While having some pretty underrated games, the Dark Age of Sonic didn’t do well for the reputation of Sonic. Sega needed the franchise to be simpler and more accessible to kids. So, after finishing Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Team and Dimps teamed up to make Sonic Colors for the Wii and Nintendo DS. While this new age technically started with Sonic Free Riders, it started to gain speed with this next game. So, how was it received upon release?
It was just what the franchise needed. Selling over 2 million copies, critics praised this game as a beautiful and fresh game and is considered one of the best games for the Nintendo Wii. IGN, for example, called the game the “best Sonic game in 18 years.”
I recall first seeing this game years ago when I was little in the Nintendo Channel via the Wii which shared a trailer of Sonic Colors. My very deceptive parents told me that the reviews of the game were poor. But apparently, it was a way for me to not realize that I was getting it for Christmas. This game was my introduction to 3D Sonic games. So, after looking at this game for years, does this game pass with flying colors? Or is it a messy mesh?
Okay, so, I have not touched this review in a few months despite it being 75 percent finished. But during that time, I got my hands on Sonic Colors Ultimate for the PS4 and even beat it. So I will be adding my thoughts on that game as well. Few disclaimers first. I will not be reviewing Sonic Colors for the Nintendo DS. Also, when it comes to Colors Ultimate, I am reviewing it after the 2.6 patch came out. So my thoughts on the gameplay and such may differ from people who have played before that patch came out.
With all that being said, LET’S GO!
In the vast vacuum of space, Dr. Eggman has opened up an amusement park called “Dr. Eggman’s Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park.” This park is connected to several planets as attractions. These planets contain aliens called Wisps which contain a powerful energy source called Hyper-Go-On. There are several different Wisps that use this energy to grant and use unique abilities. However, Eggman has been enslaving the Wisps and using them to power his machines and his mind-controlling machine which he will shoot the entire world with. As Sonic, you must stop the mad doctor from carrying out his scheme and saving the Wisps and the world.
The story for this game is overall very simple. This game focused a lot more on the comedy rather than the story. Opinions on the comedy of this game are very diverse. Some find it way too corny while others, like myself, find it quite hilarious. I personally find them funny but it is understandable if others don’t like them. But the comedy is not my main issue with this story.
My problem is with the characters.
Let’s start with Tails. While he isn’t as pitiful as he was later in Sonic Forces, he still doesn’t do much except make a Wisp translator that only works successfully, with no bugs, at the end of the story.
Eggman overall is fine in this one but his creations I can’t say the same for. Orbot and Cubot, Eggman’s right-hand(?) henchmen are absolutely useless characters that add nothing to the plot and are just there to annoy their creator. I think Sonic was pretty good in this one though.
The other problem I have with this game is the missed opportunities this game could’ve taken. At some point in the story, Eggman uses the mind control ray on Tails and makes him fight Sonic. That sounds pretty cool, right? Well, too bad! The mind-control only lasts for a few seconds and no fight happens. The amusement park doesn’t feel very lively either since there appear to be no people gazing at the attractions.
My opinions on the story have not changed after playing Sonic Colors Ultimate
Overall, the story is quite lackluster but it is funny. I give the story for both of these games a B+.
Since Sonic Colors was for the Wii, the controls are overall simple and quite similar to how it worked in the day levels of Sonic Unleashed. Sonic can have a sudden burst of speed like in Sonic Unleashed but it is not through collecting rings but rather by saving white wisps from trapped capsules.
By unlocking other wisps like Laser, Drill, Hover, etc. through freeing them, you will be able to explore other parts of levels. They are overall pretty fun to use, The Frenzy wisp is my favorite as that one makes Sonic turn into a purple monster that grows and grows the more he eats.
