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Sonic Colours (Wii) Review

Review for Sonic Colours on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The story is a traditional good versus maniacal evil-genus bad guy who wants to take over the world. In this case we have series antagonist, Dr. Eggman, who claims he’s sorry for over 20 years of scheming and sets up an enormous "interstellar amusement park" and co-incidentally leaves the keys inside a tiny spaceship. Cue Sonic and Tails, who can smell something fishy...or should we say ‘eggy’? The pair guesses correctly, with the good doctor wanting to harvest the natural energy from a group of adorable, colourful aliens known as ‘Wisps’ to cook his breakfast. We joke. He has something far scarier in store, and so Sonic sets out to save his new friends from extinction!

Sonic Colours, devised exclusively for Wii and Nintendo DS, came out of the blue earlier this year, promising a gimmick-less, smooth experience that’s been absent from Sonic’s adventures for many years. How? By going back to basics. Here we have a hedgehog that can run at a decent speed, jump and slide in a smooth, tight way. Gone is the daunting prospect of our blue protagonist slipping about and tumbling over like some sort of clumsy oaf, and instead we have a solid, precise system that’s almost reminiscent of the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive means of controlling Sonic.

The format is as it was over 20 years ago; head towards a goal, collecting golden rings along the way, all the while jumping onto robotic enemies and carefully leaping over deadly platforms, trying to avoid sneaky traps, plus doing all of this in the fastest possible time. In recent years’ releases we have been locked away in rooms smashing enemies, ventured on treasure hunts, had a tough time poking hordes of enemies with swords and parading around as a "Were-hog". Enough was enough! That said, however, the last decade of entries into Sonic's catalogue has seen some worthy moments, with batches of innovative and involving gameplay, and thankfully these elements have been coupled with classic Sonic mechanics and incorporated into this smooth and worthwhile adventure.

Movement and control has been an issue with the series since when it first dipped its toe into the muddy waters of 3D over a decade ago. SEGA’s hedgehog is far too fast to provide a reliable and, most importantly, enjoyable means of controlling him in the world of three dimensions. Lessons have definitely been learned with Sonic Colours, though, with a tighter, much more precise system now firmly locked down. For example, the rather shaky homing attack introduced in previous games is quicker, more responsive and adds to the experience now, rather than detracting from it. The improvements let you feel at ease with Sonic’s speed, making those tougher situations more accessible. Slip into the inevitable pit of death? This time round it is probably down to a slip of the fingers rather than the fault of glitch-ridden systems found in previous games.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It’s not all traditional, though, with SEGA adding an alien race called the Wisps. The almost-always optional power-ups let you transform Sonic by waggling your Wii Remote, or quickly tapping a button if you’re a traditionalist, to let the hedgehog transform into a whole range of different temporary creatures with varying abilities. You will find Sonic drill deep underground for secret cave routes, gently hover upwards to a large tower, cling onto walls or ceilings, as well as transforming Sonic into a fearsome beast. There’s even a Wisp that makes the obligatory water levels far more forgiving.

Whilst the use of power-up Wisps does sound rather gimmicky, these power-ups are more beneficial than a hindrance, and are often completely optional, helping you earn higher scores and find secret paths above and below ground. Most importantly they are good fun to use, making up for the lack of secondary playable characters.

With all these abilities and a solid control system, does the game provide a sufficient enough foundation to use them, though? Most certainly! With five unique worlds that have been stained and dominated by Eggman and his robotic minions, each of these broken down into six lengthy acts (levels) and a boss sequence for each. With more than three acts per world you would expect repetition, but each offers a distinctive and often new challenge; some relying on speed, others reflex and platform based. You will be zipping around loops, carefully pouncing on floating platforms, leaping over and ducking under blocks whilst moving as fast, yet as accurately, as you can. Aside from a handful of minor niggles in design that crop up on occasion, the levels themselves have been carefully crafted, letting players glide through and explore. There is also a surprising lack of 3D play, with the ratio of 3D-to-2D being roughly 20:80, allowing the trickier sequences to be navigated in 2D with more reliable precision, rather than hoping Sonic won’t slip up in a 3D space.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Boss battles, on the other hand, whilst varied and different from past games, do tend to be more troublesome and frustrating than the main experience. There is one sequence, for instance, where players must try to pin down a huge robot holding a disc, and another that springs to mind as being quite irksome where the game requires Sonic to run down a rainbow strip in order to thwart a rocket blasting ship.

