Sonic Colours Wii Review
Publisher – SEGA – Developer – SEGA – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – DS
Having seen Nintendo’s critical and commercial success with Mario Galaxy, SEGA has made a Sonic game that seems to be heavily inspired by Nintendo’s magical game. The box art is quite similar, the title screen music sounds like the type of thing that can be heard in Galaxy, and the whole thing is set in space. But we all know that both Sonic and Mario have very different focuses when it comes to how they play.
Indeed, Sonic hasn’t suddenly lost his speed – Colours is still about the excitement of running fast, collecting rings and foiling the plans of Dr. Eggman (or Robotnik to give him his real and less silly name). And whilst Sonic Colours isn’t lacking in innovations, this is a Sonic game that comes without a silly sword (Sonic and the Black Knight) or anything as maddening as the much maligned Werehog, which was featured in Sonic Unleashed – a game that would have been fantastic if Sonic had actually stayed as Sonic and hadn’t suddenly produced big claws and sharp teeth.
Sonic Colours takes place in an Interstellar Amusement Park, but not any old Interstellar Amusement Park, Eggman’s Interstellar Amusement Park. Sonic’s nemesis obviously hasn’t opened this theme park up with good intentions in mind, but for purposes that are more sinister and mad scientist-like. Story segments are wisely kept short, although they’re likeable enough with plenty of amusing and childish lines, and the new voice actors of both Sonic and Tails do a really good job.
The Amusement Park setting is well used and each of the six zones are very individual in their look and feel. Each zone features six acts and a boss, with acts differing in their length: some are very brief and others take that little bit longer to speed through. There are portions of the levels and gameplay elements that even reminded me of the Mario Galaxy games, particularly the 2D gravity stages. But it’s still more Sonic than Mario, and that means all the springs, spikes, speed boosts and zip lines are in there.
Smartly, Sonic Colours follows the lead of Sonic Unleashed in combining 2D and 3D to good effect. In fact, I may be mistaken but I’m pretty certain that there are quite a bit more 2D parts in Colours than there was in Unleashed. I certainly enjoy the switching between classic 2D and 3D and the flashy camera work that comes with it, and I’m pretty certain that most of us are in agreement that 2D games need never go away, so I’m in full favour of SEGA keeping the idea of automatically flitting between the two. This is quite simply the best of both worlds and long may it continue.
Sonic Colours is also a delightfully fast game. Now, I understand that Unleashed was just too fast for some people, so the more reserved speed of Colours and the on-screen warning symbols are certainly going to appeal a lot more to those who just weren’t able to keep up with the blue hedgehog. Sonic is still able to boost and other elements from Unleashed, including pressing a button when it appears on the screen to do stylish jumping moves, also appear.
The levels are very well designed and, typically, are built for running at tremendous speeds, although there are slower portions that require a little more precision, and this slowing down does allow you to catch your breath before the hedgehog speeds up again. Like any Sonic game should, Colours has different paths to explore and you are ranked at the end of each level, with your grade being determined by the time you took to get from A to B and the amount of rings in your possession.
Innovations show their self when you get hold of the colour powers. You know how Mario can be a bee in one instance and a spring in the next? Well Sonic can use similar powers in his own game. To make use of these transformation powers you have to find alien Wisps around the levels – the Cyan Wisps turns Sonic into a laser that defeats (kill would be too strong of a word for a Sonic game, so I won’t use that one) enemies and bounces off obstacles, the Yellow Wisps transform Sonic into a drill, allowing for ground tunnelling and quick movement beneath the waves, the Pink Wisps turn him into a spike which can cling to and roll across walls and roofs, and so on. All in all the Wisps add in some nice variety and are in no way something that I wanted to be gone while playing the game, in fact their use is fairly limited and unobtrusive and the game returns to speedy Sonic in no time at all. Still, you do have to be prepared for some slowing down from time to time and for some, this could detract from the game.
Another thing that is unobtrusive are the motion controls. With so many Wii games having pointless motion controls just for the sake of having motion control, well Sonic Colours only uses it for when transforming into Wisps. The remote and nunchuck work well enough in this game, but for those who want something a little more traditional, you can also use the Classic and GameCube controllers.
I completed Sonic Colours within seven hours, although I’m thinking it could be completed within five or six hours depending on your skill level. But, it’ll be unlikely that you’ll find all the special red rings, and even if you aren’t one for seeking out every single secret that a game has to offer you or to obtain all those S ranks, the stages are certainly re-playable enough. I can definitely see myself returning from time to time, particularly if I’m craving something fast and exhilarating, but some may have liked to have seen a little more gameplay time that doesn’t involve re-playing levels.
Visually, Sonic Colours is one fine looking Wii game; in fact it’s up there with the most attractive of games for Nintendo’s console. Everything is beautifully colourful, fast and smooth and there’s just a level of detail that isn’t often found in a Wii game – I just love the aquatic look and feel of one of the zones and another which has asteroids filling the sky for Sonic to jump between. As for sound, the game has a very likeable soundtrack, although, while each zone has its own track, remixing the music on each act does come across as a little lazy.
Sonic Colours is a very strong Sonic game that has the speed, but it also has the type of variety that doesn’t feel like it is intruding and spoiling the game. I enjoyed Sonic and the Secret Rings, didn’t get on with Sonic and the Black Knight, and never played Unleashed on the Wii, but Colours is definitely the best boxed Sonic game I have played on the console.