Sonic Colours (Nintendo DS) Review

By Peter 12.12.2010

Review for Sonic Colours on Nintendo DS

Here are three things I have learned about the world this week. 1. Eating an entire pint of Haagen Dazs chocolate chip ice cream in under five minutes will give you severe stomach cramp. 2. If you stand facing the water in the shower and breathe in as it flows down your face, it feels like how a fish breathes. 3. Sonic Team can still make good Sonic games. Of this trio of staggering discoveries, perhaps it is this third that was the most shocking to me.

Let's face it, the Sonic series has been pretty hit and miss since Sonic & Knuckles, with only the two Rush titles on DS and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure on Neo Geo Pocket Colour being on par with the blue streak's 16-bit adventures. I was pretty set in my ways of thinking that SEGA's hedgehog mascot was doomed to an eternity of mediocre racing games, clumsy forays into the third dimension and an endless tirade of clueless reboots, all swallowed beneath a cavalcade of poorly designed tertiary characters and a futile hope from fans that the next outing for Sonic would see him return to his best.

Imagine the surprise then when Sonic Colours for the DS decided to prove me plum wrong. Sonic Team have finally started to figure out how to bring the character to a modern audience, adapting and updating the formula that fans of the original four Mega Drive titles love, while implementing new ideas that actually work within the framework of the series. Sonic now has access to powers from Wisps, a type of alien that he can absorb and temporarily be granted extra powers, specifically; intense bursts of velocity, rapid vertical thrust, vortex-like consumption of foes, transforming into a ball of volatile fire and the ability to burrow deep underground. These powers are required to navigate specially designed areas within levels that regular Sonic simply couldn't proceed past, breaking up the bulk of the usual hedgehog-related action of running fast. Moreover these powers don't feel forced or encumbering and all can be instigated through the use of just one button, simplicity being key when you're travelling at such high speeds.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Nintendo DS

Speed which, for many of the releases up until now has proven problematic. Sonic is supposed to be fast, says general Internet consensus, and since Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, SEGA have had trouble marrying rapidity of movement with ease of control. With a nicely pitched level of zoom for the in-game camera seeing what's ahead is generally no issue and when there is something incoming that needs to be quickly avoided, a QTE-style prompt appears on the screen notifying the player that they will need to react to an approaching obstacle. It's elegantly simple and goes to keep the sense of momentum high.

The functionality of the DS is used to great effect too - this game just couldn't be done on Sony's current handheld. 3D sections are contained to very specific boss areas or special stages, keeping frame rates smooth and allowing the team to excel at the 2D art they make so well. Touch-screen elements are minimal but responsive and the two screens are hopped, skipped and jumped between by the chilli dog munching mammal.

There are moments where the developers do edge towards ruining the good will they build up through the many areas and stages; the odd instance of jump and hope platforming here, a flirtation with Silver, Shadow and Charmy there, but on the whole these are relegated to non-story missions where gaining high scores and fast times are given maximum priority. There's a little of that classic technical guitar riffing magic for the accompanying tunes too though nothing that's stand out amazing, but sound effects are decent, with only a lack of consistent voice acting being of any real criticism here.

Screenshot for Sonic Colours on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

In terms of advancing the series in a positive way, Sonic Colours should absolutely have been Sonic 4, taking the spirit of a once great franchise and extrapolating upon it to a point that makes sense for a contemporary audience. Colours is fast, frenetic fun with enough challenge to satisfy the hardcore crowd baying for a decent new Sonic game.

Also known as

Sonic Colors






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (19 Votes)

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


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