The whole experience looks and sounds great on the whole, however. With the game exclusive to Wii on the home console front, the development team has had time to give the game a lot of much needed care and attention. The theme park setting is bursting with a huge palette of colour and rich animated detail that provides a large sense of planetary scale. In the distance you can see a bustling world full of moving space cars, swaying trees, balloons, buildings and a mismatched set of pipes, construction and general Eggman evilness. A static backdrop would probably have sufficed, yet Sonic’s world has never looked so dynamic and varied on the Wii. The worlds are complemented by a mixed soundtrack full of cheerful piano riffs, slick guitar licks and even a few cringe-worthy jingles. Each world has three different level sounds, spread over the six levels to provide contrast and memorable backing tunes.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The experience is bound together with a handful of cut-scenes, finding Sonic, Tails and their new Wisp friend trying to unravel the mysteries behind Eggman’s fiendish plans. Surprisingly, the minute or so sequences are well written, blending a solid story with hilarious jibes between the three. The characters sound great too, with a new, deeper voiced Sonic, and the slightly more sarcastic tone for his partner definitely being a worthy addition to all the action.

Once the levels, of which there are well over thirty, are completed, the new “Sonic Simulator” lets you and/or a friend tackle a series of levels inspired by the ‘pixel arcade’ look and feel of the classic games. Using a series of Wisp powers and general good teamwork, players will be making their way through over twenty levels of varying difficulty. They may be rather basic, but are still an enjoyable inclusion nonetheless. When playing with a friend it is slightly trickier to manoeuvre, but it is a solid start to what will hopefully encourage future co-operative play in the Sonic World. There are also 180 hidden emblems buried within the single player worlds that add more incentive to building up the ranks, coupled with online leader-boards to boast your hard-earned points and times to the globe. Complete the game to the 100% level and there is even a rather special treat that cannot be spoken about for fear of spoiling the unexpected super surprise...

EXTRA THOUGHTS
Third time's the charm SEGA, and boy did you nail this one! A seamless blend of balanced speed and tricky platforming, coupled with gorgeous visuals and outstanding music, plus cut-scene interactions straight out of a Saturday Morning Cartoon, help to give Colours the pioneering honour of being Sonic's finest 3D adventure. True, a large portion of it is in 2D, and Sonic still controls a little floaty in comparison to Mario's platforming feel, but you won't care when you witness 'Starlight Carnival' for the first time. Mmm...Goosebumps.
- Shane Jury, Cubed3 Reviewer.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A solid, rewarding experience that combines the basic and reliable mechanics of classic Sonic the Hedgehog with the addition of optional, fun power-up wisps for a new level of exploration without detracting from the main goals at hand. A series of over thirty varied acts, five worlds and two-player co-operative offer great value for money.

Graphics

Rich, colourful palette filled with plenty of detail that looks especially gorgeous within the Wii catalogue. Whilst slightly murky in places, it is generally a vivid and fun world for Sonic to explore and is certainly one of the Wii’s better looking games, running smoothly on your television.

Sound

A memorable, fun soundtrack full of diversity, but with the occasional cringe-worthy tune. Sonic and Tails have interesting and dynamic voices, made better with by the hilarious and clever script with only a thin layer of rich cheese.

Value

There’s a lot to see and do in Sonic Colours. With over thirty levels, five worlds, two player co-operative and 180 emblems to collect, it makes for one of Sonic’s longest and more involving games yet. If you enjoy the main game, you’ll certainly be coming back for more.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Sonic Colours is one of the best 3D Sonic games to date, the best Sonic the Hedgehog game on Wii and certainly a strong contender for Super Mario Galaxy‘s crown. We've been on a date with this hedgehog and it’s as if he has spoilt us with wine, chocolate and presents all at once. A rich, tasty selection that’s fun, goes down well, and can even be played with a second player. If SEGA continues down this route it would be massively pleasing; more levels, online co-operative and other playable characters would be the icing on the scrumptious cake in the future.

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19.11.2010

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Also known as

Sonic Colors

Developer

Sonic Team

Publisher

SEGA

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (28 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm SO pleased that SEGA Europe added that extra 'u' in there...unlike bloody EA, who think us Europeans/Brits spell 'Honor' without a 'u' Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Well, I guess it's a good thing that they deliberately misspelled 'colors' in order to appease a few crazed Brits, as long as it gets them to buy the game. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Smilie Oh no you didn't!

Smilie

I've only tried a bit of this, but certainly seemed far more like the old 2D style Sonic games from days of yore.

( Edited 19.11.2010 21:35 by jesusraz )

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Smilie 8 for sound and 9 for graphics?!?

Take away the god-awful main theme and ending theme and Colours soundtrack is up there with the Galaxy games. A 9 was in order!!

Same with graphics. They stand up there with Galaxy. Both are fuzzy looking too almost like they're the same game. Smilie A 10!

