About 10 years ago I was playing a game on my niece’s Sega with in the lead a lightning-fast blue hedgehog. I had no idea back then that this blue being was the Sega mascotte that needed to protect the world from vermin like the infamous Doctor Eggman.
On that old Sega console Sonic could do little more than run fast to the right, collect rings, destroy enemies with his classic attacks, and in the meantime make Eggman’s life miserable. A typical 2D arcade game. Well, Sega has come a long way and unlike some previous iterations that almost got the franchise killed, we don’t get full 3D, but rather a form of 2.5D. A bit more freedom but not too much.
Not bad, but not worked out all too fantastic. At some times the blue hedgehog has the agility of an elephant or starts to grind some rails, so that for a while you can do nothing but watch and jump to another rail from time to time. Fans of the more violent aspect of the Sonic games will rejoice knowing that there’s two new attacks present: a ram attack and a “jump in the air and destroy what’s beneath you” attack. A welcome variation next to the two that Sonic had to do with in the previous games.
Another way to get rid of enemies: the Wisps. These aliens come in all kinds of shapes and forms and each species has its own powerup. This gives Sonic regularly the powers of a drill or a laser and he occasionally even creates a black hole to annoy opponents with. Main villain is of course Dr. Eggman! Although he promises at the start of the game he’s got not evil plans with the intergalactic carnival he just built, Sonic quickly finds out he’s got nothing but evil in his mind. No big surprise there and it’s also here that the Wisps become so important. With their energy Eggman wants to build a brainwash machine that allows him to take over power of the universe. Some things will never change …
No complaints about the number of levels. About 36 normal stages and a couple of boss fights Sonic gets to clear. Lovers of the bonus stages that got unlocked when they made a good performance are left you though. You get to play the level again in one minute with about 100 rings, but no more real bonus levels. Too bad. Something that can be counted as a bonus is the collecting of the five stars hidden in each zone and these in the end do unlock an extra playable area.
Don’t look for characters that slow down (or sometimes speed up) the story as they’re not present. Together with Tails Sonic explores Eggman’s carnival and the evil Doctor has received two new accomplices, Orbot and Cubot, who are responsible for the occasional comic relief. Sonic also at times brings forth a oneliner which results in cut-scenes that sometimes are fun to watch. These five protagonists, however, are the entire cast. And maybe that’s a good thing.
Qua controls Sonic Colours clearly misses the ball here and there. He lacks agility in certain areas, there are too many parts where you can do nothing, and usually some button bashing is enough to get rid of the unfriendly opposition. The setting is all kinds of small planets which makes that you can fall into a deep abyss around every corner and before you know it he’s floating around miles away from where you wanted him to be. Quite a challenge and a welcome variation after all the spikes coming out of the walls and ground, but way too frustrating.
These little planets are well worked out though. They all have their own look & feel so that you always have something to watch to. 2.5D and 3D alternate without a problem and the colorful style of Sonic makes this a joy to watch.
Also the sound is quite good. The different Wisps have their own tune when they lend a hand, like a great technobeat for the yellow drill-Wisp. For the rest there’s the typical Sonic tunes that cheer up the whole and the movies have a suitable atmosphere that make you want to continue playing. Especially kids will love this, but also older fans will immediately feel like a child again that just found a Sega under the Christmas tree.
Sonic Colours is all but a bad game and one of the better Sonic titles from the past decade. Fresh and good elements unfortunately get alternated with some frustrating parts that make you want to throw the Wii out of the window. The blue hedgehog is back and kill will love him while older fans will get what they long for, eventhough Sonic 4 Episode 1 is actually better.