Poor old Sonic.
For the last few years it’s felt as if Sonic’s credibility died along with the Sega Dreamcast.
Arguably the last decent Sonic game was Sonic Adventure, and that was a good 10 years ago now. Since then, Sonic has participated in the Olympics, become a werehog and met King Arthur – with each game failing to set things alight for Sega.
With Sonic Colours, it appears Sega is drawing the line under all that, and have concentrated on what made Sonic so charming and fun when he first sped onto the scene. Namely, a good old fashioned, high-speed platforming that is accessible to children, adults, the casual market and old fans all in one.
In terms of plot it’s all a bit nonsensical, but then it always is with Sonic, so I won’t get too fussy.
Eggman (previously known as Doctor Robotnic), has opened up a giant theme park in space. Not convinced that is is all as innocent as it seems, Sonic and Tails arrive to investigate and, naturally, they discover that once again he is up to no good.
This time round he has taken to kidnapping innocent aliens, known as Wisps.
Why? Well, it turns out the Wisps have powers Eggman is using to run the theme park.
Sonic and Tails take it upon themselves to rescue the Wisps and thwart Eggman’s evil plans… again.
It’s rumoured that the developers took note of what had caused the Sonic series to become so unpopular, and it shows instantly. There are no gimmicks here that slow the proceedings down – no swords, no werehogs – and the game is all the better for it. Instead as you progress through the game Sonic is rewarded with special powers from the various Wisps that he rescues.
A great little mechanic, these allow you to zip across levels in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways, including a cyan lazer, a drill and a rocket.
The game handles pretty well, helped by the fact that the controls are quite easy to get to grips with. The nunchuck serves Sonic’s direction and the Wii-mote’s A button makes Sonic jump. There is very little emphasis on the Wii’s motion features, making the game easily accessible.
However, the controls can be a little fiddly at times, especially during the slower sections where Sonic needs to jump from one platform to another. His vast speed can work against him and he will find himself plummeting to his death on many occasions – a surprisingly harsh element that actually encourages some skill on the gamer’s part, by making them take things a little more slowly.
Completing the game will clock in at about 10 hours. However, much like its competitors it encourages you to play each level again by further advancing your previous score.
As expected with any Sonic game, the imagery is vibrant and colourful. The level design is notably varied, featuring zones ranging from what appears to be a food factory to a casino, making the experience continually fresh.
The sound design also hits the mark – all the sounds that make a Sonic game are present and correct.
The only gripes with the game are minor. Bosses are a bit easy to kill and require the usual repetitive tactic of jumping on them at the right time.
Sonic also comes across as an interfering and smug little git during the cutscenes.
Whereas Mario is usually dragged into situations by his defenceless (and somewhat useless) other half Princess Peach, Sonic actively goes out looking for trouble. But that’s just my personal opinion of him as a character, and doesn’t have any reflection on the game itself.
Overall, Sonic Colours is rather great! The developers have paid attention to their critics and their competitors, and put together a rather splendid little platform game.
Well done Sega, you’ve made Sonic cool again!
Verdict: 8 out of 10
Great level design
Lives up to its name (colourful)
Boss fights a bit easy