Nah I jest! It's still a great score. (though two 9s and two 8s = 9 surely? Smilie )

Gameplay: 9
Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Value: 9
Overall: 9

As long as Sega stick to Colours' formula, Sonic can consider himself back on par with Mario's platformers. Smilie

The only problems I have with the game is the lame joke with Tails wrongly translating the Wisps and the terrible Leaderboard system they've set up. You have to wait 60 seconds between every stage update. Smilie



( Edited 20.11.2010 14:26 by Ifrit XXII )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ifrit XXII said:
(though two 9s and two 8s = 9 surely? Smilie )

We don't do averages for the final score! Smilie Smilie

As long as Sega stick to Colours' formula, Sonic can consider himself back on par with Mario's platformers. Smilie

Whoa there - since when has a Sonic game EVER been anywhere NEAR as good as Mario's platform games?!?! Smilie

< Commence massive discussion Smilie >

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Are you going to review the DS version too? It seems different enough and many reviewers seem to be giving it a better score.

( Edited 20.11.2010 01:48 by PMD )

The DS one will be reviewed soon too, yessir. Smilie

Jimbo (guest) 20.11.2010 09:57#8

"The format is as it was over 20 years ago"

But it's Sonic's 20th birthday in June next year Smilie

I don't even need to play this to know Super Mario Galaxy is the far superior game.

Still, I'll be getting it. I enjoyed Unleashed.

Staff Member

Marzy said:
I don't even need to play this to know Super Mario Galaxy is the far superior game.

Still, I'll be getting it. I enjoyed Unleashed.

Yeah, same here. The pure excellence that is Super Mario Galaxy 1/2 won't be topped for a long time unless Nintendo manages that feat again. Still, I'll get Sonic Colours too at some point.

( Edited 20.11.2010 12:30 by SirLink )

 

I prefer Mario Sunshine to the Galaxy games. Colours is now my favourite Wii platformer. Smilie

Still, Sunshine beats them all. Smilie

( Edited 20.11.2010 12:53 by Ifrit XXII )

To me, Sonic games will always be inferior to Mario games. Whilst some can be good, they will never work perfectly, because they just can't (yes, even the original games).

The gameplay mechanics just don't make sense. It's something I picked up on a few months back.

You cannot do accurate platforming whilst going really fast and because Sonic goes so fast, he usually controls awkwardly. It just feels very disruptive to have to keep slowing down. It's like if you were playing Mario Kart and you had keep slowing right down then go full speed again and it kept repeating. It would just get irritating to me.

That's how I feel about it, anyway.

( Edited 20.11.2010 13:44 by Marzy )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Mario and Sonic aren't absolutely comparable. They focus on really different things, and they both have their ups and downs. Mario is the standard for platforming, but that also means it's very basic. Sonic on the other hand has game mechanics and sometimes problems that people may not buy into.

Some people just like one of these franchises.
If both franchises were at their peaks, the arguments would just get worse, because there will always be that person who doesn't understand why people like the other series so much.

I for one love Mario, but I don't understand why the 2D games get so much acclaim.

Basically I think if people dislike Sonic's basic mechanics and direction, it'll be for similar reasons I don't like Metroid Prime.
They're great games, you just don't get them.

( Edited 20.11.2010 13:33 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Exactly both are quite different and you can never properly compare them. I'm lucky in that I adore both classic Sonic and Mario. Smilie

Mario is the bigger game with solid simple mechanics while Sonic has more an exploration, adventure feel to him.

Overall though I'd choose to forever play the classic Sonics over the Marios if I had to. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ifrit XXII said:

Overall though I'd choose to forever play the classic Sonics over the Marios if I had to. Smilie

Likewise. I've replayed the classics dozens of times each. Mario games I've probably completed less than 5 times each.

Sonic 3 and Knuckles unggggggg <3

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Staff Member

Great review J, though I agrees with Ifrit's numbering score more. Preferences and all that. Smilie

To anyone on the fence, Zavvi have the game for 18 quid, and at that price, you're practically stealing it off them.

Definitely one of the best platformers I've ever played, and although I'll recognise the Galaxies as superior all-round, I'm enjoying Colours far more.


Marzy said:
I don't even need to play this to know Super Mario Galaxy is the far superior game.

To be totally fair you could say this about 95% of games. Smilie

:3 (guest) 29.11.2010 21:17#18

It is possible to compare Mario with Sonic here. I can see how many would rather not compare them due to the faultering in "Chili dog boy's" performance.

SMG is by far a better platformer than Colors just for the fact that Sonic games will never be perfect. The physic's will not allow him to control perfectly.

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