but in terms of scoring, it's kind of infuriatingly punitive. Like that one nasty icon in Donkey Konga multiplayer that just ZEROES your opponents score. So all of my efforts up to this point have amounted to absolutely nothing? Thanks, game!