Each world has about six levels or acts as well as a boss act. They are usually pretty short but still fun to play through. The first world is the Tropical Resort which is an amusement park with a lot of shops and a lovely view of Sonic’s home planet. Next is Sweet Mountain which is a planet full of sweets and food. Thirdly is the Starlight Carnival which takes place in the dark outer space but filled with beautiful neon lights. The fourth planet is the Planet Wisp which is the home planet of the wisps and is bloomed with nature while also corrupted by Eggman’s machinery and toxic waste. Aquarium Park is made up of many pools filled with aquatic life as well as the sushi restaurant “Bucket-O’-Sushi.” Lastly is the Asteroid Coaster which lets you ride on dangerous roller coaster rides across asteroid fields.
The levels were a blast to play through, especially the last ones. My only problems with them were that almost all of them were too easy. I can only recall two levels I had somewhat difficulty beating. The bosses were also pretty easy to beat, sometimes taking only 30 seconds to defeat. The bosses were the one other problem I had. They use every boss twice. The boss for the Tropical Resort is the same for Planet Wisp. The same goes for Sweet Mountain’s and Aquarium Park’s bosses as well as Starlight Carnival’s and Asteroid Coaster’s.
There is also Game Land which has levels you unlock by collecting red rings. These are levels you can play with your friends but I honestly barely touched this level when playing both the original and Ultimate.
Ultimate does have a few additions like the Jade Wisp and Rival Rush. The Jade Wisp allows you to go through objects allowing you to go to places you weren’t able to go through in the original game like a ghost. While this is not used often in Ultimate, it is a fun wisp to use. Rival Rush is a mode that lets you race against Metal Sonic if you have collected enough red rings on a planet. It’s nothing too surprising but it’s fun. Beating him allows you to unlock some cosmetics which is what I’ll talk about next.
Another new addition to Ultimate is cosmetics. If you collect enough gold coins, you can unlock customizations for Sonic’s gloves, shoes, boost, aura, and even your profile icon. There are a ton of cosmetics to unlock and it’s an excellent addition.
One last thing I want to talk about concerning the gameplay in Colors Ultimate is the removal of lives. Ultimate has removed the use of lives and replaced it with Tails. If you collect a head of Tails and fall down a bottomless pit, Tails will pick you back up to where you were right before falling without you losing anything you have collected so far. They aren’t as common to find as lives were but they still are easy to get. They do make the game slightly easier but not by much since it’s only when you fall to your death.
Overall, the gameplay was pretty fun. Though the levels and bosses were easy, I still had a fun time playing it. I give the gameplay an A-.
My opinions on the difficulty of Colors Ultimate have not changed but the stuff the remake adds is a great addition that they didn’t need to do. Gonna give Ultimate an A on gameplay. Still easy, but still fun with some sweet additions.
Like most Sonic games, Sonic Colors has an outstanding soundtrack. Out of the planets, Sweet Mountain and Planet Wisp have my favorite songs. But of course, Speak With Your Heart (that one is especially underrated) and Reach for the Stars are excellent songs as well.
The same remains true for Ultimate. In fact, this remaster has remixed all of the songs from the original which is amazing. There are a few remixes that I honestly prefer over the original like Speak With Your Heart and Act 1 of Starlight Carnival. And if you don’t like the remixes, you can switch to the original thanks to the 3.0 patch.
All in all, the music is great. A+ for both versions.
One last thing before I go to my conclusion. I absolutely love how beautiful Sonic Colors Ultimate looks. There are probably a lot of people who don’t like the “bloom” effect Ultimate has but I think the game looks so much better thanks to it and it’s hard to look back at the original now. Bonus points for Ulitmate.
After all these years, Sonic Colors still has a special place in my heart and is a joy to play. But it does beg a question. Why has this game been frowned upon recently? (And I am not referring to the Ultimate Edition, I just mean Colors in general.) I believe this is because of what Colors was going for. As I stated at the beginning of this review, this game was aiming to be a lot simpler because of how poorly received games like Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, and especially Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) were. And now, the Sonic franchise doesn’t need the direction Colors was going for now. In fact, the Sonic community has grown tired of it due to mediocre games like Lost World and Forces. But I do hope that, without looking at the games that came after that which this game has influenced, people can still look at Sonic Colors as a good game. I give Sonic Colors an 8.5/10 and Colors Ultimate an 8.9/10.